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Kosmorama Recap, Part Two

The festival is over and done with, all too soon. Here are the rest of my favourite picks: Snowpiercer, The Babadook, and Blue Ruin.

Snowpiercer-Trenul-lui-Wilford-2013Snowpiercer: 

I honestly don’t know why this hasn’t gotten a bigger release in Norway. It has an amazing cast: Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Ed Harris, and Jamie Bell. Throw in Allison Pill in a minor (but darkly humorous) role, and you’ve really got something.

The film’s main deceit might have something to do with its limited popularity. It’s a bit of a stretch, but once you get past it, the film has some really interesting stuff to explore. The Earth has frozen solid, and humanity’s last livable space is onboard a train, the Snowpiercer, which travels on a continuous rail and is a self-sufficient eco-system. On this train a hierarchy has been established, with Chris Evans’ character and his lot making up the back of the train. They want to change this.

With such a limited space, the film is really creative when it comes to set design. We never see the entire length of the train, nor all the compartments, but what you do see is both incredible and kind of hilarious. The film contrasts the ridiculousness of how the first class lives with the truly dark desperation of the third class. It creates a very unique atmosphere. The acting also sets it apart. Swinton and Evans in particular stand out, and I really hope he picks more emotional roles in the future. Swinton’s make-up rivaled the treatment she got in Budapest, so you have that to look forward to.

The hero is no ordinary hero either, but the extent of his past is revealed too late for it to really effect our view of him. The only other critique is that the concept is a bit too difficult to swallow at times, and the end sets slightly too high goals. Despite this, I can’t say I was bored for more than a couple minutes.

The-Babadook-PosterThe Babadook 

An Australian horror movie, this was probably the scariest of the Kosmorama horror line-up. To me, it never crossed the line into terror, but it was distinctly unsettling almost throughout, which is rare.

A woman struggles with raising her young son after her husband dies. The boy is a difficult child, but when they find a strange pop-up book describing “Mister Babadook” things go from bad to worse.

I don’t know if this is based on any sort of Australian story, but it felt like that. The Babadook’s design was like something from Tim Burton, only actually scary, not Beetlejuice-scary. The way it invades the house, and the reveal of what it wants, helps keep the tension up even after we’ve “seen” the culprit. But we never really see it, which I think was a good choice. The actress Essie Davis, who plays the mother, does a fantastic job at going from tired to bat-shit crazy. The film won’t land on any “best scare” lists, but it had a design that tickled those childhood fears.

blue_ruinBlue Ruin

A man is informed that the murderer of his parents is going to get out of prison. He decides to get revenge, but one thing leads to another and soon he has to hunt down the whole family in order to protect his own.

The main character Dwight is not your typical revenge-movie type. Once he’s clean-shaven he looks a bit like a character from The Office, and has a nervous disposition. The film, however, has a quietness about it I really enjoyed. It had a slightly disappointing ending, but it was also deserved. It tells a simple story, and leaves you to decide the message. The script is bare-bone, with no unnecessary exposition. It might go too quiet at times for some, but I highly recommend it.

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