Therese Bradley

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Outcast Review


OK
Creepy and atmospheric, this low-budget thriller works primarily because it never over-explains its twisty, grisly premise. And strong performances from the cast manage to emerge despite an extremely murky visual style.

Mary (Dickie) has fled Ireland with her 15-year-old son Fergal (Bruton) and settled in a squalid Edinburgh housing estate, where she immediately starts scrawling protection spells on the walls in her own blood. And there's good reason, as the shady Cathal (Nesbitt) is hot on her trail, travelling with his brother Liam (McMenamin) under orders to "kill the boy". Despite this, Fergal tries to be a normal teen and spark a romance with his new neighbour Petronella (Stanbridge). But there's a beast on the loose and, quite literally, hell to pay.

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Dummy Review


OK
An astute debut for first-time feature director Thompson, this offbeat British drama has a striking cast that remains likeable even when the story teeters out of balance.

Preteen Jack (Grant) is struggling to cope with the death of his mother, the flamboyant free-spirit Elsa (Bradley in flashbacks). Besides taking on her role in the house, he has secretly dressed a mannequin in her clothes to keep him company. Meanwhile, his 18-year-old brother Danny (Johnson) thinks he can take on the parenting roles, although he clearly expects Jack to take care of himself while he spends time on both his girlfriend (Catherwood) and his budding DJ career.

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Young Adam Review


Grim

The unimpeachable talents of Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton, Peter Mullan and Emily Mortimer go for naught in "Young Adam," a film of dark, disenchanting characters who tread water in moral ambiguity for 98 minutes.

McGregor plays Joe, a nebulous, failed beatnik writer who has deliberately dropped off the face of the earth by taking a grimy, hard-labor job, working (and living) on a cramped little coal barge that travels the shallow, narrow backwater canals of 1950s Glasgow. Vacant of disposition and void of moral fiber, he's become both a reluctant drinking buddy to his boss Les (Mullan, "Session 9") and an opportunistic lover to the boss's weary, vinegary wife Ella (Swinton, "The Deep End"), which soon upends all their lives.

Proving he hasn't abandoned his provocative sensibilities to Hollywood, McGregor makes Joe's soulless impalpability curiously absorbing in a performance full of furtive nuance and vague instability -- the signs of which grow as he finds a young woman's dead body in the water and director David Mackenzie slowly reveals that his protagonist may have had something to do with how she got there in the first place.

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