Spling reviews Enola Holmes 2, Wild is the Wind and Mense van die Wind 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 period mystery crime comedy caper, a crime drama and a music drama romance.
Starting off with a film now on Netflix…
Enola Holmes takes on her first official case as a detective-for-hire to find a missing girl, whose disappearance underpins a dangerous conspiracy.
Director: Harry Bradbeer
Stars: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill and David Thewlis
– This entertaining sequel is based upon the Enola Holmes Mysteries’ book series by Nancy Springer.
– While not quite as delightful as the original outing, this follow-up doesn’t disappoint recalling much of the first film’s fun.
– Led by the plucky Millie Bobby Brown, her charm and wit compel this swirling mystery centred on a matchstick factory.
– Continuing to uphold its feminist, progressive and revisionist lens, Enola Holmes 2 is based on the true story of the Fabian Society’s boycott in 1888.
– While it starts off slow, the momentum shifts as the mystery deepens and Enola joins forces with her famous brother, Sherlock.
– Spurred by the star quality of her supporting cast in Henry Cavill, Helena Bonham Carter and an intimidating David Thewlis as Superintendent Grail, this upbeat detective mystery evolves into political conspiracy.
– Enola Holmes 2 delivers all-round entertainment, blending action, adventure, comedy, crime, drama, mystery, suspense and romance.
– From authentic wardrobe, decorative production design and sumptuous visuals, this sequel has an ornate quality, layered by curious cutaways, visual effects and Enola’s endearing fourth-wall-breaking tendencies.
– While it doesn’t attain the same lofty heights of the original, it’s still novel, enthralling and immensely enjoyable.
A solid 7 on the splingometer!
Moving on to a movie now on Netflix…
After the body of a young Afrikaner girl is discovered, racial tensions and corruption reach boiling point in a small, segregated town as two cops try to split a life-changing score.
Writer/Director: Fabian Medea
Stars: Mothusi Magano, Frank Rautenbach and Chris Chameleon
– Wild is the Wind is a gritty crime drama centred on two bent cops that attempts to pack the storytelling of an entire series into the space of a feature film.
– Coasting on the likeability of Magano and Rautenbach, Wild is the Wind’s intriguing plot, good pacing and clipped edit keep you loosely invested.
– Assembling a sprawling ensemble, it includes the likes of Izel Bezuidenhout, Nicola Hanekom and Brendon Daniels.
– This directorial debut has some great ideas and moments, but as much as Wild is the Wind sticks closely to tried-and-tested elements of the crime drama genre, it’s overly ambitious and with so many strands of the story to intertwine, the net result is frayed.
– Instead of focusing on one key aspect, there’s an attempt to corral everything under one roof, stretching the bounds of this crime drama to breaking point.
– Using broad brush strokes, the events of the story compel the drama thanks to its rich blend of action and emotion, yet it remains scattershot and superficial.
– It’s almost as if the film ran a few drafts short or was salvaged from a much more far-reaching mini-series.
– While Wild is the Wind looks the part, often sounds the part and holds together as a unified film with a curious South African backdrop… the naïve storytelling, scattershot focus, tonal inconsistencies, overworked genre elements and overly ambitious demands of the project ultimately underwhelm – in spite of the quality of the ingredients.
A flimsy 4 on the splingometer!
And finally another film now on Netflix …
Following the tragic death of his girlfriend, a singer-songwriter retreats to his family’s farm to overcome grief, heal and reconnect.
Writer/Director: David Schröder
Stars: Armand Aucamp, Renier Basson and Juan de Jager
– Mense van die Wind is a compelling story about missed opportunities, mentorship, mourning and finding the right encouragement to start over.
– Schröder has a great sense of story flow, allowing the melancholy to seep into every scene, expressing Louw’s struggle in the film’s feel and tone.
– Leveraging the talents of his actors, unfurling a thoughtful screenplay, feeling his way through scenes and offering restrained, sensitive direction, Mense van die Wind is a controlled and promising feature film debut for Schröder.
– Aided by a well-balanced and self-assured performance from Aucamp, Mense van die Wind’s wistful spirit is embodied by the actor without capsizing into melodrama.
– The sombre atmosphere grounds this touching drama, expressing a sense of disillusionment many will be able to identify with, providing some timely contact points for Louw’s journey of healing.
– The storytelling remains captivating, bold enough to veer off the beaten track of feel good with soulful drama, using intimate and gently rousing music to open hearts rather than going for full Hollywood, echoing director John Carney’s Once and Begin Again.
– Character-driven, the cinematography remains nostalgic and unobtrusive, allowing the drama to unfold without distraction.
– While housing many competing subplots and a fantasy element, this coming-of-age music drama romance manages to streamline without feeling coerced.
– Decidedly slow-moving, Mense van die Wind is content to sink into the character’s struggle, which makes the resolution all the more rewarding.
A solid 7 on the splingometer!
So just to wrap up…
ENOLA HOLMES 2… a charming cast and plucky spirit energises this slow-to-start yet visually enchanting and all-round entertainment… A solid 7!
WILD IS THE WIND… while stellar and provocative, this crime drama is naïve, scattershot, inconsistent and overly ambitious… A flimsy 4!
MENSE VAN DIE WIND… a well-balanced, nostalgic, earnest, engaging, tender and hopeful coming-of-age music romance drama… A solid 7!
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And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!