For the majority of its runtime The Cured tries so hard to subvert the zombie canon and resist the clichés of the genre that we all love so much. In the end though the film stops subverting and starts reverting, and the film finally gets some teeth.
The Cured is set in the aftermath of a zombie outbreak in which 75% of infected individuals have been cured and are being reintegrated back into society. The incurable remain in captivity and society does not easily accept those that have been cured. The cured become outcasts as the uninfected protest against them and rally against their inclusion in the normal population. Choose your own metaphor for what the cured represent but in this post-Brexit times the analogy feels particularly pertinent.
For me the film tried so hard to be innovative that it forgot to be enjoyable. All the characters seem to talk at each other rather than to each other and when they aren’t doing that everyone is moping around with expressionless faces. The film is also liberally sprinkled with false jump scares which betray the genre that The Cured is desperate to break out into.
An interesting idea but not the cleanest execution. And a criminal underuse of Ellen Page.
The Cured screens at the festival on 14th October.
It has been six years since Paddy Considine shattered all our nerves with the absolutely brutal Tyrannosaur and now he is back to devastate us all over again.
Considine stars as the middleweight boxing world champion who reenters the ring to defend his title but doesn’t leave in the same shape he went in. Suffering from physical and mental injuries the boxer struggles to recover with the help of his wife (Jodie Whittaker) who is also juggling caring for their young baby.
As you would expect Journeyman is a technical masterclass from the writing and directing through to the two lead performances. Considine has created a meaty role for himself that allows him to take on the machismo of a boxer and the frail form of the impaired. Whittaker has the less showy, but equally impressive, role of a woman trying to remain strong for her husband whilst also dealing with her own life having been turned upside.
Everything about the film is engineered to make you weep and weep we all did. And yet… There is something almost too technical and engineered about Journeyman. The film is self-consciously trying to get you to feel certain emotions and left me feel one step removed; admiring its brilliance but always aware of what it was trying to do.
Regardless of all that; you will cry.
Journeyman screens at the festival on 13th and 14th October and opens in UK cinemas from 16th February 2018.
Angels Wear White
From Chinese writer-director Vivian Qu comes a searing drama about sexual violence, corruption, and the seemingly inescapable wrongs done to women by men with the slightest amount of power.
After two young girls are assaulted by the police commissioner in a local hotel the police and the hotel hesitate in allowing justice to proceed and the young girls involved, including a teen runaway working at the hotel, struggle to deal with the events that took place and the impact it has on their lives.
For the men in the film, only seen in minor roles, the emphasis is in protecting their own best interests regardless of the impact it might have on the victims. The girls too are looking out for themselves but also have to contend with the sexualisation that is being applied to them by outside forces; from the investigators, their parents, and their employers.
Angels Wear White is a devastating and uncomfortable watch. It digs deep into the aftermath of a horrific event and how it ripples through the lives of everyone but the perpetrator. It also discretely highlights bigger issues in society that don’t reflect well on anyone. Qu teases fantastic portrayals from her young cast and has a sharp eye for a visual metaphor.
Angels Wear White screens at the festival on 13th and 14th October.
Princess Cyd is in many ways your typical indie drama but that doesn’t make it any less pleasant to watch.
In Stephen Cone’s romantic comedy drama the teenage Cyd (Jessie Pinnick) escapes her home life and visits her aunt (Rebecca Spence) in Chicago for the summer. Cyd is in the midst of discovering herself sexually and can’t quite relate to the aunt who prefers to spend her time reading, writing, and talking with friends. The pair consider one another with fascination and during Cyd’s stay they come to understand and learn from each other.
Princess Cyd only occasionally stumbles into melodrama with the majority of the film made up of subtle moments between characters. There is nothing mindblowing about the film but I don’t think it is in the business for blowing minds.
A charming indie just waiting to be streamed.