Tag Archives: DVD

Spring

Spring_poster_goldposter_com_2-400x592Love is a Monster

‘I don’t think you’re ready for where this is going.’

Often, amongst the subpar horror fair of late, there are the hidden artefacts you stumble across that dare to deliver something different. As part of the current renaissance in intelligent, independent horror films that have the unhinged freedom to explore more metaphysical concepts there are the hidden gems built on the germ of an idea – the less tangible…the less obvious. Often deemed to have smaller audiences, the likes of Honeymoon and The Babadook have, at their core, something deeply personal shrouded in expressionistic brushstrokes that help to convey more thought provoking ideas. Although The Babadook descended into more of a cliché, Honeymoon managed to retain its serious, speculative approach and it is the same conviction that makes Spring one of the strongest horror films of 2015. It’s a sad state of affairs that such a masterpiece has zero marketing and is only released in the UK on DVD at the bargain bin price of £4.99.

With its more obvious tropes nested in the masterful tales of H.P. Lovecraft, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s second feature reminds us how a heady mix of romance can work wonders. Traditionally, these genres are not as removed from one another as we may think and have more than been taken advantage of in these Twihard years. Yet Spring manages to deliver a fresh and often beguiling approach with its meandering nature and stunning scenery swaying close to Richard Linklater’s conversational piece, Before Sunrise and therefore attempts to avoid the imagery we are all too familiar with.

After his mother passes away, a young bartender by the name of Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) is left alone and angry with regret. When he prevents his friend from a potential glassing, a bar brawl ensues which results in the loss of his job. Before long his life is threatened by the hapless thug and the authorities begin their search. With nothing left to keep him rooted, Evan sets off for a random destination and ends up in Italy where he briefly meets up with a couple of cockney backpackers, secures a part time job and, amongst the wine and sunshine, meets the beautiful and alluring Louise (Nadia Hilker). As they begin to spend time with one another, it is soon clear that she hides a dark and terrifying secret that literally evolves throughout the course of the film.

Comparisons to Upstream Colour can also be noted; yet where Shane Carruth’s film deals with many ambiguous themes in a more speculative light, the visual language is just as arresting. Throughout the labyrinthine streets and swell of the sea, Benson and Moorhead take their time to explore character, which enables the viewer to accept the grotesque transformations Louise undertakes. In the moments the creature is seen it is disquieting, unsettling, shocking and disturbing – each transformation exploring the familiar while still retaining a fresh direction that helps to elevate its more primordial nature.

While Evan’s character deals with his estrangement from his homeland, it is during a key scene that reminds us of his unbridled love – in that no matter what happens to those closest to you, love knows no bounds; both emotionally and physically. In the opening moments of the film we understand Evan’s grief and relationship with his mother before he is cast adrift. As much as Louise is a myth, Evan is the truth behind how simple one man’s love can be.

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Rust and Bone

Rust-and-Bone-PosterBrutal Romanticism

‘If we continue, we have to do it right.’

Jacques Audiard’s unflinching melodrama is an exploration of how physical nature can render emotion – how they collide…and how often one cannot survive without the other. Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead) plays Alain, a single parent who attempts to look after his young boy after setting up a new life with his sister and her husband. This is a man who is more brawn than brains and his physicality lands him a number of roles that lead to a series of actions as the story unfolds. After he takes on his first job as a bouncer he meets Stéphanie, played by Marion Cotillard; who, once again, reminds us of her depth and versatility as she takes us through the pain and gradual rehabilitation of an amputee.

Their chance encounter reveals her distractions that lead to a horrific accident during her day job as an Orca trainer. At first we think she is dependent on him but as her will power increases and the relationship develops, it is clear that they are dependent on each other. Where there is strength there is weakness. Where there is tenderness there is brute force. Where there is tranquility…there is rage. This is the story of how an emotionally handicapped man relates to a physically handicapped woman – one who insults and destroys everything and anyone around him, while the she rebuilds her life. Using Alain’s lack of sympathy to her advantage, his disconnection helps her deal with the situation in a positive way – a subtle, yet complex approach to any modern love story. As Audiard builds each scene with broad strokes, as much as he focuses on the details, he is constantly aware of the juxtaposed nature of the story that builds towards a heart-stopping conclusion. Rust and Bone may be gritty and unconventional for most, but there is no doubt that it delivers unrivalled passion at every level.

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