Like Game of Thrones crossed with Braveheart but stripped of most of the budget, this scrappy film tells an intriguing story without the usual Hollywood bombast. And while the low-fi production makes it sometimes feel rather corny, this ancient yarn holds our interest due to a strong focus on the characters and a gritty use of spectacular locations.
It's set in AD 871 Britain, after the Viking King Bagsecg (Cosmo) is fatally injured just as he's preparing to take on the Saxon horde. As he lays dying, he gives his third son Steinar (Bewley) the important task of locating eldest son Hakan (Cowan), who has gone native and is living with the Picts. Second son Harald (Robertson) prefers to leave Hakan as lost, but agrees to hold the fort while Steiner sets off with younger half-brother Vali (Barklen-Biggs) and his loyal soldier pals (Standen, Flanagan and Jibson). But after crossing the countryside and fighting off Saxon warriors, they make a startling discovery that changes the way Steinar sees his past and his destiny.
Steinar's odyssey unfolds in a series of encounters and battles along the road, as they meet colourful people and take on various handfuls of black-clad Saxons. Clearly the filmmakers didn't have the funds for more than a few extras, so the skirmishes are all fairly small-scale, but they're pretty fierce and they reveal some fascinating details in the clash between the Viking gods and the Britons' Christianity. Steinar, meanwhile, has rejected religion and superstition, which puts him at odds with everyone and makes his soul-searching much more involving. Bewley plays this very nicely, even if Steinar's arc isn't hugely surprising.
Continue reading: Hammer Of The Gods Review
But seriously, Dirty Filthy Love is a generally engaging and sometimes funny look at how society's dysfunctionals get by in a world of romance, despite their proclivity to bark like wild dogs. Michael Sheen's Mark has both Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Tourette's Syndrome -- though somehow he made it to the top of the architecture field and landed a gorgeous wife while yelling fuck! tits! at everyone.
Continue reading: Dirty Filthy Love Review
It's anybody's guess what Oliver Stone was thinking by making a film about Alexander the Great that skips over nearly every historical event that earned him that moniker. Whatever his intent, in "Alexander" the director has concocted little more than a surface-skimming soap opera bloated with professorial exposition.
Star Colin Farrell, his hair dyed blonde and given a poufty 1970s "dry look," doesn't have much to work with in terms of character development because every event that shaped Alexander as a man, a leader and a warrior happens off-screen.
The film skips over his first battle commanding at his father's side, and skips over his pivotal creativity in that victory, which established his natural instincts on the battlefield. It skips over his father's murder (although two hours later Stone returns to it in a flashback), skips his ascent to the throne, pays only lip service to his mother's orders to execute his half-brother, and gets the facts wrong about the death of that boy's mother -- his father's more favored wife.
Continue reading: Alexander Review