Spling reviews On Body and Soul, Edie and Bad Times at the El Royale as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.
Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…
This week, we’re talking about a Hungarian romance drama, an adventure drama and a crime thriller.
Starting off with a film now on Netflix…
ON BODY AND SOUL
Two slaughterhouse workers discover they share the same dreams.
Writer-Director: Il-dikó Enyedi
Stars: Alexandra Borbély, Géza Morcsányi and Réka Tenki
– This Hungarian romance drama was nominated for best foreign film at the Academy Awards
– centring on an unusual pairing of a middle manager and quality controller at an abatoir, we discover an ordinary elegance and surreal sensibility to this spiritual art house romance drama
– hinging on a bizarre contrast between the tough real world and a wintry forest dreamland, they encounter each other as a stag and doe
– through two distinctly different yet equally tender performances, we’re privy to a strangely intimate commonground as the drama gets to grips with an older man who has become disillusioned and a young naive woman with autism
– quite visceral, the slaughtering of cows and dream sequence make some unsettling parallels with its doe-eyed lead
– documentaries and films like On Body and Soul are becoming more preoccupied with our diets, rampant consumerism and its ill effects on the environment
– while a meditation on love and loneliness, the poetic contrasts remain haunting and even disturbing
– as silky as it is quirky, it remains an unusual, honest and deeply affecting drama with fine performances and a curious subtext
– the quiet drama has a few graphic scenes, which makes it a challenging experience for sensitive viewers
– while it may be quite jarring at times, it’s a mostly gentle exploration of a tense office space and an unlikely couple’s romantic overtures
A solid 7 on the splingometer
Moving on to a film now available to rent…
An 83-year-old woman decides to climb Mount Suilven in Scotland.
Director: Simon Hunter
Stars: Sheila Hancock, Kevin Guthrie and Paul Brannigan
– Edie is an inspiring tale and reminder that it’s never too late to follow your dreams
– in a similar vein to About Schmidt, we track with a newly widowed spouse who embarks on a brand new adventure and life chapter
– picking up a long-awaited expedition after being put on hold for thirty years, Edie decides to leave the confines of her dreary London home for the Scottish Highlands
– meandering through the countryside near Inverness, this spirited adventure drama is bound to give you itchy feet with its stunning vistas of the highlands
– while the notion of an octogenarian taking a solo expedition to summit a mountain seems far-fetched, Hancock is living proof it can be done
– serving as a character portait, she embodies the role and in many ways lives it, pushing off her younger counterpart, Kevin Guthrie, in a buddy movie capacity
– the two enjoy good chemistry with Guthrie’s easy charm reminsicent of a young James McAvoy
– relying on a simple concept and a sparse script, Hancock elevates the character through a fine performance and an unusual pairing
– Edie could have gone much deeper as a drama, but opts for something much lighter, entertaining and uplifting
– the story may have a niche appeal, but its themes are universal, its easily accessible and crowd-pleasing in its ambition
An excellent 8 on the splingometer!
And finally another film now on rental…
BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE
Four strangers check in at the deserted El Royale Hotel.
Writer-Director: Drew Goddard
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo and Dakota Johnson
– Bad Times at the El Royale starts with great promise as a ragtag group of strangers descend upon a roadside hotel from a bygone era with many dark secrets
– literally straddling the states of California and Nevada, there’s a strange divide at this ’50s style hotel and time capsule
– a strong ensemble, elevated by the presence of Jeff Bridges and Chris Hemsworth, its wonderful to see the colourful and dastardly characters reveal their true selves as their intentions are made known
– while visually-compelling and infused with Tarantino flair, it doesn’t have the same madcap charm, fearless passion or eclectic whimsy as the influential director
– Goddard employs Americana, over-the-top characters, a jagged timeline, gun violence, retro music and stylistic choices that are in keeping with Tarantino, but it doesn’t have the same spark
– the premise is intriguing and the twists keep things fresh, but there’s a lethargic and strangely uninspired undertone to this crime thriller, which could have been a stage play
– the colours, reveals, performances and character interplay keep things moving along with some flourishes of action and visual splendour, yet it never quite reaches top gear
– Tarantino fans will find it interesting to see someone else making these bold brushstrokes with an unusual hero
– yet without the inspiration, it doesn’t rise to the same lofty heights of its influences or seep into the shadows of its mysterious setting
A solid 7 on the splingometer
So just to wrap up…
ON BODY AND SOUL… fine co-lead performances add gravity to this gentle, intimate, surreal and unconventional romance drama… A solid 7!
EDIE… Hancock’s strong performance and good chemistry underpin an inspiring, empowering and spirited adventure drama… An excellent 8!
BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE… a sharp cast of oddball characters and Tarantino vibrations drive this visually-compelling crime thriller… A solid 7!
For more movie reviews, interviews and previous Talking Movies podcasts visit splingmovies.com.
And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!