Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Edinburgh International Film Festival Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th Part 2

One film that really taps into the darkness and magic of Edinburgh is Scottish werewolf movie Outcast. A mysterious pair of Irish travellers, mother and son Mary and Fergal, settle into ghetto life on one of Edinburgh's less salubrious high-rise estates where Fergal catches the eye of ballsy local beauty Petronella (the excellent Hanna Stanbridge) and romance blossoms. But as night falls, something is tearing the locals to pieces and two menacing strangers (Ciaran McMenamin and James Nesbitt) are closing in on Mary and Fergal...

While it doesn't make a lick of sense, Outcast is a ferocious little horror movie, a dark adult fairy tale where the deep, dark woods the beast stalks is our modern urban wasteland. Professional leprechaun James Nesbitt is positively unhinged as the werewolf hunter who's hairier than the beastie he's after and newcomer Hanna Stanbridge is gorgeous and fiesty as the damsel who's perfectly able to save herself.

Based on a true story, Austria's The Robber is a breathless, kinetic crime thriller whose existentialist protagonist, a marathon running bank robber, seems to be in constant motion, propelled by fate, circumstances and his own single-minded compulsions, towards a doom that's both avoidable and inevitable. Andreas Lust is magnetic in the title role and the chemistry between him and love interest Franziska Weisz is palpable, hinting at redemption even as events close in on them.

Proving there's a reason why most underground filmmakers never make it overground, John Michael McCarthy's Cigarette Girl takes one good idea (it's the future and cigarettes are outlawed, available only in the dodgy pat of town where they change hands for $63 a pack) and a charismatic lead (fiesty Goth babe Cori Dials) and builds a film around them that is little more than an excuse to pour the statuesque Dials into "a corset that could stop a bullet or start a conversation" and have her run from one posing opportunity to another as she cleans up the mean streets of the near-future Memphis.

A triumph of bad acting, bad writing and lacklustre direction, the only possible reason for watching this movie is if you like to see tattooed, pistol-packing Goth chicks in pose in corsets and fetish heels.

Which is pretty much why I watched it too.

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