Nov 13, 2018

"Robin Hood" written by Gregory Mann

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(Release Info London schedule; November 21st, 2018, Peckham Multiplex, 95 a Rye Lane, 21:00)

 

 

 

 

"Robin Hood"

 

 

'Robin of Loxley' (Taron Egerton) a war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander John (Jamie Foxx) mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown in a thrilling action-adventure packed with gritty battlefield exploits, mind-blowing fight choreography, and a timeless romance. You may think you know the timeless legend, but you’ve never seen "Robin Hood" like this.

'Robin Hood' is a war veteran who returns home seeking peace and solace only to realize his fight is not over; it’s just beginning. This isn’t men in tights romping through 'Sherwood Forest'. Robin comes back from the battlefield in Syria in emotional distress and detached from his previous life, which no longer holds meaning for him. He finds a Nottingham he no longer recognizes, one full of appalling inequality and injustice. He tries to remain dispassionate in his solitude, but ultimately his conscience won’t allow him to ignore what he sees going on around him. He's a guy who seemingly has the perfect and comfortable life and goes off to war, full of ideals, beliefs and passion, but then his eyes are opened to the corruption and evil of the people who are running the world, and it breaks him. It dissolves his faith in his nation and his religion and leaves him disillusioned. We see Robin as a hero, but how he becomes this legend, what it's that burns inside of him and what inspires him to set out to fight with such commitment to the truth. He's a man wrestling with the future of his soul and discovering an inner fire and skill beyond what he ever expected, rather than a static storybook figure. Robin is a young man and it’s pretty impressive to be able to rally this amazing revolution at that age. He feels very pertinent to the world.

Robin is a lord, but he’s not a pampered lord. He doesn’t surround himself with servants. He’s very hands-on. He really subscribes in the beginning to the idea of fighting a noble war. It’s only later that he realizes the whole thing was something of a racket so that the people at the top could keep lining their pockets. When Robin realizes what's happening in Nottingham, he's compelled into action. That’s when Robin takes on the persona of 'The Hood', the audacious avenger who thumbs his nose at the elites by stealing the thing they will do any despicable thing for; their money. At first, 'The Hood' is a just a disguise through which Robin can hide from who he's. As he merges into this avenging, dark, enigmatic force within Nottingham, he realizes 'The Hood' is part of his own being. The moment when Robin reveals his identity to the people is a pivotal scene because the people must decide if they’re going to continue to rely on the self-serving but smooth-talking Will (Jamie Dornan), to bargain for their betterment, or if they’re going to take up the mantle of revolution and challenge the pillars of society that maintain the corruption.

You don’t become a legend from simply stealing a few bags of money from rich people and giving them to poor people. That's a cool thing to do, but it’s not iconic. The real reason 'Robin Hood' becomes a hero is that he's a major thorn in the side of society, of government, of the establishment. That’s why people still love him, because he’s a symbol of that voice out there kicking against the status quo that we are all responsible for allowing. He’s a reflection for all of us in that he isn’t given special powers or born a Superhero, he's simply an everyman who's prepared to do what's needed to bring change and to sacrifice his own comfort for the bigger picture. We've all witnessed oppression, corruption and abuse in some or many forms, but few of us can truly say that we have done something about it and so a story of a man who's prepared to put his head above the parapet, prepared to fight for truth, is a story that needs to be told now more than ever and resonates powerfully with us all.

Robin could not have become 'The Hood' at all if not for the unlikely guidance of John, 'The Moorish' warrior whose son Robin tries to save during his time at war in 'The Crusades'. Impressed by Robin’s courage, John takes a cynical and begrudging Robin under his wing so that both might get payback, but their partnership yields more than either saw coming. The bantering, witty friendship that develops between Robin and John is a favorite element of many in the film. But John’s tutelage also Robin into a virtual one-man-army. Robin treats John as an enemy Moor with great disdain. Yet, through their bond, Robin begins to see the error of his viewpoint. Robin starts off cocky, self-loathing and misguided and John channels all those feelings into something constructive. Robin’s training with John cements their relationship. They’re mistrustful of each other because they’ve been raised to hate each other's kind, but in the course of John mentoring Robin to be the fastest archer in Notthingham, they realize they've lots more in common than they think. It's a great relationship, because it has real heart. In one sense, there's a kind of father-son thing that develops but it’s also two soldiers, brothers-in-arms, realizing that they've a bigger idea to fight for.

John is Robin Hood’s loyal lieutenant, but in this new version, he's an enemy soldier who unexpectedly becomes Robin’s mentor and comrade-in-arms, completing his transformation into 'The Hood'. This John is a Saracen fighter, an 'Arabic Moor' fighting on the opposite side of 'The Crusades' from Robin. When Robin tries to save John’s son, John spies Robin’s innate humanity. Touched by the bravery and compassion exhibited by his Crusader foe, John risks his own life by stowing away to England in order to convince Robin there remains a just cause; one Robin turns out to be uniquely suited to fight for, going beyond John’s wildest expectations. John has to be both a savvy, sharp-witted rival and an inspiration to Robin.

It's John, reeling with grief and anger after war, who seeks out Robin, and through him, gets his defiant spirit back. John is a king several years before we meet him, but now he just wants to fight for the memory of his son and fight for what's right. John is a fierce competitor and he sees that same quality in Robin. When John and Robin arrive in Nottingham, Robin is believed to be dead, and John is a stranger in a strange land. Both are desperate and have lost everything. Each needs something from the other; and that evolves into a loyal friendship. First John has to convince Robin he’s not just a conspiracy theorist, and that he knows what he’s doing in taking on Nottingham’s elite. Robin comes from wealth, so he can’t see the lay of the land the way John can. It's John who opens Robin’s eyes to the idea that things are truly not as they seem; that the real enemies they both want to go after are the fat cats and politicians who profit while soldiers die. John get’s Robin to look behind the curtain, if you will, of what's going on in this dangerous world that they live in. John shows him how drunk with money the men in power are it sparks something inside Robin. It's John who gifts Robin with a stealth fighting style the likes of which Nottingham has never encountered. Robin then surprises John with how quickly and seamlessly he transforms himself into 'The Hood'. It allows him to become a kind of undetectable ghost in Nottingham.

Almost as iconic as 'Robin Of Loxley' is Marian (Eve Hewson), his legendary love, and long lauded for her independence and strength. In this "Robin Hood", Marian may be a mere commoner, but it turns out there's little common about her attitude and bravery, something Robin responds to from the first moments of their meeting. She’s a powerful and deeply committed woman, an arrow of truth. Indeed, she's the catalyst for Robin’s whole journey and there's no question that without Marian there would be no 'Robin Hood', in that it's she who pulls him out of his selfish anger and shows him the true path. She's the kind of girl who brings a real sense of logic and to everything that she does and she both challenges and changes Robin. She's a natural leader who sees what needs to be done so clearly. Marian isn’t a superhero. She doesn’t have any special skills or weapons, she’s just fighting for her life and willing to kick, punch and take any risk for what she believes in. It's Marian who reignites Rob's passion and is the one who inspires him to keep evolving until he becomes this heroic person he was meant to be. Things get more complicated when Marian becomes a supporter of 'The Hood'.

Will fights for Marian’s love while trying to become the community’s leader. Will is a good, decent man but he’s threated by Robin. He sees that spark is still in Marian, and he also recognizes that 'The Hood' could take hold of the movement Will’s worked so hard to organize, and make it his own. By the end of the story we see the damage that jealousy and rage does to the character. Rounding out the core of Robin’s companions is Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin). Tuck is so important to the story because he’s the one character who's set connected to everyone on both sides, both to 'The Sheriff' and to Robin, and hes constantly put in very compromising positions in terms of where his loyalties lie. Tuck is a man who thinks for himself, who has spent his life exploring ideas in books, but then he finds his own morality undermined by his job as the Friar, where he has to placate both 'The Sheriff Of Nottingham' and the church leaders. He's not completely loyal to this war-mongering, power-hungry group. He becomes a genuine member of Robin’s rebellion, and a bit of a hero, not just a comical buffoon.

High above Nottingham sits the autocrat who rules the city with a ruthless hand, becoming 'The Hood’s' target and nemesis; 'The Sheriff Of Nottingham' (Ben Mendelsohn). 'The Sheriff' is a complex and daunting villain, an angry, cynical man dripping with inner darkness, hungry for limitless power and wealth, but also seeking to make others suffer as he once did as an orphan. He's an astute political animal, a master manipulator who grew up under the cruel hand of the church and the nobility, leaving him with a venomous hatred of both. He’s a great and vivid character. He believes solely in power, so he’s been busy building his war machine and living his depraved life without any concern for the citizens of Nottingham. His past has led him to develop an incredibly strong survival instinct. Like Robin, he sees that the people in power are full of lies and rubbish, but he decides to go all in as a scumbag to take advantage of it, whereas Robin decides to fight for the people and become a hero. A big part of re-imagining "Robin Hood" is building a world for the characters that would be visually original yet feel as alive as our own. The Nottingham in the film is a teeming industrial capital full of global influences, a political epicenter and a very powerful stronghold of the church. It's a city full of posh grandeur but also pocked by soot-choked mines and sprawling slums, reflecting the gap between haves and have-nots. Old school static bow-and-arrow combat morphed into wildly, athletic clashes that bring a new energy and pop. It feels like a modern gunfight, kinetic and visceral.

The human imagination has latched so tightly onto the myth of 'Robin Hood' that his story has been told, retold and told all over again for some 800 years of massive changes in human society. Since the 15th Century, when Robin and his ostensibly merry band of companions first starred in a series of ballads as rebels fighting for Nottingham’s oppressed, Robin has inspired a slew of writers, artists and storytellers, each reconfiguring the character to resonate with their times. At the movies, 'Robin Hoods' have been myriad; Douglas Fairbanks was a silent 'Robin Hood'; Errol Flynn was a swashbuckling Robin; Margaret Rutherford was the first female Robin; Frank Sinatra was a gangster Robin; Sean Connery was a romantically-fueled Robin; Kevin Costner was a quick-witted Robin and John Cleese and Cary Elwes were outright comic Robins. Taking off at a breathless pace that does not let up, " Robin Hood" reintroduces the iconic outlaw as the dark, compelling hero of a turbulent city in desperate need of one. In this action-adventure, Robin’s first-ever revolt against a corrupt Kingdom erupts into gritty battles, kickass fight choreography, an irreverent friendship and timeless romance. This all-new take on "Robin Hood" is delivered on a grand scale befitting the rebirth of a 2018 cinematic superhero.

This Robin is a thoroughly modern shadow warrior. He may have been born into privilege as 'Lord Of Loxley', but now he returns from war a haunted veteran who has lost everything. With the help of an equally war-scarred Moor, Robin adopts a new alter-ego; as the hooded avenger who strikes at the powerful seeking justice for the people. Robin starts off using a traditional English longbow, which all 'The Crusaders' carry, but once he starts training with John, switches to a recurve bow, a bow that curves away from the archer when unstrung, providing more power and speed to the arrow. The bow he uses as 'The Hood' is anything but traditional. Robin's bow has nun-chucks across the wrist and knuckles and it also has sharpened tips on the bow so he can slash and stab with it in the middle of a close battle. The film captures all the thrills, adrenaline and near-misses of a modern car chase, but with horses and wagons.

There's nothing period or traditional about this movie, because it’s not the 'Robin Hood' we’ve all seen before. All the archetypal 'Robin Hood' characters you know from the legend are there, but we get to see them through the lens of our lives today and that’s what makes it special. There's a cool buddy relationship, an element of romance and lots of death-defying action sequences. The action, the characters and even the costumes all have just a dope twist to them. This 'Robin Hood' is it's own animal that takes you somewhere unexpected. This movie is a bromance. It's a love story. It's a heist movie. There’s something for everybody in this film. This is a complex 'Robin Hood'. The same way that Bruce Wayne didn’t seek to be a hero, but became one because Gotham City needed a 'Batman', Robin doesn’t set out to be 'Robin Hood', but Nottingham needs him to be. 'Robin Hood' is the very incarnation of archery. When people think about archery they usually think about what they've seen in a 'Robin Hood' movie. The film brings that archery closer to reality and people will see that archery can be extremely exciting. People are used to seeing a more static archery in films but archery can be incredibly dynamic. This movie feels really current and vibrant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • (Release Info London schedule; November 14th, 2019, Genesis Cinéma, 93-95 Mile End Rd, Bethnal Green, London E1 4UJ, United Kingdom, 18:10) "The Nightingale" "The Nightingale" is a meditation on the consequences of violence and the price of seeking vengeance. Set during the colonization of Australia in 1825, the film follows Clare Carroll (Aisling Franciosi), a 21-year-old Irish convict. Having served her 7- year sentence, she's desperate to be free of her abusive master, Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin) who refuses to release her from his charge. Clare’s husband Aidan (Michael Sheasby) retaliates and she becomes the victim of a harrowing crime at the hands of 'The Lieutenant' and his cronies. When British authorities fail to deliver justice, Clare decides to pursue Hawkins, who leaves his post suddenly to secure a captaincy up north. Unable to find compatriots for her journey, she's forced to enlist the help of a young Aboriginal tracker Billy (Baykali Ganambarr) who grudgingly takes her through the rugged wilderness to track down Hawkins. The terrain and the prevailing hostilities are frightening, as fighting between the original inhabitants of the land and it's colonisers plays out in what's now known as 'The Black War'. Clare and Billy are hostile towards each other from the outset, both suffering their own traumas and mutual distrust, but as their journey leads them deeper into the wilderness, they must learn to find empathy for one another, while weighing the true cost of revenge. At the heart of the story is Clare, 21, an Irish female convict. Convicts generally came from terribly poor backgrounds, stealing for survival. A theft of a loaf of  bread, or a coat, could see a person being transported for 7 years as an  indentured slave to a free settler or soldier, their poverty ensuring permanent exile. She has served her time, and is now trying to secure her freedom and start a new life as a free settler with her husband Aidan and baby Brigid in this new world. But Hawkins is unnecessarily withholding her release, preventing her from fleeing the violence and despair of the situation She's an indentured servant for Lieutenant Hawkins, who took her from prison to serve out her remaining sentence at his barracks, and Hawkins  uses and abuses Clare sexually, a fact she keeps hidden from her husband  out of shame and fear. Clare has a beautiful voice, a thread of purity in this bleak place, and is sometimes called on to sing for the men. To them she's their little nightingale. Female convicts, were often treated badly by their masters, as is the case with Hawkins, the officer in charge of Clare’s fate. It's this abuse and loss of everything she holds dear, that serves as the trigger for Clare’s revenge, seeing her take a life-threatening journey, from the south of the island to the north. This is during a period known as The Black War’, and the land is not safe to travel, nor easy to navigate, with huge tracks of rugged wilderness. The character of Clare has to possess a fierce tenacity and a steely strength, character traits that came from close research into the era. In the convict prison in Richmond, Tasmania, a plaque on the wall explains that women inmates were put in solitary confinement  for three weeks straight, no light, freezing cold, on a sandstone floor with a hessian sack. They're put in for talking back to  their masters,  or  getting drunk, or other  very  minor  crimes. They would be released after 21 days to go back to that same master, and they would deliberately commit another crime so that they could be put back into solitary  confinement. To be poor in 'The Georgian' era is not seen as an economic problem but a moral weakness. So convicts are viewed with next to no compassion. And female convicts are seen as worse than male convicts, because  women are meant to be a symbol of purity. And 'The Irish' are seen by 'The English' as 'The Scum Of The Earth'. Why would a  woman  do that? What's so bad about that  situation that they would prefer total deprivation? The answer is rape, beatings, physical and psychological abuse. Clare shows how resilient so many women are and how resilient women can be has her flaws, she’s  not always likeable, but she’s  incredibly resilient and powerful;  a fully-formed human being as a lead female character. Lieutenant Hawkins is a lower middle class lieutenant, who, perhaps because of his class, perhaps due to  who he's,  has not risen to his much desired rank  of  captain. He's intelligent, handsome, but driven by blind ambition, and profoundly damaged by his past. He expects to shortly be promoted by his superior in Launceston, and when this is compromised by his own behaviour,  he lashes out violently at those  around him, then sets off to take  control of his own future. Hawkins demonstrates physical and psychological cruelty to his men, as well as to civilians. He's amongst other things a rapist, who commit acts of sexual violence. It's about power and, in Hawkins’ case, rage. To build up a character like Hawkins, you've to understand the first-hand accounts of Tasmania in the period, as well as contemporary psychological texts, which led him to identify Hawkins as suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. Hawkins has a profound lack of empathy, and genuinely thinks that it’s his right to have more, to be  recognized and raised  up, and he  uses people  around him to  get what  he  thinks he needs, but he’ll never be happy or satisfied. He’s a man who has a very difficult upbringing. When all his power is taken away, his rage is directed out onto the feminine, at Clare; or whoever's around. In his complex relationship with Clare, signs of fragility and possibility can perhaps be briefly glimpsed. Hawkins spent his life  thinking that women weren’t as good as men. At the time, men were generally thought to be the stronger and the better sex, and that’s something that's so deeply embedded in his being. He struggles to see the world as it really is, and as it should be. The character of Hawkin is damaged. To exact her revenge, Clare must head towards Launceston, in the north east of Tasmania,  but will have no chance  of surviving in the rugged terrain  unless she pairs with the character of Billy, a young 'Aboriginal' man who acts as her tracker, or guide. Billy, also 21, a 'Letteremairrener' man, who as a child watched his uncles, brothers and father killed in front of him by 'The British'. Billy has experienced forced assimilation and slavery, so he speaks English, When Clare offers him a shilling now and a shilling once he tracks down her quarry, Billy is drawn not just by the money, but by traveling north, a trip that will see him returning to his country, and potentially finding his mother and aunts, who disappeared when the men of the family were killed. He has suffered greatly too, a result of the terrible treatment of his people by the invaders, and although the pair are  initially distrustful and openly hostile  towards each other, through the physical and psychological challenges of their journey, they come some of the way to understand and support each  other. 'Mangana The Black Bird', is  Billy’s totem, an animal  that's his  medicin, his way  towards healing, and the animal that gives him most strength. Clare and Billy  begin by  treating each other badly, and any  steps that move in the opposite direction towards understanding and care are earned as the story unfolds. We cannot imagine what it would've been like for Billy to see his family murdered, then to be brought up by the people who had done the deed, but that was common for 'Aboriginal' people across Australia. It's unfathomable, but the film explores more than that; Billy’s tenacity, his will to survive. Ultimately, it's a story of him coming home to  himself.  Sergeant Ruse (Damon Herriman) is Lieutenant Hawkins right hand man and attack dog. He has the qualities of a traditional drill sergeant; we see him speaking to the soldiers underneath him in an aggressive and belittling way. He’s not a pleasant human being. Around his men and civilians, Ruse  projects a domineering alpha male  persona, but that all changes when he’s around Hawkins. Hawkins is not only his superior, Ruse genuinely respects him. Ruse likes the hard, cruel line that Hawkins takes, so they’re very similar characters, but around Hawkins there’s a sycophantic version of Ruse that emerges. He wishes he could be Hawkins, but second-best to that's being able to perform whatever Hawkins demands. Jago  (Harry Greenwood) is a young ensign, new to  the army. Unlike Ruse, he has come  from the  middle classes; and despite his entry level position, he's an ensign, which is an officer’s rank not a soldier’s. He's in effect Ruse’s superior because of this, but struggles to gain any sort of authority in this environment, a fish out of  water. He’s  on his first tour, and doesn’t really know anything about how  the army works or  how soldiers operate, so he’s flying by the seat of his pants. He’s thrust into possibly the worst penal colony in the world, Tasmania, and not even the larger 'Hobart Colony' but a small outpost, under the command of Hawkins, who’s a hard boss at the best of times. Jago initially looks up to Hawkins, but as the film unfolds the relationship changes as he’s exposed to the disturbing things that both Hawkins and Ruse do. Aidan (Michael Sheasby), Clare’s husband, represents both the hope of love, and the perils of revenge and violence. He has a fierce love for Clare and for his baby, Brigid, but he’s a very instinctual, gut-driven person. He can tell that something’s not right with Clare, and decides to confront it, with terrible consequences. In this world  that’s so dark and violent, they've an  unadulterated love for each other. The energy and care between them provides important moments of light. Tasmania is a place of extraordinary natural splendour, sitting alone at the bottom of the world, but for some there's a haunting quality to the island, which lent itself perfectly to the mood of "The Nightingale". 'The Landscape' emerges as another powerful character in the film, with it's own areas of light and darkness. As you learn more about the history of the  place, that only heightens your awareness  of the terrible things that  happened there. There's a deep, longstanding culture in Tasmania, but for the arriving 'British', there's nothing there that they're used to, so it became frightening and alienating. 'The British' characters are continuously in a state of fight orflight; they never know  what’s around the  corner. Suddenly the demons of history started to emerge. It’s definitely something the film is aware of from Aidan’s perspective; a sense of pure  fear. In line with  eschewing standard iconic views of the island, the film avoids using equipment such as drones for capturing the landscapes in a glorified way. What also sets Tasmania apart is that the majority of it's forests has been preserved, and a large amount is 'World Heritage' or 'National Parks', so the film enters those areas, make it feel real, and showcase the beauty. But it’s a scene about Clare and her relentless drive, and the emotion of wanting to cross a dangerous river because her revenge is driving her, and so we take the lead from the character’s  motivations. Through the characters of Clare and Billy, the film asks; how can human beings retain their compassion,  humanity and courage in a brutal environnt In looking at the futility of violence and revenge, the film carries a striking message of anti- violence and  forgiveness. Clare and Billy have endured extreme suffering and loss. They’re broken when they meet, and therefore have a very hard time trusting and respecting each other at a basic human level. When they go on their physical journey together, they’re put through a series of tests; nature beats them down, and finally they open up to each other. They make the idea of living a bit more bearable for each other. Billy for Clare provides a sense of hope for life. In this environment where  things are brutal and violent and there are so many obstacles they've to overcome to get what they desire, the fact that there’s a correlation, a mutual understanding, is something that takes them a long time to realise, but when they do it’s the most beautifully poetic relationship, so authentic and human. Feeling for 'The Aboriginal People' wasn’t part of their psyche. So, we’re  judging these characters, in that  sense, but the audience have to see how the characters are motivated and we've to show the brutality to put the audience in Clare’s shoes. What Clare  learns, and what the audience sees, it that the shining light from the beginning to the end is hope. All the characters are yearning for lightness, for something more, in this brutal reality. Through Clare and Billy’s  journey, despite  the horrific things they’re exposed to, there are moments of lightness and humanity. Despite the situations we’re faced with in life you can communicate with and understand someone. That’s at the core of the film; despite the terrible things that people do and experience, they do go on, they continue to live. "The Nightingale" is set in  'Van  Diemen’s Land' (now Tasmania), 'The Australian  Island State' off the far south east coast of the mainland. A fledgling 'British' penal colony was established in Tasmania in 1803, following on from the Sydney penal colony established on the mainland 15 years  earlier. Setting the film in 1825 Tasmania isn't an intellectual choice to make a period film, but something to remove the story from the present day, and in doing so allowing it's universal themes to take precedence. Tasmania was the most brutal of the Australian  colonies, known as hell on earth  through the western world at the time. Repeat offenders sent there; the rapists, murderers, hardened criminals. And severe punishments are devised for them to strike fear in the hearts of those back in Britain, to deter them  from crime. Women on the other hand who’d often  committed minor crimes are sent to Tasmania to even the gender balance. They're outnumbered 8 to 1. You can imagine what kind of an environment that would set up for women. It's not a good place or time for them. And in terms of 'The Aboriginal Invasion', what happened in Tasmania is often considered the worst attempted annihilation by the British of 'The Aboriginal' people and everything they hold dear. Many Australians know what happened in certain parts of the country during that time, and other people don't. A lot  of people outside Australia know  nothing or very little about it. We can not go into this part of our history and water it down. Like many other countries that have been colonized, the indigenous people of Australia were  subject to horrendous treatment by  the colonizers. 'The Aboriginal People' lived through two 'Ice  Ages Evidence' uncovered in one of the latest Tasmanian archaeological digs dates back 42,000 years. Besides the massacres and taking land away that happened, similar to anywhere else in Australia where 'Aboriginal' people were invaded and colonized, kids were taken away from families and put in Tasmanian orphanages. When they're old enough, they’d be used as cheap  labour on farms. It wasn’t uncommon  for 'Aboriginal'  people to be working  in all sorts of jobs, and a lot of 'Aboriginal' people in Tasmania today are here because they survived by mingling in with white fellas, right across the state. Violence against women is as relevant now as it has ever been. This is a story about  violence. In  particular the fallout of violence from a  feminine perspective. The colonization of Australia was a time of inherent violence; towards 'Aboriginal' people, towards women, and towards the  land itself, which was  wrenched from  it's first inhabitants. Colonization by nature is a brutal act. For this reason, this a current story despite being set in the past. And the arrogance that drives it lives on in the modern world. The film features graphic and potentially triggering acts of sexual violence towards women and violence motivated by racism. "The Nightingale" presents complex issues, and the film doesn’t attempt to offer neat solutions to systemic issues of race, misogyny, sexual violence, or classism. Nothing depicted in this film is fictional. The story itself is fictional, but the events are based in historical fact. The film deals with a story of colonization and  violence that some people say didn't happen, so it's really important that  things are accurate. The story of "The Nightingale" is important because  it’s a  history that was never told, about what 'Aboriginal' people went through in this time. It's a dark story and there will be tears, but it will touch  people. The film presents the opportunity to open up an honest dialogue about cycles of violence, the repercussions of colonialism, and in experiencing our own discomfort to reflect on humanity and the importance of empathy for our survival. All the concerns about violence, towards women, towards indigenous people, towards nature, the repercussions of colonization, they're very much in our mentality and in the way we live now, but by placing something in the past, you can give people a distance from it, so they can see it without feeling like they're being attacked. Everything is relevant now. This is a story set nearly 200 years ago and we’re still dealing with the same crimes against women. It’s a mythical film, in the true sense of the word. It’s visually astounding. Not as in something that never existed, but a story that deals with very universal themes, things that happen everywhere in the world, to all of us. "The Nightingale" questions the state of the world. What are the alternatives to violence and revenge? How do we retain our humanity in dark times? We do not have all the answers to the question of violence. But they lie in our humanity, in the empathy we hold for ourselves and others.
  • (Release Info London schedule; November 14th, 2019, Everyman Broadgate, Finsbury Ave, London EC2M 2PF, United Kingdom, 21:00 pm) "Le Mans '66" From James Mangold comes a film inspired by a true-life drama about a powerful friendship that forever changed racing history. In 1959, Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) is on top of the world after winning the most difficult race in all of motorsports, 'The 24 Hours Of Le Mans'. But his greatest triumph is followed quickly by a crushing blow, the fearless Texan is told by doctors that a grave heart condition will prevent him from ever racing again. Endlessly resourceful, Shelby reinvents himself as a car designer and salesman working out of a warehouse space in 'Venice Beach' with a team of engineers and mechanics that includes hot-tempered test driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale). A champion British race car driver and a devoted family man, Miles is brilliant behind the wheel, but he’s also blunt, arrogant and unwilling to compromise. After Shelby vehicles make a strong showing at 'Le Mans' against Italy’s venerable Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone), 'Ford Motor Company' recruits the firebrand visionary to design the ultimate race car, a machine that can beat even 'Ferrari' on the unforgiving French track. Determined to succeed against overwhelming odds, Shelby, Miles and their ragtag crew battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to develop a revolutionary vehicle that will outshine every competitor. But their tireless efforts take a difficult toll; for these bold men, victory comes at a price. The film opens with Shelby’s victory at 'Le Mans' and his subsequent diagnosis, before moving forward in time to 1963, when 'Ford Motor Co.', once the industry leader, is trailing in sales behind 'U.S.' competitor 'General Motors'. 'Marketing Executive' Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) suggests that if Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) wants to appeal to the young people of the day looking to buy their first cars, the company should focus on speed, if Ford has winning race cars, their consumer automobiles would become that much more attractive by association. Since no company produced faster or sexier cars than Enzo Ferrari, an acquisition of 'The European' carmaker seems like the answer. An envoy of top executives is dispatched to Ferrari headquarters to negotiate the purchase of 'The European' carmaker only to return to Michigan empty-handed. Outraged, Ford immediately places his right-hand man, senior vice president Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas), in charge of a new high-tech race car division, 'Ford Advanced Vehicles', tasked with quickly building a car that will beat Ferrari at their own game, defeating them at 'The Mount Everest Of Motor Racing', 'Fhe 24 Hours Of Le Mans'. 'The FAV' team builds the exciting-looking 'GT40 Mark I', but it's first outing at 'Le Mans' in 1964 ends miserably. All three models fail to finish the race while Ferrari’s place first, second, and third. Finishing fourth is the 'Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe', a fact that Ford II doesn’t fail to notice. Ford II hires Shelby to develop, test and ultimately oversee the corporation’s entire racing program, but Shelby’s lead test driver Ken Miles complicates the relationship. The outspoken Miles quickly makes an enemy of Beebe, who does his best to manipulate Shelby and box-out Miles at every turn. Still, against impossible odds and virtually non-stop corporate interference, Shelby and his team, which also includes chief engineer Phil Remington (Ray McKinnon), and young British mechanic Charlie Agapiou (Jack McMullen) build one of the greatest race cars ever produced; 'The Ford GT40 MKII'. The vehicle changed the perception of both Ford, and America itself, when it takes part in one of the most infamous racing showdowns in history, the 1966 running of 'Le Mans'. The most challenging sequence to capture by far is the restaging of the 1966 running of 'The 24 Hours At Le Mans' race. The last 40 minutes of the film is this race predominantly, and you really feel like you're hunkered down and living in the race. The film loves that idea of racing for 24 hours to start to dawn on you, to feel what that really would be like trying to drive faster than any man for longer than you ever can stay awake. The magic of that, of driving 200 miles per hour in the most cutting-edge race-car prototypes on a series of French country roads over and over again through day, night, rain, sleet, dawn, dusk, doing that for 24 straight hours in one vehicle seemed like the most powerful thing we could try to convey. The central drama turns on the heated relationship between renegades Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles. Like legendary car racer and sports car builder Carroll Shelby, whose creations included 'The Shelby Cobra' and 'Shelby Daytona', as well as modified race-worthy editions of Ford’s legendary 'Mustang' series, 'The Shelby Mustang' celebrity status stretches back decades. Shelby had been a great driver and had kind of hit the pinnacle of that. Because of this heart condition, he’d lost his great love. He does wear a cowboy hat, but he wears it selectively in key scenes where it intentionally is supposed to seem a bit over-the-top along with his crocodile cowboy boots. He's really on the cusp of fading into oblivion and just being another guy hustling trying to sell cars to people. This Ford opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for him. The stakes are incredibly huge for him as they're for Ken Miles. Miles drove tanks in 'World War II' before finding his way onto the race track. Shelby just feels Miles is indispensable to this mission, and Ken is known for not suffering fools. He's irascible and not afraid to speak his mind and did not want to just fall into step with everybody else. If he thinks an idea is stupid, he’d tell you, and he has very little political skill or diplomatic skill. In terms of costume, Miles spends much of his time wearing a racing suit and coveralls. They refer to him as a beatnik, even though he never dressed as a beatnick. And so he's a constant source of frustration to Shelby because he couldn’t get out of his own way. But Shelby really needed him to help build the car and to then subsequently drive it at 'Le Mans'. It's one of the most legendary tales in the history of motorsports. Carroll Shelby, working closely with his spirited test driver Ken Miles, develops a revolutionary car that bests a fleet of vehicles built by Italian racing legend Enzo Ferrari at the 1966 running of 'The 24 Hours Of LeMans'. This is the story of a group of unconventional thinkers who overcome incredible odds to achieve something extraordinary through sheer inventiveness, determination and force of will. The film offerers the opportunity to stage thrilling racing sequences that essentially puts the audience inside the cars with these fearless drivers, and the chance to chronicle the turbulent friendship between Shelby and Miles. Both had quite distinct, larger-than-life personalities, Shelby, tough yet eminently likable; Miles, prickly and unfiltered, but they're united by a passion for innovation and an abiding love for racing. Quite simply, Shelby and Miles are driven to excel, even if it means putting their lives on the line every time they got behind the wheel. They understand each other at the most profound level. When Shelby’s confronted with the fact that he can’t race anymore, he reinvents himself from a driver into a car salesman and designer, and Ken becomes a vessel for Shelby’s dreams. But Ken can’t quite filter himself or control himself in corporate situations or publicity situations. He just says whatever he thinks, so Shelby takes on this role of protector or spokesman for Ken. They've a very symbiotic relationship. One fills in where the other leaves off. Lee Iacocca, who, from his humble roots as the son of Italian immigrants in Allentown, Pennsylvania, becomes a legend in the automotive business, reviving 'U.S.' automaker 'Chrysler' during the 1980s. His strength comes from his intensity. It comes from his intellect. When he's at Ford, Iacocca has the presence of mind to understand that there's a whole generation of 17-year-olds with money in their pocket who are interested in rock ’n’ roll and sex and moving fast, and the stale, stagnant repetition of reproducing 1950s cars is failing Ford. Lee Iacocca is the flashiest exec on the team. He’s got a good shark skin suit, mohair suits, little slivery ties, ultra ’60s. Mollie Miles (Caitriona Balfe) is Ken’s wife, and mother to their young son, Peter (Noah Jupe). Even though she’s a stay-at-home mom in the film, she’s very much an equal partner in the relationship. She wears old 'Wranglers' from the 1960s and cotton sweaters or shirts. She's’s a little rough around the edges with his personality and his people skills may not be that great. But this is where their relationship is strong. She tells him when he needs to pull up his boot straps and to also encourage him. There’s this real sense that they’re a team who supports each other. Detroit auto legend Henry Ford II is 'The CEO Of Ford Motor Company' from 1960 to 1979. It’s a classic story of man versus machine, man versus man, and man versus himself. It touches upon a lot of the points of a sports story, but at the same time the historical story that’s being told here's a good one. A lot of the cars that we know now, and a lot of the advancements we’ve seen with technology, starts with this period. By contrast, they’re ample archival images of Henry Ford II available to create a full picture of the auto titan’s fashion style. The film outfits Ford himself in classic 'Brooks Brothers' suits. Old money, button-down shirts, blue blazer, it’s recreating what they really wore. And he always wore navy blue with plain navy blue ties. His clothes are very traditional. Leo Beebe, is 'The Ford Motors Company' executive who's given control over Ford’s racing program. He has a shadier color palette, a little bit darker, a little bit oiler. Like his father, Peter Miles is completely consumed with the sport of car racing. Peter is a happy boy, but he’s also a kid whose dad could die at any point in a race. From an early age, he’s been brought into the racing world and wants to be a racer when he’s older just like his dad. It’s all he’s ever known. Phil Remington is the chief engineer at 'Shelby American'. A technical genius who can fix or fabricate anything, Remington is a key partner to Carroll Shelby in helping develop 'The Ford GT40 MKII' that takes on Ferrari at 'Le Mans'. Charlie Agapiou works with Ken Miles at Miles foreign car repair shop in Hollywood before joining him at Shelby’s shop in Venice in early 1963. Ken is something of a father figure to young Charlie. The challenge is how to navigate this story so that audiences feel the love and camaraderie and energy of these drivers and designers and mechanics and pit crew, but it doesn’t depend upon a cliché kind of victory. Whereas the Ford executives are sort of cool, wearing blues, grays, silvers, the Ferrari people are more old world. Their wardrobe is primarily browns, creams, knit ties, vests. The film gets deep enough into these unique characters, the winning and the losing of the races is secondary to the winning and the losing of their lives. One can believe that they’re characters who represent the last of an old school, brave, humble, gracious, male prototype. This is an inflection point in both of their lives. The goal in an age of incredibly computer-enhanced action movies, is that there's something profoundly analog and real and gritty about the film and the sexiness of these beasts, the cars, their engines, the danger. These characters are riding in a thin aluminum shell at 200 miles an hour around a track. The miracle that's their daring and their survival under these circumstances is something that the film tries to convey. This film is about the epic rivalry between Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari and the scrappy team of upstarts that Ford hires to help him in his quest. Both the classic 1966 sports drama "Grand Prix" and Steve McQueen’s 1971 film "Le Mans" served as references. It's about characters striving for excellence, trying to push against the onset of corporate market-tested group-think. It’s an essential struggle in 'The 21st Century' in our country, the risk-taking and daring and leaps of instinct that are required to invent a lot of the things that define our country are things that we’re almost too frightened to do anymore. The film creates a naturalistic portrait of what life is like for Shelby and Miles. In a modern era when 'CG' spectacle has come to define many blockbuster films, it's critical to take a grounded approach to the action in "Le Mans ‘66" to both more accurately depict the 1960s and to help the audience understand what these drivers experienced as they're pushing themselves, and their cars, to the limit. This isn’t Carroll Shelby’s whole story or Ken Miles’ whole story. This is about a hugely defining moment in their lives that shaped all they're to be. People really connect with this idea of trying to do an excellent job at whatever your job is with the challenge of dealing with oversight and corporate management and the corporate tendency to round every corner that’s a little sharp and to soften any blow that could offend somebody. We all miss the world when it's just a little more raw and prone to taking a risk. The reason the story is so legendary is because these misfits challenged God and won, didn’t they? God was Ferrari. He was a monster, a Goliath of reputation and style, legendary in the racing community. And this little band of misfits, with Ford’s backing but in spite of Ford’s interference, they did it. This is an incredibly compelling film because it’s about the behind-the-scenes conflicts and choices of passionate, competitive, driven, larger-than-life people caught in the very moment the American landscape is changing from the optimism of the post war 1950s and early 1960s to the more cynical late 1960s and ’70s. The visual inspiration comes more from the films of the ’60s and ’70s, rather than contemporary interpretations of race car films, no exaggerated movement, keeping it intimate with the use of close-ups and always maintaining a character’s point-of-view. The film sticks to camera techniques of the period. The production design follows suit and is much in sync with realism and plausibility and keeping the audience in the magic trick of this world that has been created. You’re both hearing and seeing the bolts rattling in the chassis of the car. You’re feeling the vibration of the engine. You’re understanding how hard they’re pushing this vehicle and how close to exploding it's. Today, we've computer-aided design. We can postulate with much greater accuracy what’s going to work. There was no way with a pencil and an abacus you could know that. You just had to build the car and drive the car and see if it just blew up around you. It’s a big, emotional, distinctive theatrical experience that embraces all of the reasons we want to sit in a movie theater. We want to be invested. We want to be moved, to cry to laugh, to be inspired. This movie is all of that.
  • In Gotham City, mentally-troubled comedian Arthur Fleck embarks on a downward-spiral of social revolution and bloody crime. This path brings him face-to-face with his infamous alter-ego: "The Joker". “What do you get when you cross a mentally ill loner with a society that abandons him and treats him like trash? You get what you f****n’ deserve!” The big question asked by Todd Phillips’ Joker. The answer; an in-depth character study unveiling the myth behind one of pop culture’s most twisted creations. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this film upon its release. People state that it mishandles the representation of mental health and that it’s a dangerous film which could potentially insight violence. I believe Phoenix and Phillips handle Arthur’s descent into madness with great nuance and with masterful direction. The same controversy surrounded one of the film’s clear influences; Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. Robert DeNiro’s portrayal of Travis Bickle represented the disillusionment and PTSD of war veterans and how society abandoned them and people still regard it as a masterpiece and one of Scorsese’s finest films. The time and setting are irrelevant as the issues and society depicted in period-time Gotham wreak of Trump’s America which has been embodied by Thomas Wayne. This is an angry film with so much to say. One of the reasons why I loved this film is not only is it a great genre film (calling it a genre insults the quality) but a modern-day masterpiece which will be dissected for years to come. As for Joaquin Phoenix’s performance, it’s pretty much self-explanatory. It’s a masterclass in physical and emotional artistry, we truly see an actor pushing his body and mind to its limits. It does not overshadow the magnificent work achieved by the late Heath Ledger, but is in fact a deeper psychological study to the myth behind the character. The use of the unreliable narrator only adds to Arthur’s fragile state of mind and a masterstroke by Phillips. Overall, yes this film is controversial and yes this film is a commentary on today’s society but with Hildur Guônadóttir’s haunting and mesmerising score and an all-time, Oscar-winning performance from Phoenix and Phillips has crafted one of the best films of the past ten years.