Jasper Jones (2017)

Australia / 108 minutes / color / Bunya, Porchlight, Screen Australia, ScreenWest, LotteryWest, Screen NSW, South West Development Commission Dir: Rachel Perkins Pr: Vincent Sheehan, David Jowsey Scr: Shaun Grant, Craig Silvey Story: Jasper Jones (2009) by Craig Silvey Cine: Mark Wareham Cast: Levi Miller, Aaron McGrath, Angourie Rice, Kevin Long, Toni Collette, Dan Wyllie, Hugo Weaving, Matt Nable, Myles Pollard, Susan Prior, Ferdinand Hoang, Gabrielle Chan, Nandalie Campbell Killick.

An evocative coming-of-age story replete with elements that bring it close to noirishness, underpinned by a commentary on the unescapable presence of racism in 1960s Australia even as people of good will were trying to build bridges rather than burn them. The movie’s based on a highly acclaimed novel by Craig Silvey, who co-scripted.

Levi Miller as Charlie Bucktin.

Bookish adolescent Charlie Bucktin (Miller) is an outsider in undistinguished small town Corrigan. His best friends are likewise outsiders: Jeffrey Lu (Long), the rather pompous son of Vietnamese immigrants An (Hoang) and Kim (Chan); and Jasper Jones (McGrath), a somewhat older local boy who’s blamed—not always without good reason—for all the neighborhood’s petty crime because he’s the mixed-race son of an alcoholic (white) father, his (Aboriginal) mother having died in a car crash during Jasper’s infancy.

One night Jasper urgently persuades Charlie to sneak out of his home to help him. Jasper has found the battered body of Laura Wishart (Killick), elder daughter of a highly respected local family, hanging from a tree in a nearby wood. Convinced he’ll be blamed for her murder, Jasper Continue reading

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snapshot: Unlocked (2017)

Czech Republic, Switzerland, UK, US / 98 minutes / color / Silver Reel, di B, Bloom, Sira, Lipsync Dir: Michael Apted Pr: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Georgina Townsley, Erik Howsam, Claudia Bluemhuber Scr: Peter O’Brien Cine: George Richmond Cast: Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom, Toni Collette, John Malkovich, Michael Douglas, Tosin Cole, Matthew Marsh, Makram J. Khoury, Brian Caspe, Philip Brodie, Michael Epp, Aymen Hamdouchi, Akshay Kumar, Robert Alexander Russell, Rami Nasr, Lauren Jessica Boone, Olivette Cole-Wilson.

As this movie’s closing credits rolled, I sat back with a sigh of satisfaction. An old-fashioned edge-of-your-seat yarn, excellently told, with some genuine surprises and a thoroughly admirable, likeable protagonist. All this and Noomi Rapace in kickass form. What could be better? They should make more movies like this . . .

And then I discovered one reason why they don’t.

Apparently Unlocked was roasted by the critics on release for not bringing anything new to the table—for being old-fashioned, in other words.

To which all I can respond is: I’m a big fan of mold-breakers, but there’s room for old-fashioned too, y’know.

Noomi Rapace as Alice Racine.

CIA interrogator Alice Racine (Rapace) was one of the best, but a couple of years ago an operation went pear-shaped in Paris, innocents died, and she had to Continue reading