ABR Arts Film

The Turning

Jake Wilson
Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Anthology films are expected to be uneven; in a way, the unevenness is the point. With no less than eighteen directors on board, this adaptation of Tim Winton’s short story collection The Turning (2004) resembles an epic round of the surrealist game Exquisite Corpse, in which players separately draw parts of a human figure on a sheet of paper which is ...

Much Ado About Nothing

Brian McFarlane
Wednesday, 24 July 2013

There have been more than 900 Shakespearean film adaptations of one kind or other, for screens large and small, dating back to scenes from Macbeth in 1898. The Stratford playwright would have become rich beyond the dreams of avarice from film rights alone; equally, though, I think he would have acknowledged that film-makers have notched up a pretty hono ...

The Great Gatsby

Brian McFarlane
Friday, 17 May 2013

One should approach a new film with an open mind, but it’s very hard to do so when it has been preceded by the sort of hype that has accompanied The Great Gatsby. And it’s not just the hype but the other threats to the open mind which include the famous source novel (one that people know about even if they haven’t read it), the previous film versions, ...

Great Expectations

Brian McFarlane
Tuesday, 26 March 2013

What is it about Great Expectations (1861) that makes it seem indispensable? Can it be its hero, Pip’s, search for a liveable identity? The small, terrified, often bullied child gets a glimpse of ‘the quality’ albeit in desuetude, becomes dissatisfied with being a blacksmith, receives the eponymous expectations, and tries to become a gentleman before se ...

Lincoln

Morag Fraser
Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Academy Award season is so given to hyperbole that it was a relief to read one critic not starry-eyed about Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. Rex Reed, in the New York Observer, criticised the film for having ‘too much material, too little revelation and almost nothing of Spielberg’s reliable cinematic flair’. I don’t agree for a moment, but Re ...

Wuthering Heights

Brian McFarlane
Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Those Brontës. If they’d only had a decent agent with foresight, they could have escaped that dank parsonage on the gloomy moors of windswept Yorkshire and set up on the French Riviera in comfort. Since 1910 there have been at least forty film or television versions of Jane Eyre, most recently in 2011. Now it is Emily’s turn for the latest (seventeenth) ...

Trishna

Philippa Hawker
Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Choosing to set a screen adaptation of Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891) in contemporary India might seem like an almost perverse shift, or an over-determining decision. But for British film-maker Michael Winterbottom, there is consistency and history of a sort. It is his third Thomas Hardy adaptation, and his fourth feature shot on the subcontinent. In re ...

The Deep Blue Sea

Brian McFarlane
Monday, 23 April 2012

By chance, two of the most famous 1950s plays are in the news again. John Osborne’s historic rant, Look Back in Anger (1956), has been successfully revived on Broadway, while Terence Rattigan’s emotionally taut piece, The Deep Blue Sea (1952), has been filmed by another Terence – Davies, that is. In their day, Osborne railed against the ‘po ...

Coriolanus

Michael Morley
Wednesday, 21 March 2012

With its opening montage of colliding images – a knife being drawn across a whetstone, television footage of massed crowds, milling soldiers in combat fatigues, politicians alighting from cars, with linking television intertitles and an underlying soundtrack of pulsating drums – Ralph Fiennes’s and John Logan’s take on Coriolanus immediately establi ...

Carnage

Jake Wilson
Monday, 27 February 2012

‘There is such and such a relationship between a man and a woman. They are living in such and such a place. And here come the intruders.’ So Roman Polanski, interviewed in 1969, described the conception of Cul de Sac (1966), his favourite among his films.

The description could equally apply to the modest but typically excellent Carnage, ...

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