drama

Film Review: The Courier is an emotionally fraught thriller balancing its emotional and educational mentality

April 3, 2021

British businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) doesn’t have the most suave persona. ¬†And it’s because of this very reason that MI5 and the CIA have collaborated in their bid to maximise the potential of an insider during the time of America and Russian intensifying their nuclear arms race. “You drink too much and you‚Äôre not […]

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Film Review: The Mauritanian is a factual-based thriller grounded by Tahar Rahim’s central performance

March 23, 2021

As much as The Mauritanian can boast Jodie Foster (in her Golden Globe-winning role), Benedict Cumberbatch and Shailene Woodley as its headliners, it’s the central performance from the lesser-known Tahar Rahim that ultimately impresses and grounds the film around him. A factual-based dramatic thriller detailing some of the supposed inner workings of the 9/11 terrorism […]

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SXSW Film Review: Introducing, Selma Blair highlights the actress’s wit and charm in the face of her battle with MS

March 18, 2021

As displayed by her effortless wit and charm in the opening seconds of Introducing, Selma Blair, the actress’ own self-awareness has been one of her pillars of strength as she battles multiple sclerosis (MS). ¬†Always aware of her supporting actress stance in Hollywood – the star noting as such throughout – the Legally Blonde alum […]

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SXSW Film Review: The Fallout is an authentic snap-shot of a movie that runs high on emotion

March 18, 2021

A devastatingly topical drama surrounding a school shooting and the emotional and psychological damage such a tragedy can cause for its survivors, The Fallout takes a quieter, more intimate look at the unseen faces – those that aren’t framed in the media as “a survivor”, merely fellow students who are unsure how to navigate their […]

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Film Review: Unsound is a mostly winning affair that overcomes its narrative simplicities with a queer authenticity

March 16, 2021

A film that takes pride in its conversational awareness of both the LGBTIQA+ and deaf and/or hard of hearing communities, Unsound may not always hit the right notes but there’s plenty of charm in the melody along the way. Centred around deaf Sydney-sider Finn (Yiana Pandelis), a transgender man navigating the complexities of being trans […]

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MQFF Film Review: My Fiona is an emotionally excruciating navigation of mourning and self-discovery

March 12, 2021

The framing of My Fiona‘s opening scene is laced with a certain tension that very much clues the audience in on the fact that the film’s protagonist, Jeanette Maus‘s Jane, is about to have her life horrifically shattered. ¬†It’s an emotional, painful way for us to bond with a character, but it immediately establishes a […]

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Film Review: Nomadland is an emotionally-charged masterpiece

March 4, 2021

The opening of Chloe Zhao‚Äôs Nomadland opens with a sobering statistic.¬† In Nevada, a small town – Empire – has essentially become a ghost town due to the local Gypsum plant closing down amid the recession.¬† The Empire residents, most of whom lived in company-owned homes, had to vacate in masses, deactivating the town‚Äôs zip […]

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Film Review: Another Round overcomes its farcical premise with an organic honesty

February 11, 2021

You’d be forgiven for reading the plot outline for Another Round and assuming wacky comedic hijinks would ensue. ¬†Based around a surprisingly real theory put forward by Norwegian psychiatrist Finn Sk√•rderud, who suggested that humans could operate at their best with a consistent blood alcohol level of .05%, Thomas Vinterberg‘s dramedy is occasionally humorous as […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Pleasure is a deliberately uncomfortable navigation of the boundaries of the sex industry

February 1, 2021

After introducing itself as a film that promises there’ll be no sugarcoating its subject matter – the first thing we hear are the audible moans and verbal berating from a pornographic film, and the first thing we see is the extremely graphic imagery of a young girl’s privates in the shower – Ninja Thyberg‘s confronting […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Robin Wright’s Land speaks to the love of the land and one’s own self

February 1, 2021

With Nomadland currently doing the rounds and collecting its share of awards in the lead-up to a presumed heft of Oscar nominations, a film like Land being release is curious timing. ¬†It’ll inevitably be compared to Chloe Zhao’s inward masterpiece and, in its own way, it’s something of a more digestible, audience friendly take on […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Together Together amusingly explores the notion of a man’s desire to listen to his biological clock

February 1, 2021

The notion of a biological clock and its exclusivity to women is a road travelled many a time over the course of cinematic history. ¬†Such an idea pertaining to men however is another story entirely, and one that has seldom been explored. ¬†Enter, Together Together. Written and directed by Nicole Beckwith (returning to Sundance 6 […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Mass is powerful, unflinching storytelling that demands to be seen

January 31, 2021

An agonising drama if ever there was one, Mass details the type of conversation that instantly makes you feel sickeningly uncomfortable. ¬†And then to watch it unfold in a suffocating location for 110 minutes is a test of endurance that audiences may be unprepared for. The tragedy at the centre of the conversation is one […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: How It Ends is a scrappy comedy that utilises its charm to overcome any shortcomings

January 31, 2021

In How It Ends, the joint-directorial effort from Daryl Wein (Lola Versus) and Zoe Lister-Jones (The Craft: Legacy), the question is proposed of what would you do if you knew the world was coming to an end?. ¬†It’s a question that has familiarity to it, but Wein and Lister-Jones have the smarts and wit to […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: John and the Hole is an ambiguous thriller that refuses to spoon-feed its audience

January 30, 2021

There’s a series of odd interludes dispersed throughout Pascual Sisto‘s unnerving thriller John and the Hole that suggest the story at hand has been passed down over time as something of a fable, one that impressionable young children may construe as a challenge on how they view their own relationship with their supposed elders. ¬†It’s […]

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Film Review: Malcolm & Marie succeeds entirely off the committed performances of John David Washington and Zendaya

January 28, 2021

Although Malcolm & Marie was one of the first films to be announced as a “made during COVID-19” production, it thankfully has nothing to do with the global catastrophe. ¬†Instead, writer/director Sam Levinson (creator of HBO’s Euphoria) has opted for an in-house tragedy revolving around the titular couple (John David Washington‘s Malcolm and Zendaya‘s Marie) […]

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Lady Whistledown delivers an announcement: Bridgerton Season 2 is coming!

January 22, 2021

Prepare for another social season. ¬†Bridgerton, the romantic, scandalous, and quick-witted series that became one of Netflix’s most-watched shows of all time, will be returning for a second salacious season, as stated by the society papers of Lady Whistledown. “Dearest readers, The ton are abuzz with the latest gossip, and so it is my honour […]

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Film Review: Sound of Metal is an already astonishing film elevated by Riz Ahmed’s uninhibited performance

December 5, 2020

After his standout turn opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in 2014’s disturbing neo-noir thriller Nightcrawler, Riz Ahmed seemed destined for greatness on the big screen. ¬†And thankfully, after years of slumming it in supporting roles in Hollywood blockbusters that have all wavered in their quality (Jason Bourne, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Venom), he’s finally been […]

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Film Review: Let Him Go is a western-slanted revenge thriller that’s an odd mixture of subdued quietness and unnerving thrills

November 25, 2020

Despite Kevin Costner and Diane Lane perfecting the kindly rural American in Man of Steel, in no way should they be confused with the kindly rural Americans they embody in Let Him Go. ¬†Superman’s parents they are not in Thomas Bezucha‘s slow-burn thriller, a 1960’s set, western-slanted revenge piece that takes a little longer than […]

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Film Review: All My Life has enough appeal and charm to offset its overtly sugary packaging

November 20, 2020

Likely to appeal to the Nicholas Sparks crowd, All My Life¬†is a particularly sweet (almost too much so for its own good) true story-inspired tearjerker that, in many ways, gets away with being so cookie cutter because – as we are informed in the opening monologue – we only remember the most beautiful and tragic […]

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Film Review: Kajillionaire is an emotional coming of age story masked underneath an exaggerated comedic premise

October 21, 2020

When you realise that ageing grifters Robert and Teresa Dyne (Richard Jenkins and Debra Winger) named their daughter Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood) after a lottery-winning homeless man, you immediately learn everything you need to know about the swindling couple. ¬†They thought the name would secure them inheritance of some sort, but instead they live […]

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Film Review: Babyteeth is a human drama that isn’t afraid to be messy, frustrating and darkly comedic

July 15, 2020

Whilst it’s easy to roll your eyes at the almost insultingly familiar narrative Babyteeth works with at its core – terminal ill teenager falls in love with the wrong guy – it somehow manages to avoid most of the genre cliches, thanks to a mindset that isn’t afraid to be messy, frustrating and, at times, […]

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Film Review: The King of Staten Island is a surprisingly grounded film that operates more as a showcase for Pete Davidson’s dramatic capabilities

July 14, 2020

So you should know going into The King of Staten Island that, yes, director Judd Apatow hasn‚Äôt changed his aesthetic in terms of narrative length or character ingredients.¬† A too-long comedic drama (emphasis on the drama here) focusing on a typical man-child who‚Äôs failed to launch himself, Staten Island hopes to be more endearing than […]

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Film Review: Waves is both a stirring and sobering experience

July 9, 2020

Despite this year’s Oscars honouring one of 2019’s more diverse offerings (Bong Joon-ho’s Korean black comedy/thriller¬†Parasite), the whitewashing of the event was overwhelming. ¬†In a cinematic year where actors of colour delivered universally-praised performances (see Lupita Nyong’o in Us, Awkwafina in The Farewell, and Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers, for a start), it was disappointing that […]

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Film Review: End of Sentence transcends its predictabilities thanks to a little Irish charm

May 28, 2020

End of Sentence treads a familiar path. ¬†And, initially, Elfar Adalstein‘s father-son-centric drama is a particularly downtrodden affair that audiences may not believe they’ll warm to. ¬†The film’s lead characters don’t come off as the most inviting either – Logan Lerman‘s fresh-out-of-prison Sean and his doormat dad, Frank, played by John Hawkes – and their […]

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First Impressions: Amazon Prime Video’s Little Fires Everywhere overcomes its melodramatic state thanks to nuanced performances from Witherspoon and Washington

May 22, 2020

Perhaps as it should, Little Fires Everywhere does indeed start with a fire. ¬†“There are little fires everywhere”, a fire marshal relays to a distraught Reese Witherspoon and a concerned Joshua Jackson, as they stare at their sprawling suburban home engulfed in flames. ¬†The marshal’s statement indicates this was intentionally lit, setting up an immediate […]

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Film Review: 1983’s Ozploitation classic Hostage is little more than a Lifetime movie with sporadic moments of exploitation thrown in

May 5, 2020

Given the fact that Hostage has something of a reputation for being one of Australia’s biggest Ozploitation films, you’d be forgiven for assuming it would live up to its supposed status. ¬†And whilst the opening credits suggest the film to come will be one heavy on uncomfortable violence – there are sudden, furious flashes of […]

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Film Review: The Flood overcomes its melodramatic narrative thanks to topical sensitivity

May 1, 2020

The opening scrawl of The Flood states that at least 18,000 people who have been displaced by persecution, conflict and violence in their own habitats around the world have died in the last 5 years alone in their bid to reach Europe. ¬†It’s a shocking statistic regarding those trying to enter another country, but in […]

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Film Review: Come As You Are provides the jolt the road-trip-comedy model so desperately needs

April 13, 2020

Though the blueprint behind Come As You Are is quite insultingly familiar – three sexually-charged men on a road trip that’s as heavy on situational humour as it is on their own self-discovery – director Richard Wong proves that appearances are indeed deceiving. The core structures of the road-trip-comedy are in place, but Come As […]

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Film Review: Swallow is a slow-burning thriller that transcends its potentially nauseating premise

March 22, 2020

On paper, the premise for Swallow sounds almost too-grotesque to be relayed without resorting to some type of gimmick. ¬†In reality, Carlo Mirabella-Davis‘s slow-burning thriller transcends its potentially nauseating core to deliver a deep, at times dark tale that wholly understands and respects its unique subject matter. The film surrounds the delicate Hunter (Haley Bennett), […]

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SXSW Film Review: Make Up is a self-discovery tale dressed up like a psychological thriller

March 20, 2020

*The AU Review will continue with its planned SXSW 2020 coverage. ¬†We have been in contact with the respective representatives for available films in order to give them the coverage they intended. Perhaps diving a little too heavily into the metaphorical stance on storytelling, Claire Oakley‘s Make Up is a self-discovery tale dressed up like […]

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