Gillian Berrie

Gillian Berrie

Gillian Berrie Quick Links

Film RSS

Starred Up Review


Very Good

Rising star Jack O'Connell delivers a ripping performance as a young convict with more baggage than you'd think humanly possible. And he's ably supported by Ben Mendelsohn and Rupert Friend in career-best performances. So even if the film indulges in just about every prison-movie cliche imaginable, the focus on intensely realistic characters makes it stand out from other movies.

O'Connell plays Eric, who at 19 is so violent that he has been "starred up" from his young-offenders prison to the big house. The hitch is that he's now on the same wing as Neville (Mendelsohn), the father he's never known. Eric is such a brute that the harsh governor (Sam Spruell) wants to keep him in a hole, but concerned therapist Oliver (Friend) thinks he can help Eric channel his anger in more positive directions. On the other hand, by attending therapy sessions Eric is putting himself right in the middle of his father's rival prison gang.

The demands of the plot are obvious from the start, as the film makes it clear that prison is a hopeless place where violence rules. So while director David Mackenzie (Young Adam) lets the usual vicious nastiness swirl through each scene, he also tries to keep the focus on Eric's more internal struggle against his lifetime of abuse and abandonment. This is of course far more interesting than the prison-life plot, giving O'Connell a chance to deliver a strikingly involving turn as a young guy who's outwardly terrifying but also thoughtful and intelligent.

Continue reading: Starred Up Review

Perfect Sense Review


OK
This high-concept apocalyptic thriller starts well, with a lush visual style and strong performances. But Danish screenwriter Aakeson immediately writes himself into a corner: the story and characters have nowhere to go beyond bleak acceptance of the inevitable. So it's difficult to care what happens.

A mysterious illness sweeps the world causing people to experience horrible grief before losing their sense of smell. This creates a challenge for Glasgow chef Michael (McGregor), but that's easy compared to the next epidemic: terror followed by the loss of taste. So with his assistant (Bremner), he experiments with temperature and texture to keep customers happy. Meanwhile, Michael falls for Susan (Green), an epidemiologist trying to figure out what's happening.

People are adjusting to the changes, but the next wave involves rage and hearing loss. How long can human resilience endure?

Continue reading: Perfect Sense Review

You Instead Review


Very Good
Eclectic filmmaker Mackenzie tries out another genre with this frisky, loose romantic comedy filmed at a music festival. The result is thoroughly enjoyable, with the zing of real crowds and musicians overcoming some very corny plot turns.

Adam (Treadaway) and Tyko (Baynton) are the frontmen for the hit band The Make, getting ready to perform at Scotland's huge T in the Park festival. When they have a confrontation with girl band The Dirty Pinks, a stranger handcuffs Adam to lead singer Morello (Tena) in an attempt to bring peace. Adam's grumpy supermodel girlfriend Lake (Gedmintas) isn't finding this funny, and neither is Morello's nice-guy boyfriend Mark (Mackenzie). But the real problem is that the girls are due on stage soon, and no one can find the key.

Continue reading: You Instead Review

Mister Foe Review


Good
Jamie Bell continues on his zigzag path to stardom, taking yet another oddball role in another oddball movie as he stars in Mister Foe, a Scottish import that's as interesting as it is weird. Teenage Hallam Foe (Bell), still undone by his mother's death two years earlier, spends much of his time in a treehouse in the yard of the loch-side estate where he lives his his father (Ciaran Hines), his sister Lucy (Lucy Holt), and his young and wicked stepmother Verity (Claire Forlani), a woman Hallam suspects may have actually murdered his drowned mother. After all, the wedding came a bit too quickly after the funeral. Sullen, quiet, and prone to making himself up like an Indian scout, Hallam wants nothing to do with his father and "that woman," and when Lucy moves away he feels he can no longer stay at home. After a very unfortunate tryst with the stepmother he claims to hate, Hallam runs away to the city.

Once in town, Hallam lines up a dishwashing job at a big hotel and instantly falls in love with Kate (Sophia Myles), the woman who hired him. Using the spying skills he developed in his treehouse, Hallam is able to peep as Kate has hot assignations with her married boss, and his knowledge of the affair will get him into much hot water, even as he busies himself with trying to solve the mystery of his mother's death once and for all. Did someone put sleeping pills in her coffee and toss her in the loch? He must find out.

Continue reading: Mister Foe Review

Red Road Review


Excellent
It's a sign of the times that in a film like Andrea Arnold's Red Road, the presence of omnipresent CCTV cameras which spiderweb Glasgow, are controlled from a central command called City Eye, and can peek into practically every corner of the city, is barely remarked upon. This is not a film that is going to waste time maundering about the implications of ubiquity of surveillance in 21st century life (especially in the British Isles, which has a particular fetish for filming their citizens at all times); instead it's just one more sad detail of the characters' shabby, limited lives in a shabby and limited world. Technology without progress, knowledge without wisdom, security without safety.

For all the watching going on in Red Road, there is precious little safety -- in fact one of the tropes that writer/director Arnold (in an extremely impressive feature debut) insistently returns to is the resolute unsafety of these people's worlds, no matter how much technology surrounds them. Arnold's protagonist is Jackie (the fantastically affecting Kate Dickie) a bracingly cold and shut-off woman who works at the City Eye, controlling a bank of cameras with a joystick, occasionally zooming on something menacing or just plain out of the ordinary, watching. Her contact with the human race is limited practically to these TV screens, having shut herself off from her parents and seemingly keeping no friends; the only relationship with any regularity we see is a functional and depressing affair carried on with a married man occasionally in his van. Arnold sinks viewers deep into Jackie's self-induced loneliness, letting out only the faintest hints about what tragedy has pushed her into this suffocating state (Was there a husband? A daughter?), before Jackie sees a man's face on the camera one day which she remembers from her past.

Continue reading: Red Road Review

The Last Great Wilderness Review


Weak
With its stark lighting, close quarters, and video photography, The Last Great Wilderness feels a lot like The Celebration, though it isn't an official Dogme film. Too bad that with a dead tired storyline, it doesn't resemble The Celebration in any way that matters. The story concerns two Scottish fellas (and in fact, the first third of the film concerns how they meet at a roadside diner) who run out of gas and hole up at a bizarre boarding house/maybe-cult den in the remote highlands. The movie wants to be everything from splatter film to black comedy and succeeds at none of them, owing to an unintersting script and dead-dull characters.
Gillian Berrie

Gillian Berrie Quick Links

Film RSS
Advertisement

Occupation

Filmmaker


Steve McQueen Becomes Youngest Recipient Of BFI Fellowship

Steve McQueen Becomes Youngest Recipient Of BFI Fellowship

The '12 Years A Slave' director will receive the accolade at the London Film Festival in October.

Advertisement
'Mulholland Drive' Named By Critics As Greatest Movie Of The 21st Century

'Mulholland Drive' Named By Critics As Greatest Movie Of The 21st Century

Critics from all over the world were asked to name the best movie of the past 16 years.

Green Man 2016 - Live Review

Green Man 2016 - Live Review

Green Man has become a festival season highlight.

Advertisement

Gillian Berrie Movies

Starred Up Movie Review

Starred Up Movie Review

Rising star Jack O'Connell delivers a ripping performance as a young convict with more baggage...

Perfect Sense Movie Review

Perfect Sense Movie Review

This high-concept apocalyptic thriller starts well, with a lush visual style and strong performances. But...

You Instead Movie Review

You Instead Movie Review

Eclectic filmmaker Mackenzie tries out another genre with this frisky, loose romantic comedy filmed at...

Advertisement
Red Road Movie Review

Red Road Movie Review

It's a sign of the times that in a film like Andrea Arnold's Red Road,...

Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.