Glasgow Film Festival 2018 part 2

Posted on: 13 Mar 2018 by Philip Wyn Jones

Click here to read part 1

6: Good Favour (Rebecca Daly, Ireland, 1hour 41minutes). Co-written and directed by Ms Daly, this atmospheric film was shot in Belgium with Belgian actors, speaking English. A frail-looking stranger is taken in and cared for by a religious community. He repays their kindness by using his healing and apparently magical powers. The Biblical parallels are plain to see but there’s also a sinister element at work here and such a community is definitely one to avoid at all costs.

7: Thoroughbreds (Cary Finley, USA, 1hour 30minutes). Of all the films I saw at the festival this was the only one I felt was a waste of time. Two sisters who hardly know each other decide to murder their stepfather. They hire a local low-life to do the job. The idea is simple and straightforward but the film’s plot is confused, there is no suspense and the characterisations are totally unconvincing.

8: Lean on Pete (Andrew Haigh, UK, 2hours 1minute). The director of Weekend and 45 Years has made another first-rate film. Lean on Pete is a racehorse. His racing days are over and a grim fate awaits him. Teenager Charley (Charlie Plummer) decides to rescue him and they set off on a gruelling cross-country journey, encountering endless obstacles and dangers. Plummer is excellent, as are his co-stars, Steve Buscemi and Chloe Sevigny. This film carries great emotional force.

9: Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches (Robert de Young, Australia, 1hour 20minutes). This fascinating account of Taylor’s life and career is largely based on an interview he gave not long before his death. His colleagues also make worthwhile contributions. I was surprised to learn the extent of Taylor’s filmography, which contains a large number of successes. Naturally, special attention is paid to such memorable productions as The Time Machine and The Birds. Taylor speaks his mind with great frankness and wit and the DVD, when released, will contain numerous extras.

10: Unknown Soldier (Aku Louhimies, Finland, 2hours 10minutes). This ambitious and very expensive film is of particular interest to Finns.  There were many of them in the Glasgow audience. Before the Second World War, Finland had been at war with Russia and had consequently lost one tenth of its territory. At the onset of World War 2, Finland opted to fight on the German side, in the hope that they could, with German help, regain their lost land. An interesting background, but the film, sadly, trots out the usual war film clichés on the home-front and the battlefield.

11: Never Steady, Never Still (pictured, Kathleen Hepburn, Canada, 1hour 50minutes).This film tells the story of a mother and her son. He’s unable to hold down a job for long and suffers verbal and physical abuse from his workmates. The mother is battling against a severe and worsening case of Parkinson’s disease. How can she cope as a housewife and mother? Theodore Pellerin and Shirley Henderson give superb performances in this heart-breaking film.

Click here to read part 3

Philip Wyn Jones

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