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thumbnail The Translators (2020 France)

Genre, Thriller , comments closed

Director: Régis Roinsard
Lambert Wilson, Olga Kurylenko, Riccardo Scamarcio
105 mins

Régis Roinsard’s cleverly concocted thriller The Translators is set within the bookish confines of best-selling paperbacks and their ruthless publishers, following a group of talented polyglots caught in a scenario straight out of Agatha Christie. What could have been a dull and very French lecture in modern linguistics becomes a high-stakes whodunit where the usual suspects are not your typical movie culprits. The script is filled with twists, red herrings, false clues and third-act reversals, keeping us guessing until fairly late in the game. Add to that Roisnard’s meticulous sense of craft — already on display in his polished 2012 début, Populaire — and you get an altogether slick package that, like the prized book at the heart of its mystery, is a page-turner that never digs too deep.

thumbnail Bacurau (2019 Brazil)

Genre, Sci-fi, Thriller , comments closed

Directors: Juliano Dornelles, Kleber Mendonça Filho
Bárbara Colen, Thomas Aquino, Silvero Pereira
Sc-fi thriller
132 mins

Set a few years from now Bacurau begins like one of those feel-good movies white people enjoy watching about poor-but-noble brown people surviving against the odds. We couldn’t imagine ourselves managing in such circumstances, but god bless them for their courage. Deep in the north-eastern Sertão – the Brazilian outback – it mashes up many themes and influences, but is chiefly a scream of satirical defiance against new president Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right globaliser famously promising to make the country more open to foreign trade. This movie’s closing credits pointedly note that the production created 800 jobs.

thumbnail Buoyancy (2019 Australia)

Genre, Thriller , comments closed

Director: Rodd Rathjen
Sarm Heng, Thanawut Kasro, Mony Ros
93 mins

Australian drama directed by Rodd Rathjen. It was selected as the Australian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards. Inspired by the real-life plight of workers sold into Southeast Asia’s fishing industry and featuring a powerful performance from its first-time star, this gripping high seas drama was awarded the Panorama Prize by Berlinale’s Ecumenical Jury. Tired of toiling in the rice fields, 14-year-old Chakra (a magnetic Sarm Heng) leaves Cambodia in search of a Bangkok factory job. After paying smugglers to ferry him over the border, the boy is instead traded to a seafood trawler where violence and murder are a routine occurrence, all under the watch of ruthless and sadistic captain Rom Ran. Filmed on location in Cambodia with a cast of non-actors who lend the work a vérité feel that underscores the real-life urgency of its message.

thumbnail Parasite (2019 South Korea)

Comedy, Drama, Event, Genre, Thriller , comments closed

Directors: Joon-ho Bong
Starring: Kang-ho Song, Yeo-jeong Jo, So-dam Park
Genre:  Drama, thriller, comedy
Duration:  132 mins

Meet the Park family: the picture of aspirational wealth; and the Kim family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide indispensable”luxury services while the Parks give the Kims a way out of their shabby circumstances. But this new ecosystem is fragile, and soon enough greed and class prejudice threaten to upend the Kims’ newfound comfort.

The advertised film, Birds of Passage, was not available.

thumbnail The Guilty (2018 Denmark)

Crime, Drama, Event, Genre, Thriller , comments closed

Director: Gustav Möller
Starring:  Jakob Cedergren, Jessica Dinnage, Omar Shargawi
Genre: Crime, thriller, drama
Duration: 85 mins Rated R

A police officer, Asger, temporarily assigned to emergency dispatch duty takes a desperate call from a kidnapped woman. The minutes that follow are so taut, that you almost forget to breathe but there’s more to The Guilty than a race against the clock. Drop by drop, information is fed to us about the incident that left Asger confined to desk duty. On the phone, he also veers wildly from the what-to-say-to-in-a-kidnap-scenario instructions given out at the Police Academy. Is Asger a good guy going the extra mile, or does he have a dangerous delusion of himself as a crusading cop? Or is it more complicated than that? This is Denmark’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.

thumbnail Burning (2018 South Korea)

Event, Genre, Mystery, Thriller , comments closed

Director: Chang-dong Lee
Starring:  Ah-in Yoo, Steven Yeun, Jong-seo Jun
Genre: Mystery, thriller
Duration: 148 mins

Based on a Haruki Murakami short story, Korean master Lee Chang-dong’s remarkable new thriller Burning was the most acclaimed film of Cannes, setting a record for the highest-ever score achieved in the 18-year history of Screen International’s prestigious critics’ poll. Novelistic in scope, grandeur and impact and featuring three remarkable performances, it’s a gripping psychological study of thwarted love, ambition and obsession.

thumbnail The Insult (2018 Lebanon)

Drama, Event, Genre, Thriller , comments closed

Director: Ziad Doueiri
Starring: Adel Karam, Kamel El Basha, Camille Salameh
Genre: Drama, thriller
Duration: 113 mins

In today’s Beirut, a civilian dispute blown out of proportion finds Tony, a Lebanese Christian and Yasser, a Palestinian refugee, facing off in court. As the media circus surrounding the case threatens a social explosion in divided Lebanon, Tony and Yasser reconsider their values and beliefs as revelations of trauma complicate their understanding of one another. The Insult is rooted in Lebanon’s tense ethnic and religious mix and the unhealed scars of the 15-year Civil War that ended in 1990. In a country that is a weathervane for Middle Eastern tensions, it’s a bold and timely play with fire, but also a sensitive, good-humoured probe into human weakness – especially of the male kind.

thumbnail The Nile Hilton Incident (2017 Sweden)

Crime, Drama, Event, Genre, Thriller , comments closed

Director: Tarik Saleh
Starring: Fares Fares, Mari Malek, Yasser Ali Maher
Genre: Drama, thriller
Duration: 106 mins

Egypt’s 2011 revolution provides the backdrop for Swedish director Tarik Saleh’s unforgiving political thriller, which incrementally shifts focus from the grimy back streets of Cairo to the highest levels of parliament in the course of a scandalous murder investigation. Only a writer-director intimately familiar with Egyptian culture but possessing an outsider’s perspective could convincingly portray the barely concealed menace lurking within the corridors of power. Even though Saleh was ironically forced to shift shooting to Casablanca after the production was shut down by the Egyptian state security service, the worn, begrimed locations remain remarkably evocative of Cairo’s implied putrefaction under the Mubarak regime.

thumbnail 11 minutes (2105 Poland)

Drama, Event, Genre, Thriller , comments closed

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Starring: Richard Dormer, Paulina Chapko, Wojciech Mecwaldowski
Genre: Drama, thriller
Duration: 81 mins

A new thriller, directed by Polish New Wave master Jerzy Skolimowski, masterfully disorients viewers with a series of seemingly unrelated vignettes that ultimately meet up but not in the way you might expect, based on everything-is-connected dramas like “Babel” and “Crash”.
“11 Minutes” is the work of an older filmmaker, but it’s not an old man’s film. He’s angry and alienated by technology, but his film is playful in the same way that the best thrillers by Hitchcock students John Carpenter, Brian De Palma and Dario Argento perversely mess with your expectations. You have to submit to the filmmakers’ cantankerous whims and be willing to be led around by the nose to get the most out of “11 Minutes.”

thumbnail The Handmaiden (2016 South Korea)

Event, Genre, Thriller , comments closed

Director: Park Chan-Wook
Starring: Min-hee Kim, Jung-woo Ha, Jin-woong Jo
Genre: Erotic thriller
Duration: 144 mins
Rated R

Korean director Park Chan-Wook’s adaptation of Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, relocates the story from Victorian Britain to 1930s Korea. Sookee is hired as a handmaiden to the repressed and isolated Japanese heiress Hideko, who lives with her domineering uncle. Though servile and charming on the surface, Sookee has been planted in the household by a swindler posing as a Japanese Count. His plan is to seduce and elope with Hideko and take possession of her considerable fortune. Sookee’s task is to get her new mistress to fall for the Count, but she finds herself sexually drawn to her instead. The film simmers with genuine sexual tension but more importantly, there’s longing, affection and intimacy between the maid and her sexually inexperienced heiress.