Film Review: The Wife

Director Björn Runge’s The Wife is an assured drama which plays to the strengths of its formidable lead.

Joan is the wife of revered author Joe Castleman, who is due to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. As the couple travel to Stockholm for the awards ceremony, Joan questions the choices she has made during the marriage…

Directed by Björn Runge with a screenplay by Jane Anderson, The Wife is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Meg Wolitzer. The film drip feeds information to its viewers, requesting patience as the narrative unfolds. This works to the film’s advantage; the characters are given ample space to develop before the narrative reaches its climax.

The Wife begins at a slow pace, with Anderson exploring the two protagonists and their relationship. As the film progresses, there is a slow propelling towards the awards ceremony, but nothing is rushed. Although the central cause of friction can be predicted, the film unfolds in such a manner that compels nevertheless. The protagonists are richly depicted and multi-faceted. The interspersing of flashbacks with the main strand works well, dropping hints to the reveal in an absorbing manner. When the film does reach its climax, The Wife is thrilling. The three main scenes are explosive, exhibiting great writing and steady direction.

Glenn Close delivers a masterful performance as Joan. In her husband’s shadow, Close is convincing as the dutiful wife. She portrays her character in a most convincing manner, whether knowingly flirtatious or a quiet rage that is all in the eyes and expression. Jonathan Pryce is also great as the demanding author. Christian Slater is most welcome in a small role.

The Wife is a tale of simmering resentment, expertly portrayed by Close. An exemplary performance and a consummate drama.

The Wife is out now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital now.

Film Review: The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

Terry Gilliam’s long-awaited The Man Who Killed Don Quixote features all the hallmarks we have come to expect from the filmmaker. The film is imperfect but endearing.

Director Toby is having trouble filming an adaption of Cervantes’ Don Quixote. He gets inspiration from his student film adaptation, which sets him off on quite the adventure…

Several years after the project was first conceived, Terry Gilliam finally delivers his Don Quixote. Gilliam jokes about the arduous production in the opening titles; a hint of the tongue-in-cheek humour that is to follow. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote first appears as if it will be a film within a film, but the filmmaker has something more to offer than this standard meta structure. 

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote combines adventure, fantasy and comedy in a style Gilliam fans have become accustomed to. The filmmaker takes his trademark eccentric approach to proceedings, creating a film which is amusing and adventurous, with a healthy dose of wonder. Like its source material, the film plays on the idea of fantasy and allusion, with protagonist Toby fighting against the fancy, before succumbing. The film feels like an ode to make-believe; underlining the importance of imagination.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote seems like a typical Gilliam film thanks to the inventiveness, but also the shortcomings. The film offers some attention-grabbing ideas, but some of these run out of steam. The two-hour plus run time is occasionally felt. The third act recovers some of the slack, with a wonderful setting for the climactic scenes to take place in.

The film features some characters, sets and props that feel archetypical Gilliam. The locations are marvellous, and allow viewers to get lost in this world. Costumes are also great. Roque Baños’ score is ever so fitting. Adam Driver delivers is great as Toby. However it is Johnathan Pryce who steals the show, delivering an enchanting performance. 

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote has its flaws, but these do not detract from the overall enjoyment of the film.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2018.

Previews: Blade Runner 2049 trailer, Dunkirk, More!

Previews of upcoming attractions include the new Blade Runner 2049 trailer, John Wick: Chapter Two, The White King, and more…

Blade Runner 2049 Trailer

Here is the first Blade Runner 2049 trailer. The film sees the return of Harrison Ford as Dekard. He is joined by Ryan Gosling, who plays a new blade runner. Set thirty years after the events of the original film, Blade Runner 2049 is set for release on 6th October 2017.

John Wick: Chapter Two Trailer

Following the success of 2014’s John Wick, sequel John Wick: Chapter Two is coming next year. Keanu Reeves returns as the title character, and is joined by Laurence Fishburne, Ruby Rose, and Common. John Wick: Chapter Two will be released in UK cinemas on 17th February 2017.

Personal Shopper Trailer

After screening at a number of film festivals this year, Oliver Assayas’ Personal Shopper gets a UK cinema release next year. The film stars Kirsten Stewart as a personal shopper and a spiritual medium who tries to make contact with a deceased relative. Personal Shopper will be released in cinemas on 17th March 2017.

Jackie Poster

Jackie Poster

Here is the poster for Jackie. The film stars Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy, and focuses on the assassination and aftermath as seen through her eyes. With awards buzz around the central performance, Jackie will be released in UK cinemas on 20th January 2017.

The White King Clip

Based on the novel of the same name, The White King is a dystopian drama set during a fictitious dictatorship. The film stars Jonathan Pryce, Agyness Deyn, and Olivia Williams as this creepy robot. The White King will be released in UK cinemas on 27th January 2017, and on DVD on 30th January.

Dunkirk Trailer

Here is the first proper look at Dunkirk. Director Christopher Nolan has fared well with science fiction, mysteries, thrillers, and comic book movies, and now turns his hand to the war film. The film stars Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, and Cillian Murphy. Dunkirk will be released in 2017.