Movies of the Week #6 (2018)

Nothing outstanding this time around, but several interesting picks nonetheless.

Movie of the Week

My Friend Dahmer (2017)


When the boy comes into town

  • Darkest Hour (2017): I was pretty sure Gary Oldman would rock it out as Winston Churchill and that he does indeed. To such a degree even, that there’s little room for anyone else in the movie, be it Mendelsohn’s King George or Lily James’s typist character. It might sound unflattering, but that’s really all the character is and all she does is introduce the viewer to those hellish days – well, that and pander to a particular demographic. It’s a movie about scruffy old men, with Churchill a fascinating character, so easily judged now, as opposed to the time when he was elected as prime minister. Hindsight’s twenty-twenty, innit? It doesn’t help much that Dunkirk (2017) was released last year and there is some overlap as far as the historical content is concerned, even if the two movies are quite dissimilar. Ultimately, though, Oldman did enough for me. 7/10

Slash my soul or hope to die

  • Tragedy Girls (2017): A very well executed, new take on the slasher genre, Tragedy Girls boasts two appealing leads and manages the unlikely – to stay true to its characters. In another take on how “social media creates monsters”, the movie is smart enough to be worthwhile and not just an exercise in film aesthetics. It could definitely have boasted more bite, been more engaging than it ultimately panned out, but this high-school slaughterfest has its charms. It’s hard to argue rating it similarly to Darkest Hour, but that would be like comparing apples and oranges. Life is relative, so are movie ratings. 7/10

Second less than satisfying AC adaptation in two weeks

  • Murder on the Orient Express (2017): Failing so badly at an Agatha Christie adaptation is an unusual feat. Kenneth Branagh though tries to put too much of himself and modern times into a timeless tale of revenge, which falls flat in the end. It’s because of the unlikable cast, the impetuous action sequences and the presumptuous interpretation of the finale. Shame, really, for all its nice looks and the modicum of suspense that survives this adaptation. 5/10

Slightly Oscar-bate-y

  • Wonder (2017): I had really hard time getting behind Wonder. It’s tale of Auggie, a young boy with a genetic birth defect that required countless surgeries to ensure his survival and left him scarred for life, starts off in generic fashion. As the protagonist is sent to public school by his parents, he is faced with the usual American school experience. But as the movie trods along, it begins to feel authentic, offering up a bunch of charismatic people who, it might seem at first glance, are anything but. That’s just…nice. And I’m not even being insulting. What I generally dislike about movies similar to Wonder (and Wonder too, if we’re at it) is how physical deformities are so frequently compensate with some special ability, in an almost superhero-esque fashion. It’s just phony to me. 6/10

Those serial killers have all the charm

  • My Friend Dahmer (2017): I’m pretty much ignorant about the case of Jeffrey Dahmer, whose name I only vaguely attached to something heinous. Yet this movie felt unsettling on a sort of personal level, with its compassionate take on the youth of a troubled Dahmer – the elements are familiar, toxic family life, social reject at school and just no support at all, really. It’s not necessarily a great story of how a serial killer might come to be, given that so much is imbued with the personal take of John Backderf, whose comic book on Dahmer was the source of this picture. Backderf, one of Jeff’s almost-friends from high-school, is clearly dealing with his own guilt and asking ‘what ifs’ throughout. There’s just something about a person not belonging at all that gets to me, even if it’s no justification for anything. Just a sad story. 7/10