The Guilty (2021)

Netflix

The concept of a single-location thriller is at this point an element of filmmaking tradition with its roots reaching all the way back to Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat and Rope, and possibly quite a bit further into the silent era. The toolbox needed to execute such an artificially constrained narrative successfully has been honed over many decades by many great directors and especially in recent years – owing to the pandemic – the idea of staging an entire movie in a single location has become a go-to avenue for artistic expression. Therefore, the Jake Gyllenhaal-starring remake of a Danish sleeper hit The Guilty was seemingly tailor-fit for the current zeitgeist.  

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A Hidden Life (2019)

Fox Searchlight

Some filmmakers find their movie in the screenplay and then shoot it as it was written. Some find the movie they want to make on the set. They make decisions based on feedback from actors and other collaborators, preside over happy accidents and shape their movie in camera. Others make their movie in the editing bay by sculpting the footage into shape. And then… there’s Terrence Malick. 

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The Principal Bond Question

Who was the best James Bond? Who was your favourite? These two questions, often rolled into one, have been on the lips of everyone and their mother in the recent days owing to the release of No Time to Die. As a result, a flurry of listicles has been deployed from all corners of movie fandom and seemingly every online publication – big or small, doesn’t matter – added to the veritable ocean of pieces ranking the actors who portrayed Ian Fleming’s iconic superspy and tried to give an answer to this everlasting Bond question which seems ever more pressing now because Daniel Craig’s tenure in the role has come to an end.

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The Uncut Gems Podcast – Episode 35 (Only God Forgives and The Neon Demon)

I have to come clean: my relationship with Nicolas Winding Refn and his cinema is far from straightforward. I loved his early stuff as well as Drive, but knowing what kind of an artist he is today I have to say that I tend to enjoy movies that hardly represent his current artistic style. Therefore, I was somewhat trepidatious coming into this episode, because – as you may imagine if you listen to the show and read my ramblings – I see myself as a glass-half-full kind of person. Well…

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New Order (2020)

Videocine

The release of Michel Franco’s New Order in his home country of Mexico caused a considerable stir. Even ahead of the official premiere, the short trailer accompanying the movie was enough to draw the ire of certain, more progressive, sections of the Mexican society and – without anyone having seen the movie in question – New Order was dismissed as racist, insensitive and opportunistic. This blew out of all proportions when Franco himself picked up the mic and defended himself against what I can only imagine was a slew of ad hominem attacks hurled by anonymous trolls on Twitter. And hence, a narrative was crystallized. After all, despite often claiming otherwise, most people are unlikely to change their minds even when faced with evidence to the contrary, so quite expectedly, New Order ended up critically derided in Mexico. And even though it received much warmer reviews elsewhere, it has been permanently perfumed with the noticeable scent that screams ‘problematic’.  

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The Uncut Gems Podcast – Episode 34 (The Hunger and The Addiction)

Having done this show thirty-four times now, I think you wouldn’t be wrong to assume that certain filmmakers tend to come back more often than others. In fact, by virtue of having a rough idea of what we are going to cover in the coming months I can tell this is definitely the case. And can you honestly blame us for repeatedly returning to talk about Tony Scott movies?

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Sound of Metal (2019)

Amazon Studios

A lot has been said about Sound of Metal. It’s been hailed for its true-to-life, inventive and immersive approach at bringing the viewer into the world those hard of hearing know as normality. It has been also remarked extensively on the film’s star, Riz Ahmed, who gave it his all in portraying Ruben, a drummer who one day loses his hearing and must learn to live with a disability. In this context, a handful of great pieces have been penned about how Ruben’s predicament eerily comments on the way we had to learn to adapt to living under lockdowns, unable to do what we love or feel we should be doing. Finally, Sound of Metal has been deconstructed as a study on addiction, which is a theme woven delicately underneath the primary layer of the narrative.  

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