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Jake Wilson

Jake Wilson is a freelance writer who lives in Melbourne and reviews films regularly for The Age. Formerly the Melbourne correspondent for Urban Cinefile and a co-editor of Senses of Cinema, he has contributed to a range of print and online publications, including Kill Your Darlings, RealTime, Bright Lights Film Journal, and Meanjin. Some of his film writings are archived on his personal website.

The Bookshop

ABR Arts 21 May 2018
Watching The Bookshop, adapted from the late Penelope Fitzgerald’s 1978 novel by the Catalan director Isabel Coixet, admirers of the English novelist have the chance to test their memories. Which parts of the dialogue and the third-person voice-over narration (delivered by Julie Christie) come directly from the book? Which are newly invented? And which have been sourced from elsewhere? The hunt ... (read more)

The Lost City of Z

ABR Arts 21 August 2017
Cinema has always provided a venue for dreams of the exotic, but few directors in these post-colonial times can revive such fantasies without guilt. This is the dilemma which James Gray, among the most intelligent of modern American filmmakers, must grapple with in The Lost City of Z, his epic account of the career of Lieutenant-Colonel Percy Fawcett, regarded by some as Britain’s last great exp ... (read more)

Jake Wilson reviews 'Steven Spielberg: A life in films' by Molly Haskell

May 2017, no. 391 30 April 2017
Steven Spielberg may be the most beloved filmmaker alive, but this has rarely stopped critics from patronising him. ‘Such moods as alienation and melancholia have no place in his films,’ the New Yorker’s David Denby wrote on the occasion of Spielberg’s seventieth birthday – a sweeping claim that could hardly be more wrong. In truth, these moods have always been central to Spielberg’s u ... (read more)

Joe Cinque's Consolation

ABR Arts 12 October 2016
Early in Helen Garner’s Joe Cinque’s Consolation (2004) there is a striking description of Anu Singh, the Canberra law student arrested in 1997 for drugging her boyfriend Joe Cinque with a cocktail of heroin and Rohypnol. In court one morning, Singh uses the interval before the judge’s arrival to tie back her hair. Most observers would scarcely register this commonplace act, but Garner homes ... (read more)

The Kettering Incident (Foxtel Showcase)

ABR Arts 05 September 2016
The citizens of Kettering, Tasmania might well feel ambivalent about Foxtel's new drama The Kettering Incident, budgeted at $14 million and shot on location. A small coastal town just south of Hobart, Kettering looks like an attractive spot for a weekend getaway, but the same cannot be said of the fictionalised setting of the show, imagined by head writer Victoria Madden and her team as an insular ... (read more)

Jake Wilson reviews 'Dancing to His Song: The singular cinema of Rolf de Heer' by Jane Freebury

June–July 2016, no. 382 23 May 2016
More has been written about Rolf de Heer than about most Australian film directors of his generation, but Jane Freebury's Dancing to His Song contains its share of fresh material. Who knew, for instance, that de Heer spent five months in the Philippines as the original, uncredited director of the obscure action movie Driving Force (1989), starring Patrick Swayze's lookalike brother Don and billed ... (read more)

Jake Wilson reviews 'Directory of World Cinema, Volume 19' edited by Ben Goldsmith, Mark David Ryan, and Geoff Lealand

December 2015, no. 377 27 November 2015
Careful readers will soon notice something puzzling about this book, an attractive large-format paperback with frequent colour illustrations. Staring accusingly from the cover is the young indigenous actor Rowan McNamara, one of the stars of Warwick Thornton's 2009 love story Samson & Delilah. The image seems aptly chosen: Thornton's film is an acknowledged landmark in twenty-first-century Aus ... (read more)

Jake Wilson reviews 'The Gangster Film' by Ron Wilson

June-July 2015, no. 372 29 May 2015
Part of a series aimed at undergraduates, Ron Wilson’s stimulating guide to American gangster cinema covers much ground in just over a hundred pages. What is especially useful about Wilson’s approach is his ability to place the genre in a context that extends beyond cinema: not so much what actual gangsters said and did, but the various discourses, from pulp novels to politicians’ speeches, ... (read more)

Jake Wilson reviews 'Last Words' by Jason Wood

April 2015, no. 370 27 March 2015
‘Published interviews with filmmakers are increasingly becoming a thing of the past,’ writes Jason Wood in the introduction to Last Words. You could have fooled me. I suspect that Wood’s statement would come as a surprise to others as well, especially readers of the invaluable Keyframe Daily column on the Fandor website, a digest of international film news that links to dozens of such interv ... (read more)

Jake Wilson reviews 'The Invisible Woman'

May 2014, no. 361 29 April 2014
Orson Welles once described himself as a ‘king’ actor. Ralph Fiennes seems born to play dukes: nearly all his screen characters, even the crooks and madmen, share an imperious quality that goes with a kind of stony reticence. It felt natural that he should make his film directorial début with an adaptation of Coriolanus (2011), one of Shakespeare’s most misanthropic tragedies, in which he p ... (read more)
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