The Tragedy of Macbeth is a raw, lucid retelling, rendered spellbinding by its enveloping stylized design and its masterful black-and-white visuals, evoking the chiaroscuro textures of Carl Theodor Dreyer.
The late-’60s and early-’70s production and costume design, by Bob Shaw and Amy Westcott, respectively, are rooted firmly in an evocative sense of time and place, enhanced by a soundtrack of pinpoint needle drops. But The Many Saints of Newark is more of a diverting footnote than an invaluable extension of the show’s colossal legacy.
An atmospheric slice of vintage Americana that shows there’s plenty of life left in seasoned Western archetypes, Old Henry gets much of its mileage from the somewhat unexpected lead casting of Tim Blake Nelson.
The movie, with its numbing overload of pastels and prayer, is too tonally uncertain to yield any fun. It’s a depressing window into the worst excesses of faith racketeering that has little to offer in the way of commentary.
Ultimately, The Last Duel is the affecting story of one woman’s quiet heroism that requires you to wade through a lot of blustery accounts of the honor, the pride and the wars of men in order to get to it. Which is kind of like perpetuating the patriarchy.
The reclusive Italian author’s familiar themes of female relationships, sexuality, motherhood and women’s struggle to carve a professional space outside it are beautifully served in this uncompromising character study, illuminated by performances of jagged brilliance from Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley as her younger self.
Last Night in Soho is an immensely pleasurable film that delights in playing with genre, morphing from time-travel fantasy to dark fairy tale, from mystery to nightmarish horror in a climax that owes as much to ’60s Brit fright fare as to more contemporary mind-benders.
The storytelling lacks the clean lines to make it consistently propulsive. Paradoxically, given its lofty position in the sci-fi canon, much of the narrative’s novelty has also been diluted, rendered stale by decades of imitation.
Not everything lands in Spencer, and I often wondered if the film was so set on bucking convention that it would alienate its audience. But it tells a sorrowful story we all think we know in a new and genuinely disturbing light.
It’s the work of a director in full command of his gifts, from the kaleidoscopic vignettes of family life that make the first half such a constant delight through the supple modulation of tone midway, when shocking tragedy prompts a shift into a more ruminative mood.
This is an exquisitely crafted film, its unhurried rhythms continually shifting as plangent notes of melancholy, solitude, torment, jealousy and resentment surface. Campion is in full control of her material, digging deep into the turbulent inner life of each of her characters with unerring subtlety.
A companion piece of sorts to First Reformed, this is another bruising character study of a solitary, burdened man who processes his most intimate thoughts in a journal, living with his guilt until he’s handed an unexpected opportunity for redemption.
While Parallel Mothers doesn’t match the intricately interwoven layers of Almodóvar’s top-tier work — All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Pain and Glory — and some of its key plot disclosures can be seen coming, that doesn’t make the melodrama any less gripping or emotionally satisfying.