LFF 2018 Highlights Part 1

It is approximately the half way point of the BFI London Film Festival, and there have been some excellent films screened so far. Here are some LFF 2018 highlights from the first week…

LFF 2018 Highlights – Unmissable


Director Steve McQueen kicked off the festival with a bang with the gripping Widows. There is so much to love about Widows that is pretty much impossible to find fault. READ MORE

The Old Man and the Gun

David Lowery’s The Old Man and the Gun is bursting with charm, much like its leading man. In what is rumoured to be Robert Redford’s last film, Lowery has created an ode to the actor. READ MORE


Oliver Assayas’ latest is a witty and endearing exploration of life, truth, and publishing. Non-Fiction illustrates Assayas’ versatility as a filmmaker. READ MORE

LFF 2018 Highlights – Best of the Rest

Sorry To Bother You

Boots Riley’s satire Sorry To Bother You is inventive, thought provoking, and tremendous fun. Riley is not afraid to target the system in Sorry To Bother You. READ MORE


Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy is quite the trip. At its best moments, the film is dazzling. Despite the simplicity of the plot, Mandy is a striking and memorable film. READ MORE

The Guilty

Gustav Möller’s The Guilty (Den Skyldige) is a very impressive directorial debut. The filmmaker makes the most of the confined setting, creating a taut thriller. READ MORE


Ali Abbasi’s Border (Gräns) is stark, different and engaging. The film is at different times a mystery, a love story, a crime thriller, and a fantasy. What keeps viewers intrigued is this ambiguity. READ MORE

The Front Runner

Jason Reitman’s political drama The Front Runner is an engrossing watch. The film is superbly scripted, and boasts solid performances from its cast. The dialogue is often quick-fire, and there is plenty of humour to be found, amongst the more serious proceedings. READ MORE

The BFI London Film Festival runs from 10th-21st October 2018. See the full programme here.

Film Review: Border (Gräns)

Ali Abbasi’s Border (Gräns) is stark, different and engaging. The film is difficult to classify, which makes it all the more enigmatic. 

Tina is a Swedish customs officer. She has an extraordinary sense of smell, which lands her a gig helping the police. When she comes across Vore, Tina is beguiled by the mysterious stranger…

One of the great things about Border (Gräns) is that it is difficult to categorise. Directed by Ali Abassi, with a screenplay by Abassi, Isabella Eklöf, and John Ajvide Lindqvist (based on Lindqvist’s short story) the film is at different times a mystery, a love story, a crime thriller, and a fantasy. What keeps viewers intrigued is this ambiguity. It is unclear which direction Abbasi will take the narrative, which makes for interesting viewing. 

The main characters are well drawn. Tina elicits empathy from the beginning. The opening sequence of her looking towards the ferry and her brief actions here immediately give the audience a sense of her character. Abbasi here excels at making a statement without words. 

The film has two main strands with Tina at the helm for both. First is the burgeoning relationship with the mysterious Vore. Secondly, there is her extraordinary sense of smell and how it helps the police. This entwine later in proceedings, with certain indicators being laid out as the strands combine.

Border combines some of the grittiness of a crime drama with aspects of fantasy and folklore. This seems a strange combination, yet the film makes it work. The fantasy aspect is impacted the modern setting and contemporary preoccupation. The theme that becomes clear is morality, and Border explores this in an engaging fashion.

Special effects and prosthetics are very good in the film. Eva Melander is great as Tina, bringing humanity and sensitivity to the character. Some of the police investigation sequences are a little plodding, but Border is an original and interesting film.

Border (Gräns) is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2018.