East End Film Festival: The Outsider – Review

A couple of years ago, there was a film called The Big Short. It is basically about the 2008 Banking Crisis. Instead of being an intimate look at those on the ground who lost all of their money due to some terrible decisions by people who would probably sneer at “common folk,” the film focused on the men who saw an opportunity to earn some cash, playing a twisted game to profit off the financial issues.

I legitimately hated this film. Though conceptually brilliant, there was a lack of soul and focused on the wrong people. It’s hard to feel any sympathy for those who try to accumulate wealth in deceitful manners. And whilst shitty things can happen to the rich, when presenting their problems to a broader audience, it’s difficult to gain sympathy from anyone on the big screen.

That’s the main problem I’ve have with The Outsider. Because, as quirky as subject Nobu Su is, it’s hard to feel anything for him or care with what is going on in the film. Directed Tom Meadmore, the movie revolves around Su who is a massive shipping magnate. When the whole fiasco happened with the Crisis,

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Here’s the frustrating thing about The Outsider. Su is great. He has come from humble backgrounds, he earned a lot of cash, and is now wondering why he is struggle business-wise. See? That’s a pretty savvy focus to have – Su is weirdly humorous despite his circumstances and his oddity adds a great character into the mix of a film that is pretty gosh-darn dull.

But the film doesn’t focus on him as a deep character study, instead jolts across the screen with graphics. It gets bogged down with banking jargon that, you know, also plagued The Big Short. It is really hard to care about the banking crisis and you lose all will to invest time in The Outsider because it harps too much on explaining what went wrong in jittery cartoons than digger deeper into Nobu.

Because the film also holds back on darker elememts of Su’s world. There is a better story here with his marriage and his ex-wife isn’t even interviewed. They broke up because of the whole affair and it never is explored into greater detail. It’s like this whole missing part looming over the film, making it less complex and pretty bog-standard.

The documentary relies on the exuberance of Su alone and stays splashing around in the paddling pool, afraid to find much more depth. It makes for a floating and tedious piece of film.

The Outsider plays at East End Film Festival on 20th April 

East End Film Festival: Hippopotamus – Review

by Kirsty Jones 

Hippopotamus is the debut feature from Edward Palmer; a story of captivity, or so we’re led to believe. Ruby wakes up in a cell, legs broken and face-to-face with her captor who tells her that she cannot leave until she falls in love with him. His threat is not sexual but emotional, which immediately jars against what we would expect. Men prey on women for control and sexual gratification, right? Not Thomas Allcroft… His demands are reminiscent of a Rumpelstiltskin-esque predicament, an unfair imprisonment of an innocent fair maiden. Tom repeats his lines, he’s done this before, so much so he’s ready with the questions Ruby has before she asks them.

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These opening sequences of Palmer’s film are slow but methodical. As you begin to feel at ease with the gentle rhythm, a simple sequence of Ruby moving across the room before being caught turns the drama electrifying. She learns what she can, with the little at her disposal and just as we see an increase in tact and determination to get out, Tom is on to her and fights back with a bottle of pills, leaving her to wake once again with no memory.

Back to square one. Frustration. Remorse. Now what? We see the cycle repeat, the same routine, the same words from Tom, the same reaction from Ruby. The realisation that this may have happened countless times before makes that uneasy feeling I’ve got deepen. But it’s in one encounter with her captor when Ruby’s demeanour changes and she flicks Tom an insincere smile, the prospect of flirting for freedom becomes real and sickening all at the same time. What lengths will she have to go to in order to escape? With each chapter, we see another layer of the story unfold until ultimately, we’re left questioning the roles we were so sure about at the start.

Shooting a one-room feature film is a difficult prospect that only a few have truly succeeded in. Palmer tackles the task in a measured way, instead of filling the runtime with unnecessary dramas the story ebbs and flows in a control way. The cinematography plays as much of a part in the reluctant progression of the narrative as the two leads, spanning the small space giving us a to-and-fro perspective. All the while, the captee and the captor navigate around each other in a way that is theatrical, dance-like. Both Invild Deila (Ruby) and Stuart Mortimer (Tom), have a huge weight on their shoulders as their performances, and the on-screen relationship between them, must carry the film. Not only do they pull it off, they are both incredibly enjoyable to watch.

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Palmer’s feature film was developed from a short film of the same name, concept, and cast. Which to be frank, I would not have guessed, everything in Palmer’s plot seems intentional, I can’t imagine a shorter version having the same impact. Having said that, some of the back story that is revealed throws up more questions than they answer. And while the entire plot may not be water-tight, there’s a playfulness that comes across in Palmer’s crafting which holds great promise for his future projects. I’m looking forward to what this bright young director turns his hand to next.

Hippopotamus screens at East End Film Festival on 19th April! 

The Equalizer 2 – Brand New Trailer!

Denzel Washington on a revenge mission for Chloe Mortez in a movie based on a popular television series? Well, many many people were sold with that concept.

Now we’re luckily getting a sequel to the surprising smash action-thriller hit.

Washington returns a role which sees him as an unflinching warrior for justice within America’s Underbelly.

We’re very excited about this upcoming sequel that also has Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Melissa Leo, and Bill Pullman. What do you think?

The Equalizer 2 is out 17th August! 

Sundance Film Festival – London 2018

Sundance is one of the most acclaimed film festivals of the year. It is the tester festival, in many ways, where independent movies come out and try to find their audience. Then with critical and audience pushes, the films filter out into the general public. Though this is confined in North America, Londoners are lucky enough to get their own version with Picturehouse Central’s Sundance Film Festival London. And the programme has just been announced.

Presented by Time Out, horrific fright fest Hereditary is going to be scarring…i mean scaring…us all. Excitedly Bo Burnham’s debut comedy Eight Grade will be coming as well as Desiree Akhavan’s follow up to Appropriate Behaviour with The Miseducation of Cameron Post. Also on the roster there’s Ben Foster led Leave No Trace, Half the Picture, Greasy Strangler’s Jim Hosking returns with An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn, Jennifer Fox’s The Tale led by Laura Dern, will also be screening alongside Skate Kitchen, Never Goin’ Back, and Idris Elba’s Yardie.

Phew – that’s a lot of incredible movies coming out for Sundance Film Festival London – what do you think?

Sundance Film Festival screens 31st May to June 3rd 
Booking opens April 23rd. 

The Happy Prince – Brand New Trailer!

Rupert Everett is one of our favourite actors. It’s exciting that he fronts this critically acclaimed movie.

Everett plays acclaimed literary figure Oscar Wilde at the end of his days. Penniless and in poor health, having been imprisoned in England, for his love affair. Now treated as a pariah and his body failing him, he survives on his wit and creativity.

This looks to be an intense but incredible film. What do you think?

The Happy Prince is out 15th June!