Many a film has been dubbed the anti-500 Days of Summer, but none has been so deserving as the tale of a torrid love affair that is Kelly + Victor. Based on the 2002 Naill Griffiths novel of the same name Kelly + Victor is the dark cousin of the romantic comedy, when Kelly and Victor meet in a club in Liverpool the attraction is instant but neither of them could anticipate the twisted path their relationship would take.
With a thoroughly unsentimental take on new love British director Kieran Evans is able to create a relationship that is both real and bizarrely twisted. When Kelly unlocks a sexual dark side in Victor neither of them is able to leave the other and while their relationship falters and recovers in waves throughout the 90-minute film there is never a doubt about their ultimate compatibility.
It is not only their relationship that is portrayed in a refreshingly down-to-earth way; the characters that surround the couple are instantly recognisable as real, familiar personalities. Despite the extreme actions taken by some of the supporting characters the brilliant direction and dialogue ground Kelly + Victor very much in the real world.
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Out on DVD now.
The Fifth Estate is a film of contrasts; the contrast between the controversial topic and the A-list cast; the contrast between Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Daniel Berg (Daniel Brühl), between Wikileaks’ intention and the eventual reaction and consequences, but most importantly between traditional print media and online sources of information – the Fourth, and eponymous, Fifth Estate.
Almost manic in its delivery of information The Fifth Estate captures the hectic and sometimes chaotic atmosphere that appears to have surrounded Julian Assange and Wikileaks. The constant movement from country to country only emphasises the global impact of the organisation and of the story the film is trying to tell.
Based on a book published by The Guardian in 2011, The Fifth Estate attempts to bring the “unvarnished truth” to light, a task in which Assange believes they have failed. His categoric dismissal of the film is addressed in a particularly self-aware section at the very end of the film where Cumberbatch is shown, in close up as Assange, rejecting the validity of any “Wikileaks film”.
Cumberbatch’s brilliant character study is the key to the films success, while Brühl’s depiction of Daniel Berg is by far the more emotionally engaging performance; Cumberbatch’s Assange has the kind of manic intelligence, with a hint of instability that makes him captivating to watch. The subtle decline of his character from cool collected freedom fighter to reckless egotist is seamless and beautifully controlled.
Read the full review here
In Cinemas Now.