Movies of the Week #33 (2021)

Riders of Justice (2020): Mads Mikkelsen is rocking the revenge drum in this surprising Danish movie: wife dies, army guy and absent father Markus returns home to take care of his daughter, just as some middle-aged nerds/scientists turn up to tell him that it’s statistically near impossible for the accident that caused his wife death to not have been an attack by a local gang. For all the ensuing violence, the movie is very even footed and stays true to its particular tone, blending the ridiculous with the gritty. It ends up as a story about family and belonging, but finds a new way to get there and make its point, proving another successful collaboration between Mikkelsen and director Anders Thomas Jensen. 8

The Human Voice (2020): I’m not too big on shorts, overly abstract ones even less so, but it’s hard not to get taken in by the eerieness of Almodovar’s/Swinton’s interpretation of Jean Cocteau’s play. Portraying a woman, forlorn, yet furious, after being abandoned by her lover, Swinton thrives on the part and embodies the wrath required to break free of a toxic relationship. You can extrapolate as you will from this, but ultimately THV feels more like a virtuous curiosity than anything else. 7

Censor (2021): This is one of those movies where I really liked the nitty gritty creepy parts that portrayed a niche profession and didn’t care as much about the mind-bending, consciousness-melting elements that paradoxically build up towards a surprisingly satisfying conclusion. Our lead, Enid (Niamh Algar, solid performance) is a movie censor in the gory 80s, a moment in time when a lot of society’s shortcomings were shouldered by the presumed influence of violent films. Her profession ends up intertwining with the lifelong search for her sister and as the two merge more and more, the movie turns towards psychological horror. Thankfully, the overall look and feel of Censor and a solid finale left me satisfied, in spite of the unfocused developments preceding it. 7

Drunk Bus (2020): In one of those rare indies that a) is well worth your time and b) nobody seems to have watched, Charlie Tahan and Pineapple Tanagora make for an extremely likable duo. The former, playing Michael, a guy stuck in existential limbo, pining over a bad romance, drives a late night bus, transporting the most colourful of individuals, even more so once Pineapple joins him as…protection. Tanagora, in his first major role, is a blast, providing the larger than life character that balances Michael’s tedious obsession. Although a firm genre movie, it makes the most out of a clever script and the appeal of its leads, which is why I am happy to recommend it. 7

Army of the Dead (2021): When Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake was released, it was a fresh new look at a classic that has aged…unimpressively. It was also one of the early movies in the “zombie new wave”. Almost two decades later, Army of the Dead finds itself at the opposite end of the spectrum, playing its role in confirming that there’s little left to explore in the genre. Of course, Army’s downfall is, on the one hand, due to Snyder’s stylistic excess and, on the other, due to it’s terrible roster of unlikable characters. The better moments can’t transform it into something worthwhile, which makes me wonder what on earth could come of the spin-off series announced. 5