Talking Movies: Mrs Lowry & Son, Mogul Mowgli and Rebecca

Spling reviews Mrs Lowry & Son, Mogul Mowgli and Rebecca 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 an arthouse drama, a character portrait drama and a mystery drama.

Starting off with a film now on circuit…


A portrait of the artist L.S. Lowry and the relationship with his mother.

Director: Adrian Noble

Stars: Vanessa Redgrave, Timothy Spall and Wendy Morgan

– Timothy Spall did a fantastic job of portraying JMW Turner in Mr Turner and returns to play another famous British artist, LS Lowry.
– Best known for his working-class paintings of the industrial era, his career only really took off after his mother’s passing.
– Having lived with her for most of his life, she dissuaded him from pursuing his passion in order that he remain by her side.
– Mrs Lowry & Son could have easily been a stage play, focusing in on one scene and compelled by two strong co-lead performances.
– Spall is a chameleon, transforming his Turner skin to play the more downbeat Lowry, while Redgrave is perfectly cast as his dismissive and domineering mother.
– A fascinating biography, it’s brought to life by full-fledged performances that capture an array of emotions and moods.
– A quintessential arthouse drama, the accurate wardrobe,mis-en-scene and natural lighting create a moody yet realistic backdrop for this war of wills.
– Essentially a psychological game of cat and mouse when it comes to family politics, this deftly handled film is built on two first-class performances.
– Slow-moving yet defiantly character-driven, Mrs Lowry & Son would have been dull in the hands of lesser talents yet brims with subtle humour and acerbic jibes.
– Lowry’s story is riddled with melancholy yet makes a frustratingly honest and well-acted character portrait.

A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer!

Moving on to…


A British Pakistani rapper is struck down by an illness that threatens to derail his career on the cusp of a big break.

Director: Bassam Tariq

Stars: Riz Ahmed, Anjana Vasan and Aiysha Hart

– Riz Ahmed has made a name for himself on the back of a string of solid performances over the years.
– One of Britain’s finest acting talents, his latest venture gives him the spotlight he so rightly deserves, playing Zed an emerging rap artist who is struck down by a degenerative disease on the cusp of a breakthrough world tour.
– Intimately involved as producer and screenwriter together with Tariq, Mogul Mowgli is a passion project for the filmmakers.
– From artful and thoughtful scenes to the edgy rap lyrics, it bursts with originality and independent spirit.
– The film has a sense of urgency and a docudrama realism, which is delivered through its handheld cinematography and guerrilla style film-making.
– While capturing a sense of reality, it contrasts this starkly against surreal moments as the journey takes on a metaphysical element.
– Dealing with fame, identity and family, we get a rich cross-section of a young man’s precarious situation as he tries to overcome a career-threatening disease.
– Ahmed’s earnest and determined performance anchors the emotional undercurrent, while the spontaneous feel to the cinematography and dialogue keeps it on the pulse.
– The meandering story and supporting cast do just enough to get by, but Mogul Mowgli is built on Ahmed’s powerful and nuanced lead performance.

It did just enough to get… A solid 7 on the splingometer!

And finally…


A young newlywed struggles to live up to her husband’s previous wife on an imposing family estate.

Director: Ben Wheatley

Stars: Lily James, Armie Hammer and Kristin Scott Thomas

– Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, is the director behind the critically-acclaimed Rebecca.
– The black-and-white mystery drama has been remade for modern audiences, starring some of today’s best up-and-coming actors.
– It’s a sumptuous and artful remake, visually-striking, moody and playing like an old-fashioned ghost story.
– Keeping an air of mystery, spurred by a stellar cast and remaining a feast for the eyes, this remake looks and sounds the part creating a vivid and even breathtaking tapestry.
– While polished in terms of atmosphere, immersive audio and powerful visuals, it struggles to find the right balance when it comes to storytelling and character.
– Unfortunately, this light touch is further hampered by a miscast lead in James.
– While a fine actress, she seems out of place in the gloom and struggles to resuscitate a thinly scripted character, simply pushing off her supporting acts in Thomas and Hammer.
– Rebecca starts well with great chemistry between Hammer and James, reminiscent of Magic in the Moonlight, but the country estate mystery drama slowly capsizes.
– It’s still a cinematic treat by virtue of its composure, yet doesn’t have the dramatic heft, suspense or deep connection to immerse you with only hints of what Rebecca could have been.

A flat 5 on the splingometer!

So just to wrap up…

MRS LOWRY & SON… two strong co-leads spur this downbeat and slow-moving arthouse biographical drama and character portrait… A satisfactory 6!

MOGUL MOWGLI… a powerful lead performance and surreal edge compels this thoughtful psychological character study… A solid 7!

REBECCA… while an atmospheric audio-visual feast, this smoldering mystery drama is doused by a thin screenplay and miscast lead… A flat 5!

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And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!