Oh, the pains of being a student. The Times BFI London Film Festival kicked off in style last Wednesday with the world premiere of Wes Anderson’s highly anticipated Fantastic Mr. Fox and in the days since there has been a wide array of tantalising films on offer from across the globe. Alas, Impact Film could only make it to the event this Monday (and are here for an excruciatingly limited time) due to tedious commitments such as ‘lectures and that’. But by heck we’re here now and for the next four days we plan to cram in as much as London can offer us and report back to you with the highlights of the festival which boasts ‘the world’s best new films’.
Day one was a relaxing one with two films leisurely taken in, a much more ambitious five films are pencilled in for tomorrow. First up was a British offering in the form of The Disappearance of Alice Creed followed by one of George Clooney’s three films at this years festival, Up in the Air. Both films are reviewed below along with the times and venues of their future screenings at the festival. If you fancy coming down to catch a peek of a film or two tickets can be purchased online at www.bfi.org.uk/lff or by telephone on 020 7928 3232.

The Disappearance of Alice Creed

Taking a break from her burgeoning Hollywood career, Gemma Arterton spearheads a triumvirate of British acting talent in debutant director J Blakeson’s kidnap thriller. Arterton’s titular character finds herself snatched by Vic (Eddie Marsan) and Danny (Martin Compston) who put a £2million price tag on her head. What early on threatens to be a by-the-numbers ransom story veers into more unfamiliar territory when the true relationships between the three characters becomes clear.
The acting on show is top-notch with the three aforementioned actors the only ones on show. Marsan expectedly on top form yet again, the real surprise though comes via a disarmingly vulnerable turn from Arterton, an actress who had previously failed to justify her brisk rise to stardom. However, the film rarely manages to elevate itself above the mediocre due to what one can only assume are unintentionally hilarious (or ill-advised) pieces of dialogue, and a third act which seems like it picked it’s characters fates out of a hat. Strongest in it’s claustrophobic beginnings, there’s enough indication that there is more to come from Blakeson.
(Future Screenings: Saturday 24th 9pm – Vue Leicester Square, Tuesday 27th 2pm – NFT1 BFI Southbank, Tuesday 27th 6pm – Studio BFI Southbank)

Up in the Air
Jason Reitman is officially a genius. He’s already created Thank You For Smoking and Juno for our viewing pleasure and here he is with another masterpiece. This is definitely one to look forward to, the date’s already marked in the Impact diary for a second viewing on it’s general release. Reitman follows George Clooney’s Ryan Bingham, a frequent flyer who spends his time criss-crossing America to carry out the brutal job of firing employees for bosses who are to yellow-bellied to do so themselves. Reitman’s  razor sharp wit puts corporate America to the sword, but with an endearing blackly comic penchant that allows for viewing with ease.
The laughs are huge but tinged with a tragedy that explores themes from the crushing blows dealt to individuals by a crippled economy to the futility of life, love, dreams and relationships. Clooney brings a Bill Murray-esque performance to the table and riffs perfectly with the charming Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga’s Alex (Ryan’s siren-cum-salvation). If I’m to see a better film at the festival then it’ll come as a huge shock; Reitman eclipses even his own previous work with a rare American comedy that has so much to say and delivers it with sublime degree of charm and intelligence.
(Future Screenings: Tuesday 20th 1pm – Vue Leicester Square)

Joe Cunningham

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1 Comment

  1. filmxtremist
    October 20, 2009 at 15:53 — Reply

    Are you going to see Starsuckers? It got loads of coverage in the Guardian last week for phoning in fake stories to the tabloids about celebrities. Check out the trailer, it looks like it’s going worth watching.
    http://starsuckersmovie.com/

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