Afterschool (2008)

Afterschool first published by Film4 Summary: The feature debut of Antonio Campos (Buy It Now) concerns a fatal incident at an élite prep school and its repercussions for one troubled pupil.  Review: Nothing quite puts us in our place as viewers like an image of someone looking at images – and that is precisely where Afterschool opens….

Mum & Dad (2008)

Mum & Dad first published by Film4 Summary: Steven Sheil’s feature debut is a Heathrow-set riff on The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, bringing some peculiarly English cuts to the butcher’s table.  Review: “I grew up in the shadow of Heathrow airport,” writer/director Steven Sheil tells the audience of Film4 FrightFest 2008 by way of an introduction to…

The Cottage

The Cottage (2008)

The Cottage first published by Film4 “We’re gonna go to hell for this.” This is the opening line in Paul Andrew Williams‘ The Cottage, but even as he utters it, mild-mannered, lepidophobic Peter (Reece Shearsmith) really has little inkling of the trouble that is in store for him and his more rough-edged brother David (Andy…


Isolation (2005)

Isolation first published by Film4 Summary: Billy O’Brien’s barnstorming feature debut is a surprisingly sombre nature’s revenge flick set on an isolated Irish bog farm. Review: According to a theory espoused by Gary Larson and amply demonstrated in his The Far Side cartoons, any scenario becomes funny merely by the inclusion of a cow or two. Which…


Julia (2008)

Julia first published by Film4 Summary: French director Erick Zonca has crafted a tale of alcoholism, abduction and alienation in L.A. and across the border. Tilda Swinton stars.   Review: Make a movie about an aging alcoholic, and you ought to have a tragic drama, like Le Feu Follet (1963), Trees Lounge (1996) or Factotum (2005)….

Tony Takitani

Tony Takitani (2004)

Tony Takitani first published by Film4 in 2004 Summary: Issei Ogata finds loneliness, love, loss, and then loneliness again, in Jun Ichikawa’s stylish adaptation of a Haruki Murakami short story.  Review: In the writings of Haruki Murakami, style is every bit as important as content. The events may be somewhat surreal, the characters eccentric, but the prose…


Film4 Foresight Shorts (2021)

Film4 Foresight Shorts first published by SIght & Sound, December 2021 There are notable exceptions to be found in, for example, the Afrofuturist movement, but science fiction has predominantly been a white genre. Film4’s Foresight sets out to redress the imbalance by offering five short British sci-fi films which have been made by black and…

Them (Ils)

Them (Ils) (2006)

Them (Ils) first published by Film4 Summary: David Moreau and Xavier Palud’s bare-bones feature debut makes the whole slash-and-dash genre look like child’s play. Review: After their car breaks down at night in the middle of nowhere, a bickering mother and daughter are picked off one after the other by unseen assailants. While Them (Ils) may open…

The Class

The Class (Entre les murs) (2008)

The Class (Entre les murs) first published by Film4 Summary:  In Laurent Cantet’s Palme d’Or winning drama, a Parisian teacher is constantly challenged by his multi-cultural class.    Review:  From Stand and Deliver (1988) to Dead Poets Society (1989) to Dangerous Minds (1995), the classrooms of the Hollywood mainstream have typically been ruled by lone…


Hierro (2009)

Hierro first published by Film4 Summary: In Gabe Ibáñez’s thrilling feature debut, a desperate mother (or two) findx the real, the psychological and the supernatural all washing up at the edge of the world. Review: Lying in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa and used for many centuries to mark the prime meridian on maps, El…

The Man From London

The Man From London (A Londoni Férfi) (2007)

The Man From London (A Londoni Férfi) first published by Film4 Summary: Hungarian auteurist couple Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky fill their spare waterfront noir with the shadowy morality of crime and punishment.    Review: “Don’t follow me too soon… Wait a good two minutes.” These are the first words heard in Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky’s…