This weekend ASFF selects five films due to hit UK cinemas this Friday. These English-language movies – four features and one documentary – stem from Britain, America and Australia, and offer up a variety of themes from environmental progress to governmental corruption and martial discord.
2040 (Together Films)
Australian actor-turned-director Damon Gameau follows his 2014 documentary That Sugar Film with another eco tale – this time projecting into the future and offering hope amid the environmental doom-and-gloom. Imagining a future where practical science has saved mankind, Gameau focuses on existing tech designed to ease the burden the population has put on Earth, from carbon-absorbing seaweed to localized power-sharing networks. Its naïve and sometimes cartoonish, but it’s also a film full of hope.
Scott Z. Burns’ second film as director, The Report is a hugely difficult story to tell. Adam Driver plays real-life Senate staffer Dan Jones, who is put in charge of an investigation into CIA post-9/11 torture practices – or ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ – during the War on Terror. Borrowing from classic 1970s thrillers like All The President’s Men and The Parallax View, Burns has crafted a compelling film set in a world of conspiracy and brutality. A superb support cast – Ted Levine, Annette Bening, Tim Blake Nelson, to name but three – add to the quality.
Emma Thompson’s latest screenwriting effort sees her head towards Richard Curtis territory with this oddball London-set romantic drama inspired by the music of George Michael. Taking the lyrics of the title song quite literally to heart, this is a Ghost-like tale that stars Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke as a former Yugoslavian immigrant now working in London in a Christmas-themed store. And if you’ve got this far, then you should probably go and see it. Bridesmaids’ Paul Feig directs.
A near-perfect dissection of a marriage, or rather the end of it, Noah Baumbach’s intelligent, adult drama stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a theatre director and an actress, who decide to split – amicably – until the lawyers get involved. A savage examination of the process of divorce and the legal shenanigans that couples are forced to undertake ensures it’s a brilliantly truthful drama, seasoned with some fine comic moments. Laura Dern and Ray Liotta complete a wonderful cast.
In America and elsewhere, James Mangold’s old-fashioned racing drama has the title ‘Ford v. Ferrari’, a more simple explanation of the rivalry that forms the heart of this tale set around the 1966 24-hour Le Mans endurance race. Christian Bale and Matt Damon are the outsider drivers/auto-designers employed by Ford to unseat Ferrari, the Italian giant who’d won the race for the past six years. Mangold, who worked with Bale on 3:10 To Yuma, delivers real emotions in the final lap.
All films released on 15 November.