Bourne ultimatum


Having just seen Atonement, maybe it was a bad idea to view this as the second course… because it was a disappointment.

It’s incredibly exciting (if you get incredibly excited by two hours of chases). It has a good, and followable, plot which twists and turns like a Sidewinder on a trampoline, and it has more locations than CSI, but ultimately it left me a bit cold.

Some of the chases, like through the streets and over the rooftops of Tangiers are just plain silly.

Matt Damon and Julia Stiles who is, frankly, absolutely crap and 100% unbelievable as a top level CIA agent are chased by another CIA killing machine who is rutheless and invincible (except for when he has any of the main protagonists within 20 yards ) through a laborynthian backstret only for them ALL to end up in the same house (not just block) simultaneously.

Also, I thought it amusing that the Tangiers police were considerably better at keeping Matt Damon in check than the combined might of the Uber-CIA team that formed the baddies.

Actually, you know what, having written this I’ve just realised…it’s claptrap.




Atonement. Nailed!


Atonement is a majestic and moving novel, one of my favourites by one of my favourite authors, so I approached the movie with optimism and trepidation in equal measure.

I need not have worried; it is executed with impeccable taste, brilliantly directed, acted, soundtracked and photographed. Surely it will do some damage at the Oscars.

It’s essentially a caustic attack on the class society in England where the stiff upper lip leads to all sorts of under-the-radar cruelty.

James McAvoy (essentially a bit of a Lady Chatterley’s lover being as he is the housemaid’s son) falls for the toffee-nosed Cecilia Tallis, (Keira Knightley)and, in the process, drives her 13 year old sister into a fit of jealousy that has tragic consequences for McAvoy.


This is magnified when the young Brioney (brilliantly played by Saoirse Ronan) acts as go-between between the aforementioned James McAvoy (now certainly one of Britain’s best actors) and Knightley (who carries the part off more than adequately).

The film is in three acts. The first set in Brideshead Revisited English opulence, the second in Northern France around the D Day landings and containing a 5 minute steadicam tracking shot that takes the breathe away, the third in the suburbs of war torn London.

Each is rendered differently and observed immaculately. In the snobbery of pre-war rural England the tension can be cut with a knife and the language and mannerisms of upper class torpor are fantastically realised.

The war scenes, aside from the amazing tracking shot, are less well executed (budget restrictions methinks) but the ending is deeply satisfying.

Special applause has to be reserved for Dario Mariavrelli’s soundtrack which uses the sound of typewriter keystrokes as a hugely original percussion instrument that adds energy to the whole piece.



hallam foe and knocked Up


We saw Hallam Foe this last week in a bid to see our must-see films of the year. We managed to catch ‘Knocked Up’ the week before and, despite a fire alarm and the cinema being evacuated it was a great laugh. I would not recommend taking your 12 year old children to this 15 rated movie which only missed out on an 18 because there wasn’t much nudity.

It had all the rest though! You name it!

It did have the benefit of saving us from explaining to the kids what doggie fashion looks like or how to have sex with a six month pregnant woman.

Anyway, back to Hallam Foe. I was dead excited about this, partly because I love movies set in places you know, in this case Edinburgh. In addition my Uncle Rab had a cameo role in the movie which he carried off with aplomb. I’d heard that Jamie Bell was excellent in it too.

The truth is that it’s an OK movie shot in Edinburgh with an original, but paper-thin story line revolving around a somewhat Oedipal relationship between Jamie Bell and a girl that he falls in love with who closely resembles his dead mother. The fact that most of the movie is an exercise in Edinburgh rooftop voyeurism adds a certain originality and, of course, you’ve no idea how it will end.

Jamie Bell is indeed excellent and largely carries the movie but, in the end it didn’t have enough depth for me and so I can only give it 7 out of 10.

We’re on our way to see ‘Atonement’ now.

Verdict is

Hallam foe 6.5/10 (maybe a 7)

Knocked Up, it shames me to say 8/10 (maybe 8.5)