Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 3:13 am 
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London Film Festival. Small sampling. Plus some more.

I'm in London for a week. It's exciting to be in this dynamic city, my first time since 2009. Will see a couple of LFF films, DESIERTO (Jonas Cuarón) and DHEEPAN (Jacques Audiard). DESIERTO is a Mexican immigration vs. racist US redneck thriller. DHEEPAN, which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes though it doesn't sound like Audiard's best work, is about Tamil people immigrants in Paris living under the pretense of being a family. And Kent Jones's excellent supplement to the interviews and book, HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT.

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DESIERTO (Jonás Cuarón 2015). This is a borderline exploitation film, with its skimpy script of a based-on-fact but greatly exaggerated string of sniper killings of benighted Mexican border crossers dumped in a badlands by an unscrupulous "coyote" when his truck breaks down. The leader and survivor is Moises (Gael García Bernal), the evil, drunken redneck sniper with a vicious German Shepherd called Tracker is Sam by (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). This other Cuarón son, who co-scripted Gravity, is pretty good with physical action, like his father, but, well, there is not much to this movie, even though its actors and its rocky, arid Mexican desert setting are authentic. Much time was spent with the special effects editors delivering a horrible end to poor Tracker. Lack of backstories and nihilistic finale do not confer a Beckettian profundity upon this simplistic tale. Morgan is good, but should a real baddie be this good-looking? García Bernal is, as always, appealing, handsome, and charismatic. Spicy Mexican Spanish dialogue is filtered clean in the subtitles. FIPRESCI Prize for Special Presentations at Toronto. Screened for this review as part of the London Film Festival at Odeon Leicester Square 15 Oct. 2015 .

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