The 405 Review: NEDs

Just my opinion!

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Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale Review

Having watched the original short film only two weeks before (see link below), Rare Exports was top of my list to see this Christmas. The plot follows a young boy as he and a group of Finnish hunters get embroiled with a large corporation that releases an evil Santa from his mountain prison.

It’s true madness from start to finish. This turns out to be the film’s greatest strength. Elves, magic, and Santa are dealt with absolute sincerity, and what could have been such a goofy movie keeps the illusion of the situation going. For a movie about Father Christmas, surely no bad thing.

The acting is great from the whole cast, but special praise should go to Onni Tommila as Pietari the young boy. His charming and engaging performance is crucial for the film to work, and keeps the slower parts from getting boring or odd.

Although some critics have said the ending is a little lacking, the final showdown with evil Santa provides a very satisfactory conclusion.  It brings together a lot of themes from throughout the piece, and although I don’t want to give anything away, keeps true to the characters being hunters.

This film does have a dark soul, and is very strange indeed. However, Rare Exports has created some wonderful scenes, and is in its own way, beautiful. You won’t leave the cinema scared, but roaring with laughter, and very much looking forward to Christmas.

8/10

Of Gods And Men Review

The plot of Of Gods and Men didn’t exactly enthrall me on the way to the screening. It follows a group of French Monks in Algeria, whose peaceful existence is shattered when Islamic extremists threaten their lives.

I was expecting a rather slow look at the meaning of faith, and long discussions on religion. Instead, the film look at the monks as humans, and the perfectly normal reactions that death can bring. They don’t want to leaves their friends just as much as they don’t want to abandon their God, and the long scenes of their simple life go from banal to nostalgic to upsetting as the danger increases.

What a lot of reviews have missed out on in parts Of Gods and Men is absolutely chilling. We do see the consequences of staying behind and facing the extremists, and the first meeting between the two groups is incredibly tense.  A lot has been made of the  “Swan Lake” meal scene. For me the most moving part was when an army helicopter hovered near the monastery during prayers. The men hug each other, and continue their songs, despite the rattling on the machine utterly dominating the soundtrack.  For a film where not a lot happens for large periods of time, there is absolutely no filler.

So although the plot may sound difficult, this is beautifully simple filmmaking that does have momentum. It is not just another art house film, and although challenging, is never boring. I am of a totally secular nature, but this story delves deep into the heart of humanity, and touches themes that affect us all.

9/10

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One of my favourites but which way round?

The 405- Ricky Gervais Science Review

Here it is.

The 405- Billy Connolly Live in London

Another to follow!

405: Article on Cowboys And Indians

Purely for completists