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--------- > [{"id":"5dc95a758761df84fea7ec00","tags":[],"author":[],"presenter":[],"tv":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"The Report","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5dc959148761df967aa7ebe9","altText":"The Report","image":{"name":"the-report-1.jpg","fileName":"the-report-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":804253,"path":"one/media/5dc9/5914/8761/df96/7aa7/ebe9"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"[Scott Z. Burns](https://www.empireonline.com/people/scott-z-burns/){:target=_blank}’ film initially announces itself as *The Torture Report* until the word “Torture” gets blocked out or — in CIA parlance — redacted. The more prosaic, less emotive title suits Burns’ film down to the ground. As a director, Burns, a writer for [Steven Soderbergh](https://www.empireonline.com/people/steven-soderbergh/){:target=_blank} on *The Informer*, *[Contagion](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/contagion-review/){:target=_blank}* and *[The Laundromat](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/the-laundromat/){:target=_blank}*, has little interest in the handheld shenanigans and directorial razzle-dazzle of his collaborator. Instead, *The Report* is a sober but enthralling slice of recent US history, dense rather than dramatic, never easy but always engrossing, driven by a top-drawer [Adam Driver](https://www.empireonline.com/people/adam-driver/){:target=_blank}. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5dc95921dd6cbc6b2205e148","altText":"The Report","image":{"name":"the-report-2.jpg","fileName":"the-report-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":542682,"path":"one/media/5dc9/5921/dd6c/bc6b/2205/e148"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"The first half follows Senate staffer Daniel Jones (Driver) making a classified investigation into the use of torture on suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists in the aftermath of 9/11. It’s no mean task. Operating without political affiliation and answering only to the Senate Intelligence Committee — chiefly [Annette Bening](https://www.empireonline.com/people/annette-bening/){:target=_blank}’s Senator Dianne Feinstein — Jones and his small team work in a sterile, windowless white room combing through 6.3 million pages of documents to find the truth. As Burns investigates the 119 Middle Eastern detainees, the film flashes back (in jaundiced imagery) to reveal the enhanced interrogation techniques: prisoners hidden away at black sites in dungeons, getting slammed against walls, being deprived of sleep, “short-shackled” to the floor, or being water-boarded, all to the sounds of death metal. When one prisoner is water-boarded 183 times without yielding any results, Senator Feinstein asks simply: “If it works, why did they need to do it 183 times?” This is not prevention. It’s revenge.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"A challenging watch driven by intelligent writing that corrals mountains of information into compelling drama.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"If it sounds like a movie where Adam Driver Googles stuff (it isn’t), it’s much more than that. In the second half it ratchets up even further as Jones battles to get his 7,000-page investigation made public, caught in the crossfire between the White House and Congress as he is forced into the position of scapegoat. Like *[All The President’s Men](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/president-men-review/){:target=_blank}* or *[Margin Call](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/margin-call-review/){:target=_blank}*, it’s (mostly) a mentalkingquickly film, a deep dive into a complex milieu with little in the way of life buoys to help you stay afloat. It’s a challenging watch — Burns cheekily references *[Zero Dark Thirty](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/zero-dark-thirty-review/){:target=_blank}* as if to ratify the seriousness and authority of his own movie — driven by intelligent writing that corrals mountains of information into compelling drama.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDNGDCWajbI"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Info-heavy dialogue needs great delivery and *The Report* also benefits hugely from Adam Driver. Jones is essentially a boy scout, a potential stock dogged-whistleblower type driven to do the right thing, and Burns gives us little insight into his life outside his little white room. Yet Driver’s wiry intensity makes him live a little more. As he seeks to expose both a morally wrong policy and the attempts to cover it up, his obsession becomes our obsession. And his anger becomes our anger too.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"The Report","subtitle":"","content":["[Scott Z. Burns](https://www.empireonline.com/people/scott-z-burns/){:target=_blank}’ film initially announces itself as *The Torture Report* until the word “Torture” gets blocked out or — in CIA parlance — redacted. The more prosaic, less emotive title suits Burns’ film down to the ground. As a director, Burns, a writer for [Steven Soderbergh](https://www.empireonline.com/people/steven-soderbergh/){:target=_blank} on *The Informer*, *[Contagion](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/contagion-review/){:target=_blank}* and *[The Laundromat](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/the-laundromat/){:target=_blank}*, has little interest in the handheld shenanigans and directorial razzle-dazzle of his collaborator. Instead, *The Report* is a sober but enthralling slice of recent US history, dense rather than dramatic, never easy but always engrossing, driven by a top-drawer [Adam Driver](https://www.empireonline.com/people/adam-driver/){:target=_blank}. ","The first half follows Senate staffer Daniel Jones (Driver) making a classified investigation into the use of torture on suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists in the aftermath of 9/11. It’s no mean task. Operating without political affiliation and answering only to the Senate Intelligence Committee — chiefly [Annette Bening](https://www.empireonline.com/people/annette-bening/){:target=_blank}’s Senator Dianne Feinstein — Jones and his small team work in a sterile, windowless white room combing through 6.3 million pages of documents to find the truth. As Burns investigates the 119 Middle Eastern detainees, the film flashes back (in jaundiced imagery) to reveal the enhanced interrogation techniques: prisoners hidden away at black sites in dungeons, getting slammed against walls, being deprived of sleep, “short-shackled” to the floor, or being water-boarded, all to the sounds of death metal. When one prisoner is water-boarded 183 times without yielding any results, Senator Feinstein asks simply: “If it works, why did they need to do it 183 times?” This is not prevention. It’s revenge.","If it sounds like a movie where Adam Driver Googles stuff (it isn’t), it’s much more than that. In the second half it ratchets up even further as Jones battles to get his 7,000-page investigation made public, caught in the crossfire between the White House and Congress as he is forced into the position of scapegoat. Like *[All The President’s Men](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/president-men-review/){:target=_blank}* or *[Margin Call](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/margin-call-review/){:target=_blank}*, it’s (mostly) a mentalkingquickly film, a deep dive into a complex milieu with little in the way of life buoys to help you stay afloat. It’s a challenging watch — Burns cheekily references *[Zero Dark Thirty](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/zero-dark-thirty-review/){:target=_blank}* as if to ratify the seriousness and authority of his own movie — driven by intelligent writing that corrals mountains of information into compelling drama.","Info-heavy dialogue needs great delivery and *The Report* also benefits hugely from Adam Driver. Jones is essentially a boy scout, a potential stock dogged-whistleblower type driven to do the right thing, and Burns gives us little insight into his life outside his little white room. Yet Driver’s wiry intensity makes him live a little more. As he seeks to expose both a morally wrong policy and the attempts to cover it up, his obsession becomes our obsession. And his anger becomes our anger too."],"pullQuotes":["A challenging watch driven by intelligent writing that corrals mountains of information into compelling drama."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDNGDCWajbI"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1572344438,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Ian Freer","publicationDate":1573476981146,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"4","verdict":"An urgent rebuke to a country losing its conscience, The Report is rigorous but riveting. And Adam Driver — once again — emerges as one of the most watchable actors working today.","nutshell":"Washington 2009. Idealistic Senate staffer Daniel Jones (Adam Driver) is tasked to lead an investigation into the ‘enhanced interrogation’ tactics of the CIA in the aftermath of 9/11. Jones’ research job becomes an obsession, one which intensifies when he faces an uphill battle to get his incendiary findings published. ","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Adam Driver investigates America's 'advanced interrogation' techniques after 9/11 in Scott Z Burns' film. 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Burns’ film initially announces itself as The Torture Report until...","composed":{"game":[],"presenter":[],"heroImage":["5dc959148761df967aa7ebe9"],"fashionDesigner":[],"author":[],"tv":[],"tags":[],"images":["5dc95921dd6cbc6b2205e148"],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"fashionSeason":[],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","film":["5dc9590cf2919f52193c7cbf"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"people":["5d111275a91b155aa798d885","5d1113dea91b155aa799a2fb","59e4c917f9648a12d2ed76b4","5d11127ba91b155aa798decb","5d111312a91b155aa7994e93"]}},{"id":"5dc9570ddd6cbc173705e12a","tags":[],"presenter":[],"tv":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"Le Mans '66","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5dc9543b8761df17e8a7eb8b","altText":"Le Mans 66","image":{"name":"le-mans-66.jpg","fileName":"le-mans-66.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":702741,"path":"one/media/5dc9/543b/8761/df17/e8a7/eb8b"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"*[Le Mans ’66](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/le-mans-66/){:target=_blank}* may look like a film about slick motors and the handsome dudes who drive them. And it is that. But it’s also, in a roundabout way, a film about filmmaking. [James Mangold](https://www.empireonline.com/people/james-mangold/){:target=_blank}, the veteran director who has had his fair share of tangles with studio overseers — he has referred to the messy, interfered-with final act of *[The Wolverine](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/wolverine-review/){:target=_blank}* as “a capitulation” — is here dealing with a dynamic with which he’s all too familiar. Hero mechanics Ken Miles ([Bale](https://www.empireonline.com/people/christian-bale/){:target=_blank}) and Carroll Shelby ([Damon](https://www.empireonline.com/people/matt-damon/){:target=_blank}) are the creatives, pouring their hearts and souls into an expensive endeavour that might well crash and burn (much like, say, a superhero movie about a knife-knuckled mutant). The unctuous, well-dressed executives of the Ford Motor Company, looking on with pursed lips and urging the taking of the safest route, are obvious stand-ins for studio execs. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5dc955c58761df6bc8a7eba0","altText":"Le Mans 66","image":{"name":"le-mans-66-2.jpg","fileName":"le-mans-66-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":739137,"path":"one/media/5dc9/55c5/8761/df6b/c8a7/eba0"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"As for Henry Ford II, played to scene-stealing effect by [Letts](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tracy-letts/){:target=_blank}, well, he’s only a cigar and a copy of *Variety* away from a Hollywood mogul, taking a gamble and hoping to trounce his rival across town. The parallels even sometimes leach into the dialogue — “James Bond does not drive a Ford, sir,” offers one minion during a board meeting; “That’s because he’s a degenerate!” Ford roars back.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"While the film is long, it rips along at extreme velocity thanks to a panoply of colourful, entertaining characters.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"This is, then, despite appearances, a most personal project. Which may explain why it works so damn well. While the film is long, it rips along at extreme velocity — and not just when it’s on the racetrack — thanks to a panoply of colourful, entertaining characters. The two at the centre of the action are a study in contrasts. Bale’s Miles (a name that might be considered on-the-nose were this tale not based on real life) is the maverick, a mouthy grease-monkey who throws wrenches, wears oil-stained white T-shirts, permanently grips a sloshing mug of tea and occasionally yells, “Pillock!” (“He’s difficult but good,” remarks an onlooker, helpfully, after one of his outbursts.) Damon’s Shelby is the charmer, a slick playboy in black threads and a cowboy hat who throws zero wrenches, but cares every bit as much about the results of the big race. The latter is less well-defined — Shelby appears to have no family or personal life, though he does have a stuffed armadillo in his office — but together the two stars are massively watchable, bickering and bantering as their friendship slowly forms, and obsessing over how to make a $9 million car move at rocket-speed without exploding into flames.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Mangold confidently and crisply builds the high stakes around them. Like the Emperor in *Star Wars*, Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone) is a shadowy presence, looking on from the fringes of the film and pumping money into the Ferrari squad with cool arrogance (a sequence where a corporate merger is attempted at Ferrari HQ is drily hilarious). The Ford team, unlikely underdogs given the equally extreme wealth on display, are supervised by one bureaucrat who’s slick and Don Draper-esque ([Jon Bernthal](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jon-bernthal/){:target=_blank}), and another who’s an oily dick ([Josh Lucas](https://www.empireonline.com/people/josh-lucas/){:target=_blank}, smarmy and terrific). A mid-1960s corporate rivalry may not seem like the stuff of fist-pumping, crowd-pleasing cinema, yet the battle is sketched with such élan, all high-gloss surfaces, scotch-swilling intrigue and rat-a-tat dialogue, that it’s impossible not to be drawn in.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0SMhB7wukg"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"And then there’s the driving. The entire final act is devoted to Le Mans, a race that is not easy to depict on film, given it lasts 24 hours and involves endless laps. But by the time Mangold gets there, he’s done such a cracking job of establishing the slim odds of this automotive David beating Ferrari’s swarm of curvy, raspberry-red Goliaths that it’s gripping from the first burst of throttle, and remains so even when Miles stops for a mug of PG Tips. *Le Mans ’66* doesn’t do anything particularly revolutionary: it hews to a classic sports-movie structure that’s been tried and tested in everything from *[Rocky](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/rocky-review/){:target=_blank}* to *Hoosiers*, while the single major female character, Miles’ wife Mollie ([Caitriona Balfe](https://www.empireonline.com/people/caitriona-balfe/){:target=_blank}), doesn’t get much to do except occasionally gripe about his workload. But what the film does it does extraordinarily well. Like his two protagonists on screen, Mangold knows how to go under the hood of a vehicle with a spanner — and he’s made this one fly.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Le Mans '66","subtitle":"","content":["*[Le Mans ’66](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/le-mans-66/){:target=_blank}* may look like a film about slick motors and the handsome dudes who drive them. And it is that. But it’s also, in a roundabout way, a film about filmmaking. [James Mangold](https://www.empireonline.com/people/james-mangold/){:target=_blank}, the veteran director who has had his fair share of tangles with studio overseers — he has referred to the messy, interfered-with final act of *[The Wolverine](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/wolverine-review/){:target=_blank}* as “a capitulation” — is here dealing with a dynamic with which he’s all too familiar. Hero mechanics Ken Miles ([Bale](https://www.empireonline.com/people/christian-bale/){:target=_blank}) and Carroll Shelby ([Damon](https://www.empireonline.com/people/matt-damon/){:target=_blank}) are the creatives, pouring their hearts and souls into an expensive endeavour that might well crash and burn (much like, say, a superhero movie about a knife-knuckled mutant). The unctuous, well-dressed executives of the Ford Motor Company, looking on with pursed lips and urging the taking of the safest route, are obvious stand-ins for studio execs. ","As for Henry Ford II, played to scene-stealing effect by [Letts](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tracy-letts/){:target=_blank}, well, he’s only a cigar and a copy of *Variety* away from a Hollywood mogul, taking a gamble and hoping to trounce his rival across town. The parallels even sometimes leach into the dialogue — “James Bond does not drive a Ford, sir,” offers one minion during a board meeting; “That’s because he’s a degenerate!” Ford roars back.","This is, then, despite appearances, a most personal project. Which may explain why it works so damn well. While the film is long, it rips along at extreme velocity — and not just when it’s on the racetrack — thanks to a panoply of colourful, entertaining characters. The two at the centre of the action are a study in contrasts. Bale’s Miles (a name that might be considered on-the-nose were this tale not based on real life) is the maverick, a mouthy grease-monkey who throws wrenches, wears oil-stained white T-shirts, permanently grips a sloshing mug of tea and occasionally yells, “Pillock!” (“He’s difficult but good,” remarks an onlooker, helpfully, after one of his outbursts.) Damon’s Shelby is the charmer, a slick playboy in black threads and a cowboy hat who throws zero wrenches, but cares every bit as much about the results of the big race. The latter is less well-defined — Shelby appears to have no family or personal life, though he does have a stuffed armadillo in his office — but together the two stars are massively watchable, bickering and bantering as their friendship slowly forms, and obsessing over how to make a $9 million car move at rocket-speed without exploding into flames.","Mangold confidently and crisply builds the high stakes around them. Like the Emperor in *Star Wars*, Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone) is a shadowy presence, looking on from the fringes of the film and pumping money into the Ferrari squad with cool arrogance (a sequence where a corporate merger is attempted at Ferrari HQ is drily hilarious). The Ford team, unlikely underdogs given the equally extreme wealth on display, are supervised by one bureaucrat who’s slick and Don Draper-esque ([Jon Bernthal](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jon-bernthal/){:target=_blank}), and another who’s an oily dick ([Josh Lucas](https://www.empireonline.com/people/josh-lucas/){:target=_blank}, smarmy and terrific). A mid-1960s corporate rivalry may not seem like the stuff of fist-pumping, crowd-pleasing cinema, yet the battle is sketched with such élan, all high-gloss surfaces, scotch-swilling intrigue and rat-a-tat dialogue, that it’s impossible not to be drawn in.","And then there’s the driving. The entire final act is devoted to Le Mans, a race that is not easy to depict on film, given it lasts 24 hours and involves endless laps. But by the time Mangold gets there, he’s done such a cracking job of establishing the slim odds of this automotive David beating Ferrari’s swarm of curvy, raspberry-red Goliaths that it’s gripping from the first burst of throttle, and remains so even when Miles stops for a mug of PG Tips. *Le Mans ’66* doesn’t do anything particularly revolutionary: it hews to a classic sports-movie structure that’s been tried and tested in everything from *[Rocky](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/rocky-review/){:target=_blank}* to *Hoosiers*, while the single major female character, Miles’ wife Mollie ([Caitriona Balfe](https://www.empireonline.com/people/caitriona-balfe/){:target=_blank}), doesn’t get much to do except occasionally gripe about his workload. But what the film does it does extraordinarily well. Like his two protagonists on screen, Mangold knows how to go under the hood of a vehicle with a spanner — and he’s made this one fly."],"pullQuotes":["While the film is long, it rips along at extreme velocity thanks to a panoply of colourful, entertaining characters."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0SMhB7wukg"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1573476281,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"","publicationDate":1573476109480,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"4","verdict":"Even if you’re not a motorhead, chances are you’ll be thrilled by this high-velocity bromance, powered by zesty acting and Mangold’s meticulous direction.","nutshell":"In the mid-’60s, Ferrari is dominating the racing world, effortlessly winning prize after prize. 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Monsters","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5dc95065dd6cbcec4605e0b2","altText":"Little Monsters","image":{"name":"little-monsters-1.jpg","fileName":"little-monsters-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":615510,"path":"one/media/5dc9/5065/dd6c/bcec/4605/e0b2"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"*Little Monsters* is an object lesson in how to pull off edgy comedy. Throughout this surprisingly excellent Australian zombie flick, writer-director Abe Forsythe flirts with bad taste and beyond. One joke, involving onanism and a photograph, is at once of the can’t believe they went there *and* has to be seen to be believed schools. Yet there’s a sweetness here that tempers the outrageousness. At heart, *Little Monsters* has a lot of heart.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5dc9506e8761df11fda7eb10","altText":"Little Monsters","image":{"name":"little-monsters-2.jpg","fileName":"little-monsters-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":911494,"path":"one/media/5dc9/506e/8761/df11/fda7/eb10"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"It also gets a pass on account of being very, very funny. Don’t be fooled by the presence of more zombies than you can shake a [George A. Romero](https://www.empireonline.com/people/george-romero/){:target=_blank} box set at. A comedy-horror this may be, but — a couple of mildly tense escapes aside — the emphasis here is firmly on the former. Perhaps that’s a natural by-product of focusing the action around a group of loveable, and not killable, kids. In doing so, Forsythe almost has no choice but to ease off on the scares, with his classically slow zombies (the fast-moving breed would make this a very short film) figures of fun rather than fright.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Nyong'o imbues a relatively thin role 
with plenty of charm.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"And it allows him to focus on his ragtag group of characters. [Nyong’o](https://www.empireonline.com/people/lupita-nyongo/){:target=_blank}, a world away from her last outing in *[Us](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/features/15-spoiler-facts-jordan-peele-us/){:target=_blank}*, is Miss Caroline, the good-natured schoolteacher who absolutely, positively will not let anything threaten her young charges. Despite the star billing, though, this isn’t her film. She doesn’t show up until roughly a third of the way in, and when she does, it’s as nothing more than an object of desire for Alexander England’s bedraggled if charming loser, Dave. It’s to Nyong’o’s credit that she seizes this relatively thin role and imbues it 
with plenty of charm and even a hint of depth. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Instead, the focus here is on Dave, a shambling, shuffling manchild who, in a microcosm of the film’s wrestling match with the boundaries of taste, is fighting a losing battle with his worst impulses. A deeply un-self-aware musician who thinks it acceptable to take his young nephew along to confront his ex-girlfriend, or play a death metal ditty to a bus of schoolkids, it’s a bold choice of lead for a movie like this. Thankfully, England — who you may remember being offed by a xenomorph in *[Alien: Covenant](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/alien-covenant-review/){:target=_blank}* — has a nice line in sleazy charm, particularly as Dave, inspired by Miss Caroline (and not just his desire to get into her pants) and his young nephew, tries to become a better man.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d1KP-OhBP4"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"There are missteps. While [Josh Gad](https://www.empireonline.com/people/josh-gad/){:target=_blank} gets a fair amount of laughs gadding about as foul-mouthed, drunken kids’ entertainer Teddy McGiggle, it’s a one-note character, and nothing we haven’t seen before. And the almost complete lack of stakes means that when the gags don’t land, there’s a fair amount of dead air. By and large, though, it’s an unexpected gem.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Little Monsters","subtitle":"","content":["*Little Monsters* is an object lesson in how to pull off edgy comedy. Throughout this surprisingly excellent Australian zombie flick, writer-director Abe Forsythe flirts with bad taste and beyond. One joke, involving onanism and a photograph, is at once of the can’t believe they went there *and* has to be seen to be believed schools. Yet there’s a sweetness here that tempers the outrageousness. At heart, *Little Monsters* has a lot of heart.","It also gets a pass on account of being very, very funny. Don’t be fooled by the presence of more zombies than you can shake a [George A. Romero](https://www.empireonline.com/people/george-romero/){:target=_blank} box set at. A comedy-horror this may be, but — a couple of mildly tense escapes aside — the emphasis here is firmly on the former. Perhaps that’s a natural by-product of focusing the action around a group of loveable, and not killable, kids. In doing so, Forsythe almost has no choice but to ease off on the scares, with his classically slow zombies (the fast-moving breed would make this a very short film) figures of fun rather than fright.","And it allows him to focus on his ragtag group of characters. [Nyong’o](https://www.empireonline.com/people/lupita-nyongo/){:target=_blank}, a world away from her last outing in *[Us](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/features/15-spoiler-facts-jordan-peele-us/){:target=_blank}*, is Miss Caroline, the good-natured schoolteacher who absolutely, positively will not let anything threaten her young charges. Despite the star billing, though, this isn’t her film. She doesn’t show up until roughly a third of the way in, and when she does, it’s as nothing more than an object of desire for Alexander England’s bedraggled if charming loser, Dave. It’s to Nyong’o’s credit that she seizes this relatively thin role and imbues it 
with plenty of charm and even a hint of depth. ","Instead, the focus here is on Dave, a shambling, shuffling manchild who, in a microcosm of the film’s wrestling match with the boundaries of taste, is fighting a losing battle with his worst impulses. A deeply un-self-aware musician who thinks it acceptable to take his young nephew along to confront his ex-girlfriend, or play a death metal ditty to a bus of schoolkids, it’s a bold choice of lead for a movie like this. Thankfully, England — who you may remember being offed by a xenomorph in *[Alien: Covenant](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/alien-covenant-review/){:target=_blank}* — has a nice line in sleazy charm, particularly as Dave, inspired by Miss Caroline (and not just his desire to get into her pants) and his young nephew, tries to become a better man.","There are missteps. While [Josh Gad](https://www.empireonline.com/people/josh-gad/){:target=_blank} gets a fair amount of laughs gadding about as foul-mouthed, drunken kids’ entertainer Teddy McGiggle, it’s a one-note character, and nothing we haven’t seen before. And the almost complete lack of stakes means that when the gags don’t land, there’s a fair amount of dead air. By and large, though, it’s an unexpected gem."],"pullQuotes":["Nyong'o imbues a relatively thin role 
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Then the first gut punch of many: Charlie, a playwright and actor-wife Nicole are in therapy, working out how to split with kindness by returning to the roots of their romance.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5dc94cb7dd6cbc3e1d05e034","altText":"Marriage Story","image":{"name":"marriage-story-2.jpg","fileName":"marriage-story-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":741052,"path":"one/media/5dc9/4cb7/dd6c/bc3e/1d05/e034"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"The tenth feature from writer-director [Noah Baumbach](https://www.empireonline.com/people/noah-baumbach/){:target=_blank} is, he’s admitted, his most personal, inspired at least in part by his divorce from [Jennifer Jason Leigh](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jennifer-jason-leigh/){:target=_blank} in 2010. With such a history, you’d be forgiven for fearing a biased telling of love gone wrong. But in Baumbach’s hands, this unflinchingly granular story of exactly what happens when a marriage ends manages to treat both its parties with fairness and empathy. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"For as much as it is a story of divorce, it’s about two people who have lost the ability (and often the will) to communicate. Instead, as they negotiate a bi-coastal custody situation — Nicole wants to live in Los Angeles, Charlie in New York — they pay lawyers to take their voices and speak for them. The professionals expertly carve out and remove why they loved each other in the first place, risking their humanity in the process. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Resists the darkness of the subject through a light, zippy script that delivers more zingers than many out-and-out comedies.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"The most devastating articulation of this is a two-hander that takes place in Charlie’s sparse new LA apartment — shot over two days with just one camera — which is written, blocked and performed like a play. They snipe, they scream, they sob on their knees, the camera moving closer, tighter on their faces as the sparring spirals. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Driver and Johansson give performances as precise and powerful as any two you’ll see on screen this year (Driver delivers a version of Stephen Sondheim’s Being Alive that will be remembered as one of 2019’s great film moments). And truly unexpected delights lay in the supporting cast — with particular mention for a now typically on-fire [Laura Dern](https://www.empireonline.com/people/laura-dern/){:target=_blank} and beautifully-deranged [Ray Liotta](https://www.empireonline.com/people/ray-liotta/){:target=_blank} as opposing lawyers.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVkAFIp8iVM"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"The biggest surprise, however, is the film’s thick seam of humour. This is a movie that resists the darkness of the subject through a light, zippy script that delivers more zingers than many of the out-and-out comedies put out this year. The influence of screwball comedies *To Be Or Not to Be* and *[Twentieth Century](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/twentieth-century-review/){:target=_blank}* — that Baumbach looked to for inspiration — are fully felt. The laughter lending a wonderful levity to the sadness that sticks.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Marriage Story","subtitle":"","content":["“What I love about Nicole,” begins the voice of [Adam Driver](https://www.empireonline.com/people/adam-driver/){:target=_blank}’s Charlie in *Marriage Story*’s opening seven-minute montage. “She’s a great dancer, infectious. She’s a mother who plays, really plays, she gives great presents.” “What I love about Charlie,” picks up Nicole ([Johansson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/scarlett-johansson/){:target=_blank}), “He cries easily in movies, he’s very competitive, he’s very clear about what he wants.”","Only the lightly sombre notes of Randy Newman’s chamber orchestra score — which beautifully, delicately sketches the tone of the entire film — suggests that all may not be as well as their words would suggest. Then the first gut punch of many: Charlie, a playwright and actor-wife Nicole are in therapy, working out how to split with kindness by returning to the roots of their romance.","The tenth feature from writer-director [Noah Baumbach](https://www.empireonline.com/people/noah-baumbach/){:target=_blank} is, he’s admitted, his most personal, inspired at least in part by his divorce from [Jennifer Jason Leigh](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jennifer-jason-leigh/){:target=_blank} in 2010. With such a history, you’d be forgiven for fearing a biased telling of love gone wrong. But in Baumbach’s hands, this unflinchingly granular story of exactly what happens when a marriage ends manages to treat both its parties with fairness and empathy. ","For as much as it is a story of divorce, it’s about two people who have lost the ability (and often the will) to communicate. Instead, as they negotiate a bi-coastal custody situation — Nicole wants to live in Los Angeles, Charlie in New York — they pay lawyers to take their voices and speak for them. The professionals expertly carve out and remove why they loved each other in the first place, risking their humanity in the process. ","The most devastating articulation of this is a two-hander that takes place in Charlie’s sparse new LA apartment — shot over two days with just one camera — which is written, blocked and performed like a play. They snipe, they scream, they sob on their knees, the camera moving closer, tighter on their faces as the sparring spirals. ","Driver and Johansson give performances as precise and powerful as any two you’ll see on screen this year (Driver delivers a version of Stephen Sondheim’s Being Alive that will be remembered as one of 2019’s great film moments). And truly unexpected delights lay in the supporting cast — with particular mention for a now typically on-fire [Laura Dern](https://www.empireonline.com/people/laura-dern/){:target=_blank} and beautifully-deranged [Ray Liotta](https://www.empireonline.com/people/ray-liotta/){:target=_blank} as opposing lawyers.","The biggest surprise, however, is the film’s thick seam of humour. This is a movie that resists the darkness of the subject through a light, zippy script that delivers more zingers than many of the out-and-out comedies put out this year. The influence of screwball comedies *To Be Or Not to Be* and *[Twentieth Century](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/twentieth-century-review/){:target=_blank}* — that Baumbach looked to for inspiration — are fully felt. The laughter lending a wonderful levity to the sadness that sticks."],"pullQuotes":["Resists the darkness of the subject through a light, zippy script that delivers more zingers than many out-and-out comedies."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVkAFIp8iVM"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1573474927,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Terri White","publicationDate":1573473734848,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"5","verdict":"Marriage Story manages to be one of this year’s best thrillers, comedies and romcoms all at once. A tender, taut gem of a film that will make you reconsider love and loss. 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in...","composed":{"game":[],"presenter":[],"heroImage":["5dc94c9edd6cbc305d05e031"],"fashionDesigner":[],"author":[],"tv":[],"tags":[],"images":["5dc94cb7dd6cbc3e1d05e034"],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"fashionSeason":[],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","film":["5da8b82a1aaca96e9082576d"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"people":["59e4c91bf9648a12d2ed794e","5d111275a91b155aa798d885","5d11126ea91b155aa798d0b8","5d1112bba91b155aa7991605","5d111291a91b155aa798f37b","5d111299a91b155aa798fa3c"]}},{"id":"5dc42f9e046fb5c0b4aae6dd","tags":[],"presenter":[],"tv":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"The Good Liar","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5dc42e6e046fb52641aae6cc","altText":"The Good Liar","image":{"name":"good-liar.jpg","fileName":"good-liar.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":657176,"path":"one/media/5dc4/2e6e/046f/b526/41aa/e6cc"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"From *[The Sting](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/sting-review/){:target=_blank}* to *[Catch Me If You Can](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/catch-can-review/){:target=_blank}* and *[Dirty Rotten Scoundrels](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/dirty-rotten-scoundrels-review/){:target=_blank}*, con artists have always made great cinema, perhaps because we love to see their smooth antiheroes set up their Swiss-watch schemes, before often coming a cropper — and getting their comeuppance — as the tables start to turn. (For a masterclass in lesser-known conmen, check out [David Mamet](https://www.empireonline.com/people/david-mamet/){:target=_blank}'s *House Of Games*, *Heist* or *The Spanish Prisoner*.) Like the swindles they depict, however, such films are tricky to pull off, because the audience will be on alert, actively looking for clues that all is not what it seems — i.e. that they are being taken for a ride.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Even if you know what's coming, there's joy in watching two flawless performances from these much-loved veterans.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"Now here's *The Good Liar*, which, in the hands of director [Bill Condon](https://www.empireonline.com/people/bill-condon/){:target=_blank} — who worked with [McKellen](https://www.empireonline.com/people/ian-mckellen/){:target=_blank} on *[Gods And Monsters](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/gods-monsters-review/){:target=_blank}* and *[Mr. Holmes](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/mr-holmes-review/){:target=_blank}* — proves deliciously ripe material for [Mirren](https://www.empireonline.com/people/helen-mirren/){:target=_blank} and McKellen, adapted from the bestselling novel by former British intelligence officer Nicholas Searle. Those familiar with the source won't be surprised by the various twists and turns of the plot, and anyone with a passing knowledge of con-artist movies may find it easy to guess where it's going, if not how it will get there. But even if you know what's coming, there's joy in watching two flawless performances from these much-loved veteran actors, relishing every nuance of their characters, and every moment of their time on screen. They're so good, in fact, that the film flags every time one or both of them are off screen, such as during the flashback sequences, with which a more daring adaptation might have dispensed.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2xDIe01fFY"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"That said, Russell Tovey is on excellent form, gamely concealing his distrust and distaste at his grandmother's new 'gentleman friend', and it's good to see *[Downton Abbey](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/downton-abbey/){:target=_blank}*’s Jim Carter in a less buttoned-down role, as Roy's cashmere-smooth partner in crime, Vincent. It may be a shaggy-dog story, with occasional lapses into melodrama, but Mirren and McKellen are on sparkling form, and when a film aimed primarily at pensioners employs both the C-word and gory injury detail, you can't accuse it of being boring.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"The Good Liar","subtitle":"","content":["From *[The Sting](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/sting-review/){:target=_blank}* to *[Catch Me If You Can](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/catch-can-review/){:target=_blank}* and *[Dirty Rotten Scoundrels](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/dirty-rotten-scoundrels-review/){:target=_blank}*, con artists have always made great cinema, perhaps because we love to see their smooth antiheroes set up their Swiss-watch schemes, before often coming a cropper — and getting their comeuppance — as the tables start to turn. (For a masterclass in lesser-known conmen, check out [David Mamet](https://www.empireonline.com/people/david-mamet/){:target=_blank}'s *House Of Games*, *Heist* or *The Spanish Prisoner*.) Like the swindles they depict, however, such films are tricky to pull off, because the audience will be on alert, actively looking for clues that all is not what it seems — i.e. that they are being taken for a ride.","Now here's *The Good Liar*, which, in the hands of director [Bill Condon](https://www.empireonline.com/people/bill-condon/){:target=_blank} — who worked with [McKellen](https://www.empireonline.com/people/ian-mckellen/){:target=_blank} on *[Gods And Monsters](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/gods-monsters-review/){:target=_blank}* and *[Mr. Holmes](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/mr-holmes-review/){:target=_blank}* — proves deliciously ripe material for [Mirren](https://www.empireonline.com/people/helen-mirren/){:target=_blank} and McKellen, adapted from the bestselling novel by former British intelligence officer Nicholas Searle. Those familiar with the source won't be surprised by the various twists and turns of the plot, and anyone with a passing knowledge of con-artist movies may find it easy to guess where it's going, if not how it will get there. But even if you know what's coming, there's joy in watching two flawless performances from these much-loved veteran actors, relishing every nuance of their characters, and every moment of their time on screen. They're so good, in fact, that the film flags every time one or both of them are off screen, such as during the flashback sequences, with which a more daring adaptation might have dispensed.","That said, Russell Tovey is on excellent form, gamely concealing his distrust and distaste at his grandmother's new 'gentleman friend', and it's good to see *[Downton Abbey](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/downton-abbey/){:target=_blank}*’s Jim Carter in a less buttoned-down role, as Roy's cashmere-smooth partner in crime, Vincent. It may be a shaggy-dog story, with occasional lapses into melodrama, but Mirren and McKellen are on sparkling form, and when a film aimed primarily at pensioners employs both the C-word and gory injury detail, you can't accuse it of being boring."],"pullQuotes":["Even if you know what's coming, there's joy in watching two flawless performances from these much-loved veterans."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2xDIe01fFY"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1572344438,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"David Hughes","publicationDate":1573138334649,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"3","verdict":"McKellen and Mirren, sharing the screen for the first time, are exquisitely matched in this slight but enjoyable yarn, which is like watching two magnificent vintage cars in a road race, without minding too much who wins.","nutshell":"When 80-year-old conman Roy Courtnay (Ian McKellen) meets well-to-do widow Betty McLeish (Helen Mirren), he plans to take her for everything she's got. 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A passion project for the German director — it’s been gestating since the ’90s — the film charts the lead up to the battle of Midway, the fight for domination between the US and Japan for the geographically crucial atoll that became a turning point in the war in the Pacific. The slice of history has been filmed before by Jack Smight in 1976 with an all-star cast (Heston! Fonda! Coburn! Mifune!), new-fangled audio process Sensurround and a great John Williams score. Yet despite better production values (if lower star wattage), Emmerich’s take doesn’t really up the ante on it, suffering from bloat and a similar lack of directorial intelligence.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5dc2d3698e9e5814b28d20a8","altText":"Midway","image":{"name":"midway-main.jpg","fileName":"midway-main.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":2540,"height":1429,"fileSize":2807858,"path":"one/media/5dc2/d369/8e9e/5814/b28d/20a8"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"As you’d expect, Emmerich begins his film with a bang, with his own version of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Although it’s 18 years on from *[Pearl Harbor](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/pearl-harbor-review/){:target=_blank}*, Emmerich’s take doesn’t particularly raise the bar, lacking the scale and sweep of Michael Bay’s recreation. Surprisingly, some of the effects feel less convincing than those in the 2001 version.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"The final battle is a melange of repetitive dive bombing, dogfights and submarine shenanigans that feels overlong.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"Out of the carnage, Wes Tooke’s screenplay weaves together different real-life characters: intelligence officer Edwin Layton ([Patrick Wilson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/patrick-wilson/){:target=_blank}, whose reserve makes him by far the most interesting character), who failed to persuade the powers-that- be that Pearl Harbor was imminent, is charged by [Woody Harrelson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/woody-harrelson/){:target=_blank}’s Admiral Nimitz to pre-empt the Japanese’s next gambit; [Ed Skrein](https://www.empireonline.com/people/ed-skrein/){:target=_blank}’s flyboy Lieutenant Richard ‘Dick’ Best leads the pilots into numerous battles, butting heads with Lieutenant Commander Wade McClusky ([Luke Evans](https://www.empireonline.com/people/luke-evans/){:target=_blank}) and Vice Admiral ‘Bull’ Halsey ([Dennis Quaid](https://www.empireonline.com/people/dennis-quaid/){:target=_blank}), whose only discernible character trait is shingles; and [Aaron Eckhart](https://www.empireonline.com/people/aaron-eckhart/){:target=_blank}’s Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, who leads a retaliatory raid on Tokyo (it formed the 'upbeat' ending of *Pearl Harbor*) before bailing out over China. Each of these strands is broadly sketched, proffering one-dimensional characters spouting blunt, cartoon-y dialogue (“That’s the bravest goddamned thing I’ve ever seen”) without anything approaching nuance. The Doolittle story in particular gets short-shrift: it’s over before it has begun.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Emmerich acknowledges the Japanese side of the story, embodied by Tadanobu Asano’s Rear Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi, in much the same way *Pearl Harbor* did, the general tenor being honourable and inscrutable without any traits or subtleties. The film also pays faint lip-service to the women at home, represented by gutsy [Mandy Moore](https://www.empireonline.com/people/mandy-moore/){:target=_blank} and Rachael Perrell Fosket. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9laReRAYFk"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"The last third of the film is dedicated to the final battle. In a nice film buff-y touch, Emmerich shows John Ford (Geoffrey Blake) in documentarian mode shooting the air action from the ground, but for the most part it’s a melange of repetitive dive bombing, dogfights and submarine shenanigans that feels overlong because you are not invested in the people. If it’s not quite the tub-thumping triumphalism of *[Independence Day](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/independence-day-review/){:target=_blank}*, this is a war movie where no-one shows fear, doubt, confusion or anguish — and as such, feels a bit like a museum piece. 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Yet despite better production values (if lower star wattage), Emmerich’s take doesn’t really up the ante on it, suffering from bloat and a similar lack of directorial intelligence.","As you’d expect, Emmerich begins his film with a bang, with his own version of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Although it’s 18 years on from *[Pearl Harbor](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/pearl-harbor-review/){:target=_blank}*, Emmerich’s take doesn’t particularly raise the bar, lacking the scale and sweep of Michael Bay’s recreation. Surprisingly, some of the effects feel less convincing than those in the 2001 version.","Out of the carnage, Wes Tooke’s screenplay weaves together different real-life characters: intelligence officer Edwin Layton ([Patrick Wilson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/patrick-wilson/){:target=_blank}, whose reserve makes him by far the most interesting character), who failed to persuade the powers-that- be that Pearl Harbor was imminent, is charged by [Woody Harrelson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/woody-harrelson/){:target=_blank}’s Admiral Nimitz to pre-empt the Japanese’s next gambit; [Ed Skrein](https://www.empireonline.com/people/ed-skrein/){:target=_blank}’s flyboy Lieutenant Richard ‘Dick’ Best leads the pilots into numerous battles, butting heads with Lieutenant Commander Wade McClusky ([Luke Evans](https://www.empireonline.com/people/luke-evans/){:target=_blank}) and Vice Admiral ‘Bull’ Halsey ([Dennis Quaid](https://www.empireonline.com/people/dennis-quaid/){:target=_blank}), whose only discernible character trait is shingles; and [Aaron Eckhart](https://www.empireonline.com/people/aaron-eckhart/){:target=_blank}’s Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, who leads a retaliatory raid on Tokyo (it formed the 'upbeat' ending of *Pearl Harbor*) before bailing out over China. Each of these strands is broadly sketched, proffering one-dimensional characters spouting blunt, cartoon-y dialogue (“That’s the bravest goddamned thing I’ve ever seen”) without anything approaching nuance. The Doolittle story in particular gets short-shrift: it’s over before it has begun.","Emmerich acknowledges the Japanese side of the story, embodied by Tadanobu Asano’s Rear Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi, in much the same way *Pearl Harbor* did, the general tenor being honourable and inscrutable without any traits or subtleties. The film also pays faint lip-service to the women at home, represented by gutsy [Mandy Moore](https://www.empireonline.com/people/mandy-moore/){:target=_blank} and Rachael Perrell Fosket. ","The last third of the film is dedicated to the final battle. In a nice film buff-y touch, Emmerich shows John Ford (Geoffrey Blake) in documentarian mode shooting the air action from the ground, but for the most part it’s a melange of repetitive dive bombing, dogfights and submarine shenanigans that feels overlong because you are not invested in the people. If it’s not quite the tub-thumping triumphalism of *[Independence Day](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/independence-day-review/){:target=_blank}*, this is a war movie where no-one shows fear, doubt, confusion or anguish — and as such, feels a bit like a museum piece. 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([Clarke](https://www.empireonline.com/people/emilia-clarke/)) – or Katerina as her traditional mother from the former Yugoslavia calls her – is a mess. Not just a mess. But a hot mess. And every trope that term carries is delivered with a wallop: she has casual sex with strangers, drinks pints in pubs alone, bleaches her hair, neglects her once-fragile health, applies fat strokes of smudged black eye make-up, pulls a leopard print coat around her shoulders tightly, kills a goldfish and disappoints all of her once-patient friends over and over.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5dc20c8a8e9e580e5c8d0c65","altText":"Last Christmas","image":{"name":"last-christmas-3.jpg","fileName":"last-christmas-3.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1515,"height":800,"fileSize":307176,"path":"one/media/5dc2/0c8a/8e9e/580e/5c8d/0c65"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"It’s crystal clear that the theme is ‘Heal the Pain’, the [George Michael](https://heatworld.com/people/george-michael/) song that Kate has loved since being a kid, that becomes the almost-Dickensian mission statement of Tom ([Golding](https://www.empireonline.com/people/henry-golding/)), a charming man who after a seemingly-random encounter seems intent on making her see the hope and goodness in the world. But the more he takes Kate on adventures through a fairy-lit London, the more she tries to resist his attempts to get her to “look up” and see the everyday beauty she’s missing in her nigh-on nihilistic approach to living. A survival-mode cynicism born out of a health crisis she prefers not to discuss. But while the wound remains raw, Kate will never find peace.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Golding and Clarke are aided by a stellar supporting cast.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"The damp chemistry between Golding and Clarke takes some time to light, but eventually does so in the hands of a sweet, smart, funny script by [Emma Thompson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/emma-thompson/) (who also plays Kate’s difficult mother), [Greg Wise](https://www.empireonline.com/people/greg-wise/) and Bryony Kimmings (“Has anyone ever told you that there’s something serial killer-y about you?” Kate asks Tom during an early meeting). Both actors deliver solid, if broad, performances, with the exception of a scene which examines the soft bits hiding below Kate’s pain. It’s a much-needed moment of true, sobering substance, but it’s all too fleeting. The two are aided by a stellar supporting cast outside of Thompson, particularly [Michelle Yeoh](https://www.empireonline.com/people/michelle-yeoh/) as Kate’s boss Santa, a Christmas-obsessive who enjoys her own weird, utterly-enchanting romance.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo4m0nPDm9Y"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"While stretching the credulity and credibility of Kate’s story – both the twists and turns within her own dysfunctional family and her burgeoning romantic relationship - _Last Christmas_ still strains to be more than just a festive romcom. It takes in the painful consequences of Brexit, the reality of homelessness, the fear of the refugee community, the crippling trauma of illness and the increasingly fragile bonds of family. Some are handled more effectively than others – the homeless characters are often just two-dimensional props to a struggling plot – but the push for social relevance within what could simply be a sickly-sweet construct is admirable.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Last Christmas","subtitle":"","heroImageLandscape":[null],"heroImagePortrait":[null],"heroImageThumb":[null],"heroImageThumbLandscape":[null],"content":["From the opening minutes of _Last Christmas_, it’s clear that Kate ([Clarke](https://www.empireonline.com/people/emilia-clarke/)) – or Katerina as her traditional mother from the former Yugoslavia calls her – is a mess. Not just a mess. But a hot mess. And every trope that term carries is delivered with a wallop: she has casual sex with strangers, drinks pints in pubs alone, bleaches her hair, neglects her once-fragile health, applies fat strokes of smudged black eye make-up, pulls a leopard print coat around her shoulders tightly, kills a goldfish and disappoints all of her once-patient friends over and over.","It’s crystal clear that the theme is ‘Heal the Pain’, the [George Michael](https://heatworld.com/people/george-michael/) song that Kate has loved since being a kid, that becomes the almost-Dickensian mission statement of Tom ([Golding](https://www.empireonline.com/people/henry-golding/)), a charming man who after a seemingly-random encounter seems intent on making her see the hope and goodness in the world. But the more he takes Kate on adventures through a fairy-lit London, the more she tries to resist his attempts to get her to “look up” and see the everyday beauty she’s missing in her nigh-on nihilistic approach to living. A survival-mode cynicism born out of a health crisis she prefers not to discuss. But while the wound remains raw, Kate will never find peace.","The damp chemistry between Golding and Clarke takes some time to light, but eventually does so in the hands of a sweet, smart, funny script by [Emma Thompson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/emma-thompson/) (who also plays Kate’s difficult mother), [Greg Wise](https://www.empireonline.com/people/greg-wise/) and Bryony Kimmings (“Has anyone ever told you that there’s something serial killer-y about you?” Kate asks Tom during an early meeting). Both actors deliver solid, if broad, performances, with the exception of a scene which examines the soft bits hiding below Kate’s pain. It’s a much-needed moment of true, sobering substance, but it’s all too fleeting. The two are aided by a stellar supporting cast outside of Thompson, particularly [Michelle Yeoh](https://www.empireonline.com/people/michelle-yeoh/) as Kate’s boss Santa, a Christmas-obsessive who enjoys her own weird, utterly-enchanting romance.","While stretching the credulity and credibility of Kate’s story – both the twists and turns within her own dysfunctional family and her burgeoning romantic relationship - _Last Christmas_ still strains to be more than just a festive romcom. It takes in the painful consequences of Brexit, the reality of homelessness, the fear of the refugee community, the crippling trauma of illness and the increasingly fragile bonds of family. Some are handled more effectively than others – the homeless characters are often just two-dimensional props to a struggling plot – but the push for social relevance within what could simply be a sickly-sweet construct is admirable."],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1573027200,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Terri White","publicationDate":1573027219000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"3","verdict":"While it won’t be remembered as one of the great Christmas films, Last Christmas delivers enough moments of heart and humour to keep the festive spirit alive.","nutshell":"Kate (Emilia Clarke) is a damaged, sloppy elf, working in an all-year-round Christmas shop in London’s Covent Garden. After a chance meeting, handsome stranger and part-time cycle courier Tom (Henry Golding) seeks to help Kate find the joy in not just Christmas, but life itself, while she struggles under the weight of family estrangement and past illness. ","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding meet Chrimbo cute in Paul Feig's latest. 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So why has he chosen, for the subject of his latest documentary, a former Soviet leader?","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5dc064ad8e9e58a2ef8ce310","altText":"Meeting Gorbachev","image":{"name":"meeting-gorbachev-2.jpg","fileName":"meeting-gorbachev-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":732251,"path":"one/media/5dc0/64ad/8e9e/58a2/ef8c/e310"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"Sure, Gorbachev is probably the greatest living politician. He precipitated the end of the Cold War, coaxed Reagan towards nuclear disarmament, and changed East-West relations for the better, largely due to his policies of *perestroika* and *glasnost*. But Gorbachev has a special place in the hearts of Germans, because he brought about German reunification. Herzog comes to praise, not to bury.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"For all his obvious admiration for the great statesman, Herzog does not shy away from the toughest question.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"The structure is prosaic: Herzog sits down with his subject, illustrating their informal chats with archive footage as he discusses Gorbachev's humble beginnings and early life, his path to political power, the Chernobyl disaster, and the events leading up to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the humiliating circumstances in which Gorbachev resigned power, paving the way for the rise of Putin and the oligarchs who asset-stripped the country and destroyed any hope of Russian democracy. For all his obvious admiration for the great statesman, Herzog does not shy away from the toughest question of all: did he give up power too easily?","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcTWadiv6vI"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Despite its traditional structure, Herzog cannot dim the glint in his eye, and his keenly-developed sense of humour leads to such sequences as the triptych of funerals of Soviet leaders (Brezhnev, Andropov and Chernenko) that took place in the span of three years; and an Austrian newsreader offering gardening tips before an \"and finally...\" segment about the fall of the Iron Curtain.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Meeting Gorbachev","subtitle":"","content":["Ever since he settled on the documentary as his preferred filmmaking form, idiosyncratic German director [Werner Herzog](https://www.empireonline.com/people/werner-herzog/){:target=_blank} (who co-directs with fellow documentarist André Singer) has chosen an eclectic set of subjects for his films: a man who befriended bears (until they *unfriended* him); the earliest known cave paintings; people who work in the Antarctic; denizens of death row; volcanologists. So why has he chosen, for the subject of his latest documentary, a former Soviet leader?","Sure, Gorbachev is probably the greatest living politician. He precipitated the end of the Cold War, coaxed Reagan towards nuclear disarmament, and changed East-West relations for the better, largely due to his policies of *perestroika* and *glasnost*. But Gorbachev has a special place in the hearts of Germans, because he brought about German reunification. Herzog comes to praise, not to bury.","The structure is prosaic: Herzog sits down with his subject, illustrating their informal chats with archive footage as he discusses Gorbachev's humble beginnings and early life, his path to political power, the Chernobyl disaster, and the events leading up to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the humiliating circumstances in which Gorbachev resigned power, paving the way for the rise of Putin and the oligarchs who asset-stripped the country and destroyed any hope of Russian democracy. For all his obvious admiration for the great statesman, Herzog does not shy away from the toughest question of all: did he give up power too easily?","Despite its traditional structure, Herzog cannot dim the glint in his eye, and his keenly-developed sense of humour leads to such sequences as the triptych of funerals of Soviet leaders (Brezhnev, Andropov and Chernenko) that took place in the span of three years; and an Austrian newsreader offering gardening tips before an \"and finally...\" segment about the fall of the Iron Curtain."],"pullQuotes":["For all his obvious admiration for the great statesman, Herzog does not shy away from the toughest question."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcTWadiv6vI"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1572890426,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"David Hughes","publicationDate":1572889856828,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"4","verdict":"Herzog and Singer have assembled a riveting and moving portrait of Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet president and arguably the greatest living politician, guided by Herzog's mellifluous voice and gently probing interview style.","nutshell":"At the age of 88, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev – the man who sparked the end of the Cold War – looks back over his tumultuous life and political career, accompanied by archive footage and new interviews with contemporaries such as former Polish president Lech Wałęsa and Reagan's secretary of state George P. Shultz.","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Werner Herzog interviews Mikhail Gorbachev in a documentary. 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On one hand it wants to say something about racial prejudice and conformity to the standards of a white establishment, but on the other, it relishes in the absurd twists and heightened tone of a camp revenge thriller, and feels constantly caught between these two modes. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5dc060938e9e58bdd88ce287","altText":"Luce","image":{"name":"luce-2.jpg","fileName":"luce-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":685825,"path":"one/media/5dc0/6093/8e9e/58bd/d88c/e287"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"Divisions are quickly drawn between Luce (Harrison Jr), his peers and his teachers, none fully understanding his experience as an immigrant. The most crucial divide is between Luce and his parents Amy ([Naomi Watts](https://www.empireonline.com/people/naomi-watts/){:target=_blank}) and Peter ([Tim Roth](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tim-roth/){:target=_blank}), a barrier defined by their whiteness and their incapability to understand the difference between their social standings. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Kelvin Harrison Jr. puts in the film’s strongest performance, peeling back layers of performative friendliness.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"The script, co-written by Onah and Lee, is often darkly funny, but sometimes unintentionally, such as the moment when Amy recoils upon discovering that Luce reads Frantz Fanon (gasp!). Onah covers a wide range of fascinating, hot-button issues - everything from institutional racism and mental healthcare to sexual assault and colourism - but more often than not these topics are discussed a little too vaguely. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"As Luce, Kelvin Harrison Jr. puts in the film’s strongest performance, peeling back layers of performative friendliness to slowly reveal the anger underneath. He’s treated like a sacred cow by the school, leveraged for his story to fulfil the fantasy of people ‘pulling themselves up by the bootstraps’. The extent of Luce’s anger at his image starts out unclear, at first seems like petty disdain turns into something much deeper.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XVTwVoTDdE"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Even with extremely strong performances across the board, a lot of the dialogue feels overblown, the film becoming increasingly unhinged as it adds one twist after another, revealing the true (and frequently absurd) depths of Luce’s deception. But, as silly as it may get, there are genuine thrills to be found in these wild revelations.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Luce","subtitle":"","content":["Based on a play by JC Lee, *Luce*, [Julius Onah](https://www.empireonline.com/people/julius-onah/){:target=_blank}’s third film as director, feels like one of split focus. On one hand it wants to say something about racial prejudice and conformity to the standards of a white establishment, but on the other, it relishes in the absurd twists and heightened tone of a camp revenge thriller, and feels constantly caught between these two modes. ","Divisions are quickly drawn between Luce (Harrison Jr), his peers and his teachers, none fully understanding his experience as an immigrant. The most crucial divide is between Luce and his parents Amy ([Naomi Watts](https://www.empireonline.com/people/naomi-watts/){:target=_blank}) and Peter ([Tim Roth](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tim-roth/){:target=_blank}), a barrier defined by their whiteness and their incapability to understand the difference between their social standings. ","The script, co-written by Onah and Lee, is often darkly funny, but sometimes unintentionally, such as the moment when Amy recoils upon discovering that Luce reads Frantz Fanon (gasp!). Onah covers a wide range of fascinating, hot-button issues - everything from institutional racism and mental healthcare to sexual assault and colourism - but more often than not these topics are discussed a little too vaguely. ","As Luce, Kelvin Harrison Jr. puts in the film’s strongest performance, peeling back layers of performative friendliness to slowly reveal the anger underneath. He’s treated like a sacred cow by the school, leveraged for his story to fulfil the fantasy of people ‘pulling themselves up by the bootstraps’. The extent of Luce’s anger at his image starts out unclear, at first seems like petty disdain turns into something much deeper.","Even with extremely strong performances across the board, a lot of the dialogue feels overblown, the film becoming increasingly unhinged as it adds one twist after another, revealing the true (and frequently absurd) depths of Luce’s deception. But, as silly as it may get, there are genuine thrills to be found in these wild revelations."],"contentImageCrop":[null],"pullQuotes":["Kelvin Harrison Jr. puts in the film’s strongest performance, peeling back layers of performative friendliness."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XVTwVoTDdE"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1572890426,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Kambole Campbell","publicationDate":1572889004000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"3","verdict":"While it’s a shame that Luce loses sight of the very topics that it brings up in service of cheap thrills, it’s a fascinating, entertaining puzzle all the same.","nutshell":"Luce (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), a beloved student and star 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(2019)","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5dc177298e9e58b2418cfce8","altText":"Driven","image":{"name":"driven.jpg","fileName":"driven.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":755670,"path":"one/media/5dc1/7729/8e9e/58b2/418c/fce8"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"There’s something very familiar about *Driven*. Nick Hamm’s film of the true-life friendship between Jim Hoffman ([Sudeikis](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jason-sudeikis/){:target=_blank}), a drug smuggler-turned-FBI snitch, and John DeLorean ([Pace](https://www.empireonline.com/people/lee-pace/){:target=_blank}), visionary car designer and creator of Doc Brown’s time machine, has the feel of [Doug Liman](https://www.empireonline.com/people/doug-liman/){:target=_blank}’s *[American Made](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/american-made-review/){:target=_blank}* or [David O. Russell](https://www.empireonline.com/people/david-o-russell/){:target=_blank}’s *[American Hustle](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/american-hustle-review/){:target=_blank}*, a breezy tale of amoral characters with more period production detail than actual substance. Despite strong performances from Sudeikis and Pace, there is little that is fresh and original to give it an identity of its own. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Nick Hamm’s lively direction keeps it moving and the period production details are fun.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"The action starts with FBI bod Benedict J. Tisa ([Stoll](https://www.empireonline.com/people/corey-stoll/){:target=_blank}) coaching Hoffman (“Stay focused, calm, honest”) as the latter arrives in court to give testimony. The film subsequently flashes back to the mid ’70s, with Hoffman busted by Tisa for trafficking coke from Studio 54 and placed in an upscale Southern Californian neighbourhood as an undercover moll to ensnare a big-time drug dealer ([Michael Cudlitz](https://www.empireonline.com/people/michael-cudlitz/){:target=_blank}). Yet the real relationship Hoffman forms is with John DeLorean, who turns up at Hoffman’s house with a drawing of a wing-doored car and bags of charisma. When DeLorean’s fortunes flag, the opportunistic Hoffman begins to see a way to fulfill his obligations to the Feds.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1fAJg0ijDw"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"The bulk of the film etches this imbalanced friendship, Sudeikis turning Hoffman into a likeable loser who lands on his feet, Pace giving DeLorean both charm and a steely centre. Nick Hamm’s lively direction keeps it moving — helped by an obvious playlist of ’70s and ’80s hits — and the period production details are fun (look out for DeLorean’s see-through ping pong table). Yet as a film it lacks both cinematic width (you imagine what Scorsese might have done with this material) and dramatic depths. There is little that is exciting here. A bit more of DeLorean-esque vision might have gone a long way.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Driven (2019)","subtitle":"","content":["There’s something very familiar about *Driven*. Nick Hamm’s film of the true-life friendship between Jim Hoffman ([Sudeikis](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jason-sudeikis/){:target=_blank}), a drug smuggler-turned-FBI snitch, and John DeLorean ([Pace](https://www.empireonline.com/people/lee-pace/){:target=_blank}), visionary car designer and creator of Doc Brown’s time machine, has the feel of [Doug Liman](https://www.empireonline.com/people/doug-liman/){:target=_blank}’s *[American Made](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/american-made-review/){:target=_blank}* or [David O. Russell](https://www.empireonline.com/people/david-o-russell/){:target=_blank}’s *[American Hustle](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/american-hustle-review/){:target=_blank}*, a breezy tale of amoral characters with more period production detail than actual substance. Despite strong performances from Sudeikis and Pace, there is little that is fresh and original to give it an identity of its own. ","The action starts with FBI bod Benedict J. Tisa ([Stoll](https://www.empireonline.com/people/corey-stoll/){:target=_blank}) coaching Hoffman (“Stay focused, calm, honest”) as the latter arrives in court to give testimony. The film subsequently flashes back to the mid ’70s, with Hoffman busted by Tisa for trafficking coke from Studio 54 and placed in an upscale Southern Californian neighbourhood as an undercover moll to ensnare a big-time drug dealer ([Michael Cudlitz](https://www.empireonline.com/people/michael-cudlitz/){:target=_blank}). Yet the real relationship Hoffman forms is with John DeLorean, who turns up at Hoffman’s house with a drawing of a wing-doored car and bags of charisma. When DeLorean’s fortunes flag, the opportunistic Hoffman begins to see a way to fulfill his obligations to the Feds.","The bulk of the film etches this imbalanced friendship, Sudeikis turning Hoffman into a likeable loser who lands on his feet, Pace giving DeLorean both charm and a steely centre. Nick Hamm’s lively direction keeps it moving — helped by an obvious playlist of ’70s and ’80s hits — and the period production details are fun (look out for DeLorean’s see-through ping pong table). Yet as a film it lacks both cinematic width (you imagine what Scorsese might have done with this material) and dramatic depths. There is little that is exciting here. A bit more of DeLorean-esque vision might have gone a long way."],"pullQuotes":["Nick Hamm’s lively direction keeps it moving and the period production details are fun."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1fAJg0ijDw"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1572344438,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Ian Freer","publicationDate":1572873342000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"3","verdict":"An enjoyable if routine period crime picture with good performances from Jason Sudeikis and Lee Pace, but it lacks a personality and style of its own.","nutshell":"Southern California, 1980s. Ex-con pilot-turned-FBI-snitch Jim Hoffman (Jason Sudeikis) sparks up a friendship with visionary car designer John DeLorean (Lee Pace). The latter lures the former into a drug deal designed to revive DeLorean’s flagging fortunes but it gets complicated when FBI wonk Benedict J. Tisa (Corey Stoll) sees an opportunity to crack a drug ring.","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Lee Pace plays car designer John DeLorean in Nick Hamm's 1980s-set crime drama. 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Reuniting after Oscar-winning Stephen Hawking drama *[The Theory Of Everything](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/theory-everything-review/){:target=_blank}*, Redmayne and Jones give charm and charisma to *The Aeronauts*, playing real-life scientist James Glaisher, a kind of 19th-century Michael Fish looking to imbue weather prediction with science, and Amelia Wren, a fictionalised balloon pilot with her head in the clouds and her heart in the gutter. If it stutters in its attempts to round out its thin characters with backstory, it soars with an old-school spirit of adventure and possibility, topped off with grandstanding filmmaking from [Tom Harper](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tom-harper/){:target=_blank}. 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Harper and screenwriter [Jack Thorne](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jack-thorne/){:target=_blank} deliver moments of wonder (butterflies), serenity (inside a cloud), black humour (poor pigeon), danger (a thunderous storm) and, in its final third, a set-piece of heart-stopping intensity. The craft is impeccable, from gorgeous cinematography to seamless CG, putting you at 37,000 feet (nifty graphics show the height and timeframe) to the point where vertigo is a certainty — some stretches have the feel of *[Gravity](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/gravity-review/)* with spacesuits swapped for oilskin jackets.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"*The Aeronauts* is bolstered not only by the chemistry between Redmayne and Jones but also their skill.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"Ironically, the film is on slightly shakier ground on terra firma, when Harper and Thorne attempt to flesh out James and Amelia’s backstories (as well as the running time) via flashbacks. So we are given vignettes depicting Glashier’s run-ins with his scientific contemporaries, as well as him coping with a dad ([Tom Courtenay](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tom-courtenay/){:target=_blank}) suffering from dementia. Amelia’s past is blighted by the death of her husband ([Vincent Perez](https://www.empireonline.com/people/vincent-perez/){:target=_blank}), her struggles to transcend traditional women’s duties and the worry of her sister ([Phoebe Fox](https://www.empireonline.com/people/phoebe-fox/){:target=_blank}) as she prepares to embark on another adventure. Some sequences — James and Amelia’s sparring while dancing at a ball — shine, others feel like treading water.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rm4VnwCtQO8"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Still, along with Harper’s bravura filmmaking, *The Aeronauts* is bolstered not only by the chemistry between Redmayne and Jones but also their skill — given the close quarters of being trapped in a basket for much of the film, awe and terror is sold by their faces. Of course he represents science, she represents daredevilry, but it’s never the ‘opposites attract’ trope in the obvious romantic sense. Instead their attraction is minted by drive, ambition and infectious optimism. It’s that, as much as VFX, that keeps *The Aeronauts* in flight.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"The Aeronauts","subtitle":"","content":["It’s perhaps too early to see whether [Eddie Redmayne](https://www.empireonline.com/people/eddie-redmayne/){:target=_blank} and [Felicity Jones](https://www.empireonline.com/people/felicity-jones/){:target=_blank} will become a posher, plummier version of Tracy/Hepburn, Hanks/Ryan etc, but the signs are good. Reuniting after Oscar-winning Stephen Hawking drama *[The Theory Of Everything](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/theory-everything-review/){:target=_blank}*, Redmayne and Jones give charm and charisma to *The Aeronauts*, playing real-life scientist James Glaisher, a kind of 19th-century Michael Fish looking to imbue weather prediction with science, and Amelia Wren, a fictionalised balloon pilot with her head in the clouds and her heart in the gutter. If it stutters in its attempts to round out its thin characters with backstory, it soars with an old-school spirit of adventure and possibility, topped off with grandstanding filmmaking from [Tom Harper](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tom-harper/){:target=_blank}. ","In a vividly realised 1862 London, the film begins with James and Amelia’s lift-off, a science expedition given a shot of showbiz razzle-dazzle by Amelia who arrives on horseback, cartwheels onto the stage and deploys a pooch with a parachute to the delight of the packed throng. From here most of the film takes place in the basket and subsequently soars. Harper and screenwriter [Jack Thorne](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jack-thorne/){:target=_blank} deliver moments of wonder (butterflies), serenity (inside a cloud), black humour (poor pigeon), danger (a thunderous storm) and, in its final third, a set-piece of heart-stopping intensity. The craft is impeccable, from gorgeous cinematography to seamless CG, putting you at 37,000 feet (nifty graphics show the height and timeframe) to the point where vertigo is a certainty — some stretches have the feel of *[Gravity](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/gravity-review/)* with spacesuits swapped for oilskin jackets.","Ironically, the film is on slightly shakier ground on terra firma, when Harper and Thorne attempt to flesh out James and Amelia’s backstories (as well as the running time) via flashbacks. So we are given vignettes depicting Glashier’s run-ins with his scientific contemporaries, as well as him coping with a dad ([Tom Courtenay](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tom-courtenay/){:target=_blank}) suffering from dementia. Amelia’s past is blighted by the death of her husband ([Vincent Perez](https://www.empireonline.com/people/vincent-perez/){:target=_blank}), her struggles to transcend traditional women’s duties and the worry of her sister ([Phoebe Fox](https://www.empireonline.com/people/phoebe-fox/){:target=_blank}) as she prepares to embark on another adventure. Some sequences — James and Amelia’s sparring while dancing at a ball — shine, others feel like treading water.","Still, along with Harper’s bravura filmmaking, *The Aeronauts* is bolstered not only by the chemistry between Redmayne and Jones but also their skill — given the close quarters of being trapped in a basket for much of the film, awe and terror is sold by their faces. Of course he represents science, she represents daredevilry, but it’s never the ‘opposites attract’ trope in the obvious romantic sense. Instead their attraction is minted by drive, ambition and infectious optimism. 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As, despite the title, [Mike Flanagan](https://www.empireonline.com/people/mike-flanagan/){:target=_blank}’s movie is not a remake of the 2002 Goran Visnjic psycho-thriller, but instead a sequel to *[The Shining](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/shining-2-review/){:target=_blank}*… and _The Shining_.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"A quick explanation: [Stanley Kubrick](https://www.empireonline.com/people/stanley-kubrick/){:target=_blank} adapted [Stephen King](https://www.empireonline.com/people/stephen-king/){:target=_blank}’s novel in 1980. King didn’t like it. Kubrick didn’t much care, for his sole foray into horror was rated an instant classic. But King hated it enough to make his own, wildly inferior version for TV, and then, just a few years ago, write a novel sequel that basically acted like the Kubrick movie didn’t exist.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5db97ad0adde640a01b18370","altText":"Doctor Sleep","image":{"name":"doctor-sleep-1.jpg","fileName":"doctor-sleep-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":583721,"path":"one/media/5db9/7ad0/adde/640a/01b1/8370"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"It’s that novel that Flanagan has adapted for the big screen. But, at the same time, _Doctor Sleep_ is also a direct continuation of the Kubrick adaptation. It’s King’s floorplan, but with Kubrick’s furniture. And, after getting King and the Kubrick estate to sign off on that, perhaps Flanagan’s next trick could be sorting out Brexit.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"It’s a warmer film than Kubrick was perhaps ever capable of, and more interested in its characters.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"Venturing into Kubrick territory is perhaps symptomatic of the confidence coursing through Flanagan’s veins after the last couple of years saw him pay off, with his Netflix adaptations of _[The Haunting Of Hill House](https://www.empireonline.com/tv/reviews/haunting-hill-house-review/){:target=_blank}_ and that man King’s _[Gerald’s Game](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/gerald-game/){:target=_blank}_, the early potential of horror flicks like _[Oculus](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/oculus/){:target=_blank}_ and _[Ouija: Origin Of Evil](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/ouija-origin-evil-2/){:target=_blank}_. Yet, he’s wise enough here not to merely ape Kubrick’s funkiest moves.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"There are moments where he recreates direct shots and revisits locations from the original movie (you’ll know them when you see them), but this is not ‘The Shining Part II’. Where that film was a claustrophobic study in madness, paranoia and corruption, _Doctor Sleep_ is an expansive, sombre, multi-location, multi-character drama, a world away from its progenitor. Interestingly, despite more redrum than you could shake a kcits at, it isn’t particularly scary or unsettling. Perhaps Flanagan knew that trying to match _The Shining_ in the terror stakes was a fool’s errand. Perhaps the flaws in King’s story, which keeps its trio of central characters apart for a length of time that could either be called character-building, flabby or plain boring (depending on your point of view), make jolts harder to come by.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgoYrQLPfBU"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Instead, it’s a warmer film than Kubrick was perhaps ever capable of, and more interested in its characters. [McGregor](https://www.empireonline.com/people/ewan-mcgregor/){:target=_blank}, after Renton in *[T2 Trainspotting](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/t2-trainspotting-review/){:target=_blank}* and Christopher Robin in [the film of the same name](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/christopher-robin-review/){:target=_blank}, is cornering the market in middle-aged characters revisiting their formative years, and he’s perfectly solid as the haunted Dan Torrance, if never quite able to suggest that he’s the fruit of [Jack Nicholson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jack-nicholson/){:target=_blank}’s loony loins. Spikier, sparkier performances are given by newcomer Kyliegh Curran as the indefatigable Abra, and [Rebecca Ferguson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/rebecca-ferguson/){:target=_blank} as callous, curiously accented psychic vampire Rose The Hat. Whether she’s meditating on top of a camper van or floating through the clouds in a trippy sequence, the film never feels more alive than when Flanagan is focused on its villain. Just like Kubrick found with Jack. Maybe this is ‘The Shining Part II’, after all.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Doctor Sleep","subtitle":"","content":["Perhaps it’s apt that *[Doctor Sleep](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/doctor-sleep/){:target=_blank}* is a movie about dealing with the ghosts of the past, because it has a couple of doozies of its own to contend with. As, despite the title, [Mike Flanagan](https://www.empireonline.com/people/mike-flanagan/){:target=_blank}’s movie is not a remake of the 2002 Goran Visnjic psycho-thriller, but instead a sequel to *[The Shining](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/shining-2-review/){:target=_blank}*… and _The Shining_.","A quick explanation: [Stanley Kubrick](https://www.empireonline.com/people/stanley-kubrick/){:target=_blank} adapted [Stephen King](https://www.empireonline.com/people/stephen-king/){:target=_blank}’s novel in 1980. King didn’t like it. Kubrick didn’t much care, for his sole foray into horror was rated an instant classic. But King hated it enough to make his own, wildly inferior version for TV, and then, just a few years ago, write a novel sequel that basically acted like the Kubrick movie didn’t exist.","It’s that novel that Flanagan has adapted for the big screen. But, at the same time, _Doctor Sleep_ is also a direct continuation of the Kubrick adaptation. It’s King’s floorplan, but with Kubrick’s furniture. And, after getting King and the Kubrick estate to sign off on that, perhaps Flanagan’s next trick could be sorting out Brexit.","Venturing into Kubrick territory is perhaps symptomatic of the confidence coursing through Flanagan’s veins after the last couple of years saw him pay off, with his Netflix adaptations of _[The Haunting Of Hill House](https://www.empireonline.com/tv/reviews/haunting-hill-house-review/){:target=_blank}_ and that man King’s _[Gerald’s Game](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/gerald-game/){:target=_blank}_, the early potential of horror flicks like _[Oculus](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/oculus/){:target=_blank}_ and _[Ouija: Origin Of Evil](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/ouija-origin-evil-2/){:target=_blank}_. Yet, he’s wise enough here not to merely ape Kubrick’s funkiest moves.","There are moments where he recreates direct shots and revisits locations from the original movie (you’ll know them when you see them), but this is not ‘The Shining Part II’. Where that film was a claustrophobic study in madness, paranoia and corruption, _Doctor Sleep_ is an expansive, sombre, multi-location, multi-character drama, a world away from its progenitor. Interestingly, despite more redrum than you could shake a kcits at, it isn’t particularly scary or unsettling. Perhaps Flanagan knew that trying to match _The Shining_ in the terror stakes was a fool’s errand. Perhaps the flaws in King’s story, which keeps its trio of central characters apart for a length of time that could either be called character-building, flabby or plain boring (depending on your point of view), make jolts harder to come by.","Instead, it’s a warmer film than Kubrick was perhaps ever capable of, and more interested in its characters. [McGregor](https://www.empireonline.com/people/ewan-mcgregor/){:target=_blank}, after Renton in *[T2 Trainspotting](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/t2-trainspotting-review/){:target=_blank}* and Christopher Robin in [the film of the same name](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/christopher-robin-review/){:target=_blank}, is cornering the market in middle-aged characters revisiting their formative years, and he’s perfectly solid as the haunted Dan Torrance, if never quite able to suggest that he’s the fruit of [Jack Nicholson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jack-nicholson/){:target=_blank}’s loony loins. Spikier, sparkier performances are given by newcomer Kyliegh Curran as the indefatigable Abra, and [Rebecca Ferguson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/rebecca-ferguson/){:target=_blank} as callous, curiously accented psychic vampire Rose The Hat. Whether she’s meditating on top of a camper van or floating through the clouds in a trippy sequence, the film never feels more alive than when Flanagan is focused on its villain. Just like Kubrick found with Jack. Maybe this is ‘The Shining Part II’, after all."],"pullQuotes":["It’s a warmer film than Kubrick was perhaps ever capable of, and more interested in its characters."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgoYrQLPfBU"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1572434332,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Chris Hewitt","publicationDate":1572451200000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"3","verdict":"Working off source material that is very different from its predecessor, anyone expecting a straightforward Shining sequel will be disappointed. This isn’t a gruelling exercise in pure horror. It’s odder and more contemplative, but worth checking in. ","nutshell":"Decades after his ordeal at the Overlook Hotel, Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) is a hospital orderly who uses his psychic gifts — his ‘Shine’ — to help the dying pass on. But his idyll is interrupted when a more powerful young girl, Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran), makes contact with him — and in doing so attracts the attention of a group of psychic vampires, led by Rose The Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), who will stop at nothing to hunt Abra down…","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Mike Flanagan adapts Stephen King's bestselling novel in a long-awaited sequel to The Shining. Read the Empire review. 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We Missed You","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5db720d6adde64f9feb146ec","altText":"Sorry We Missed You","image":{"name":"sorry-we-missed-you-1.jpg","fileName":"sorry-we-missed-you-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":647827,"path":"one/media/5db7/20d6/adde/64f9/feb1/46ec"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"You just know, from the opening conversation between Ricky and his new supervisor Maloney (Brewster) in [Ken Loach](https://www.empireonline.com/people/ken-loach/){:target=_blank}’s searing social drama, that this is not going to be a happy journey to follow. Set in a soulless depot in Newcastle, the delivery company that Ricky is signing up to work for signifies the rising, damaging human costs within this specific contemporary gig economy that leaves people like Ricky without sick pay, holiday, or any sense of stability in spite of the job’s empty promises of self-made power.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5db71e48adde649238b1466e","altText":"Sorry We Missed You","image":{"name":"sorry we missed you.jpg","fileName":"sorry we missed you.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":733673,"path":"one/media/5db7/1e48/adde/6492/38b1/466e"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"“You don’t work for us, you work with us,” growls Maloney, a bald-headed wardrobe of a boss whose successful warehouse operation, it transpires, is built on a merciless stance against the tough, unpredictable circumstances that his drivers endure, which he emphasises with a self-given title of “patron saint of nasty bastards.”","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"With Ricky's status as an independent contractor comes a relentless wave of responsibility in comparison to traditional employment — drivers must provide their own vans, an ominous tracker records their movements throughout the day — but blind hope and a desperate need to provide a better future for his family push Ricky forwards, into an all-consuming routine of running between houses, accruing longer routes, and eventually urinating into a plastic bottle gifted to him in order to save more precious time.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Loach takes great care to construct a deep-rooted compassion within the family.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"In earlier scenes Ricky is boyish, never missing an opportunity to turn the mundane into something fun. On a particularly good day, he takes daughter Lisa Jane (Proctor) out in the van and they share sandwiches against a gorgeous hilly landscape (illuminated by Robbie Ryan’s staggering cinematography). Ricky met his wife Abbie (Honeywood) at a rave when they were young, and together they work with teeth-grinding determination to give more opportunities to sullen teen Seb (Stone) and his younger sister Lisa Jane. It’s Seb who inevitably breaks the camel’s back, causing Ricky to take off work without sourcing cover, an intolerable offence within his self-accountable job that sees him heavily penalised —including financially.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Loach takes great care to construct a deep-rooted compassion within the family. He peppers their struggle with moments of stolen joy — when the family sit to enjoy a takeaway curry for a rare family dinner, you feel the value of the treat. Some storytelling is patchy — Seb’s character arc as a demonised delinquent who can’t see the world beyond his smartphone feels excessive — and calls to question whether events always need to turn quite so dire for Loach to make his point.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysjwg-MnZao"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Regardless, *[Sorry We Missed You](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/sorry-missed/){:target=_blank}* is an important and timely watch. As Loach’s Palme d’Or winner *[I, Daniel Blake](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/daniel-blake-review/){:target=_blank}* bore down on the Department for Work and Pensions and a toxic culture that neglects the vulnerable, his new film arrives at a time when the gig economy is thriving without an end in sight, promising those in need choice and control when the reality is not just untrue, but life-threatening. This is a pivotal chapter for Britain, where thousands of families like those that Ricky and Abbie have created are struggling to survive, and the director is not in the mood to muddle messages.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Sorry We Missed You","subtitle":"","content":["You just know, from the opening conversation between Ricky and his new supervisor Maloney (Brewster) in [Ken Loach](https://www.empireonline.com/people/ken-loach/){:target=_blank}’s searing social drama, that this is not going to be a happy journey to follow. Set in a soulless depot in Newcastle, the delivery company that Ricky is signing up to work for signifies the rising, damaging human costs within this specific contemporary gig economy that leaves people like Ricky without sick pay, holiday, or any sense of stability in spite of the job’s empty promises of self-made power.","“You don’t work for us, you work with us,” growls Maloney, a bald-headed wardrobe of a boss whose successful warehouse operation, it transpires, is built on a merciless stance against the tough, unpredictable circumstances that his drivers endure, which he emphasises with a self-given title of “patron saint of nasty bastards.”","With Ricky's status as an independent contractor comes a relentless wave of responsibility in comparison to traditional employment — drivers must provide their own vans, an ominous tracker records their movements throughout the day — but blind hope and a desperate need to provide a better future for his family push Ricky forwards, into an all-consuming routine of running between houses, accruing longer routes, and eventually urinating into a plastic bottle gifted to him in order to save more precious time.","In earlier scenes Ricky is boyish, never missing an opportunity to turn the mundane into something fun. On a particularly good day, he takes daughter Lisa Jane (Proctor) out in the van and they share sandwiches against a gorgeous hilly landscape (illuminated by Robbie Ryan’s staggering cinematography). Ricky met his wife Abbie (Honeywood) at a rave when they were young, and together they work with teeth-grinding determination to give more opportunities to sullen teen Seb (Stone) and his younger sister Lisa Jane. It’s Seb who inevitably breaks the camel’s back, causing Ricky to take off work without sourcing cover, an intolerable offence within his self-accountable job that sees him heavily penalised —including financially.","Loach takes great care to construct a deep-rooted compassion within the family. He peppers their struggle with moments of stolen joy — when the family sit to enjoy a takeaway curry for a rare family dinner, you feel the value of the treat. Some storytelling is patchy — Seb’s character arc as a demonised delinquent who can’t see the world beyond his smartphone feels excessive — and calls to question whether events always need to turn quite so dire for Loach to make his point.","Regardless, *[Sorry We Missed You](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/sorry-missed/){:target=_blank}* is an important and timely watch. As Loach’s Palme d’Or winner *[I, Daniel Blake](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/daniel-blake-review/){:target=_blank}* bore down on the Department for Work and Pensions and a toxic culture that neglects the vulnerable, his new film arrives at a time when the gig economy is thriving without an end in sight, promising those in need choice and control when the reality is not just untrue, but life-threatening. This is a pivotal chapter for Britain, where thousands of families like those that Ricky and Abbie have created are struggling to survive, and the director is not in the mood to muddle messages."],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1572284231,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Beth Webb","publicationDate":1572282092000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"4","verdict":"Though relentless at times, this is a crucial, empathetic rally cry of a film that holds a mirror up to the swelling crisis of the gig economy with admirable intention.","nutshell":"Family man Ricky (Kris Hitchen) enters into the insecure gig economy as a delivery driver in hopes of buying a house for his wife Abbie (Debbie Honeywood) and kids Seb (Rhys Stone) and Lisa Jane (Katie Proctor). 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But writer/director Abigail Blackmore clearly wasn’t worried about bringing [Mackenzie Crook](https://www.empireonline.com/people/mackenzie-crook/){:target=_blank} and [Johnny Vegas](https://www.empireonline.com/people/johnny-vegas/){:target=_blank} back together for her kinda-portmanteau horror comedy, in which the pair join a group of life-battered Gen Xers with a penchant for telling twisted tales. The good news is, *Tales From The Lodge* isn’t as bad as *[Sex Lives Of The Potato Men](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/sex-lives-potato-men-review/){:target=_blank}*. The bad news is, it’s not that good. 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The stories intrude upon the main narrative, their badly timed insertion sapping it of tension and momentum, while doing little for character development, which barely scrapes the surface of the film’s midlife-crisis promise. They do, at least, offer a visual break from the “Lodge” of the title — a depressingly drab, drizzle-sprayed holiday cottage — its tonal lurches, its flat (and in one case flatulent) jokes and its confounding lapses of logic. Not least the huge one near the end, which is supposed to pass for a final twist, but only serves to render the ‘real-world’ plot less believable than the scrappy little shorts that punctuate it.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Tales From The Lodge","subtitle":"","content":["It is a brave soul who, for their debut movie, reunites the stars of 2004’s *Sex Lives Of The Potato Men*, still justifiably derided as one of the worst films ever made. But writer/director Abigail Blackmore clearly wasn’t worried about bringing [Mackenzie Crook](https://www.empireonline.com/people/mackenzie-crook/){:target=_blank} and [Johnny Vegas](https://www.empireonline.com/people/johnny-vegas/){:target=_blank} back together for her kinda-portmanteau horror comedy, in which the pair join a group of life-battered Gen Xers with a penchant for telling twisted tales. The good news is, *Tales From The Lodge* isn’t as bad as *[Sex Lives Of The Potato Men](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/sex-lives-potato-men-review/){:target=_blank}*. The bad news is, it’s not that good. ","The film’s gimmick — quite a cute one — is that Blackmore (herself an actor) allows each of the character’s stories to be directed by the actor narrating it. 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It can also be hell on Earth for the unfit and unprepared, as this film’s Brittany ([Bell](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jillian-bell/){:target=_blank}) discovers. She’s a hard-partying underachiever who takes up the sport after a wake-up call visit to her doctor. The new hobby forces Brittany to confront some uncomfortable truths about herself in a film that can’t quite decide whether it’s a sort-of romcom or a quirky indie drama, and sometimes falls oddly between the two.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"In the end it’s friendship she needs – whatever your feelings about jogging, you’ll end up rooting for that simple truth.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"We start strong and rather punchy, as Brittany initially goes to the doctor in the hopes of scamming Adderall and is instead forced to confront her unhealthy lifestyle. She takes up running out of necessity, meeting new friends in Seth (Micah Stock), another beginner who wants to set a good example for his kids; and posh neighbour and experienced runner Catherine ([Michaela Watkins](https://www.empireonline.com/people/michaela-watkins/){:target=_blank}). Brittany loses weight, gets a new job and has a bit of a flirtation with co-worker Jern (Utkarsh Ambudkar) as her running improves. It’s all a little pat — running is neither as awful as Brittany finds it at first, nor is it the universal panacea it is suggested — but the detail of her growing competence is realistic, and Bell treads just the right line between unlikeably awful and sympathetically lost. Her internalised fat-phobia might be uncomfortable for some viewers, but it feels realistic to the character if not healthy in a wider sense.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks_HSj1UqKI"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Just as things seem a little too neat, Brittany proves that she can still be her own worst enemy, lashing out in all directions the moment that she hits a speed bump. In the end it’s friendship she needs, not merely fitness, to get her across the finish line. Whatever your feelings about jogging, you’ll end up rooting for that simple truth on race day.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Brittany Runs A Marathon","subtitle":"","content":["Running can be addictive and all-consuming, which anyone unfortunate enough to be stuck next to a keen racer at a dinner party will know. It can also be hell on Earth for the unfit and unprepared, as this film’s Brittany ([Bell](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jillian-bell/){:target=_blank}) discovers. She’s a hard-partying underachiever who takes up the sport after a wake-up call visit to her doctor. The new hobby forces Brittany to confront some uncomfortable truths about herself in a film that can’t quite decide whether it’s a sort-of romcom or a quirky indie drama, and sometimes falls oddly between the two.","We start strong and rather punchy, as Brittany initially goes to the doctor in the hopes of scamming Adderall and is instead forced to confront her unhealthy lifestyle. She takes up running out of necessity, meeting new friends in Seth (Micah Stock), another beginner who wants to set a good example for his kids; and posh neighbour and experienced runner Catherine ([Michaela Watkins](https://www.empireonline.com/people/michaela-watkins/){:target=_blank}). Brittany loses weight, gets a new job and has a bit of a flirtation with co-worker Jern (Utkarsh Ambudkar) as her running improves. It’s all a little pat — running is neither as awful as Brittany finds it at first, nor is it the universal panacea it is suggested — but the detail of her growing competence is realistic, and Bell treads just the right line between unlikeably awful and sympathetically lost. Her internalised fat-phobia might be uncomfortable for some viewers, but it feels realistic to the character if not healthy in a wider sense.","Just as things seem a little too neat, Brittany proves that she can still be her own worst enemy, lashing out in all directions the moment that she hits a speed bump. In the end it’s friendship she needs, not merely fitness, to get her across the finish line. 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Changing up the gender of the main characters of Bier’s original, [Bart Freundlich](https://www.empireonline.com/people/bart-freundlich/){:target=_blank}’s do-over benefits from the presence of [Michelle Williams](https://www.empireonline.com/people/michelle-williams/){:target=_blank} and [Julianne Moore](https://www.empireonline.com/people/julianne-moore/){:target=_blank}, but their class works against a script that incrementally amps up the melodrama until it reaches levels of ludicrousness that even Ramsay Street might baulk at.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5dbc200fafa2b6fdb94ef025","altText":"After-the-Wedding","image":{"name":"after-the-wedding-2.jpg","fileName":"after-the-wedding-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":288565,"path":"one/media/5dbc/200f/afa2/b6fd/b94e/f025"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"The film starts impressively in India — drone shots ahoy — with caring orphanage worker Isabel (Williams) leaving her kids to go to the US to raise much-needed funds. She arrives in New York to meet stinking-rich potential investor Theresa (Moore), who subsequently invites Isabel to her daughter’s swanky wedding. What happens next is that the revelations, coincidences and awkward truths pile up on top of each other in such a mechanical, manipulative way that the film feels simultaneously too much yet also under-nourished.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22pa0wpGa9Q"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"The film’s saving grace is the two central performances, Williams suggesting Isabel has hidden tumult beneath her serene demeanour and Moore once again revealing her genius at playing hard yet fragile characters. Yet the sense of restraint is at odds with the material. _After The Wedding_ might have been more entertaining if Freundlich had let rip and played the big twists and turns for all their emotional worth. Sometimes drone shots and tasteful furnishings are no substitute for a good old slanging match.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"After The Wedding","subtitle":"","content":["A remake of [Susanne Bier](https://www.empireonline.com/people/susanne-bier/){:target=_blank}’s Dogme 95 original of the same name, _After The Wedding_ is what a soap opera would look like if it were made by A-list talent. Changing up the gender of the main characters of Bier’s original, [Bart Freundlich](https://www.empireonline.com/people/bart-freundlich/){:target=_blank}’s do-over benefits from the presence of [Michelle Williams](https://www.empireonline.com/people/michelle-williams/){:target=_blank} and [Julianne Moore](https://www.empireonline.com/people/julianne-moore/){:target=_blank}, but their class works against a script that incrementally amps up the melodrama until it reaches levels of ludicrousness that even Ramsay Street might baulk at.","The film starts impressively in India — drone shots ahoy — with caring orphanage worker Isabel (Williams) leaving her kids to go to the US to raise much-needed funds. She arrives in New York to meet stinking-rich potential investor Theresa (Moore), who subsequently invites Isabel to her daughter’s swanky wedding. What happens next is that the revelations, coincidences and awkward truths pile up on top of each other in such a mechanical, manipulative way that the film feels simultaneously too much yet also under-nourished.","The film’s saving grace is the two central performances, Williams suggesting Isabel has hidden tumult beneath her serene demeanour and Moore once again revealing her genius at playing hard yet fragile characters. Yet the sense of restraint is at odds with the material. _After The Wedding_ might have been more entertaining if Freundlich had let rip and played the big twists and turns for all their emotional worth. Sometimes drone shots and tasteful furnishings are no substitute for a good old slanging match."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22pa0wpGa9Q"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1572569283,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Ian Freer","publicationDate":1572264200000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"2","verdict":"Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore add colours and sensitivities to the hyper-dramatic premise and Bart Freundlich’s filmmaking is cultured, but the classiness stymies any emotional heat. As such, Bier’s grittier take reigns supreme.","nutshell":"Indian-orphanage worker Isabel (Michelle Williams) heads to New York to try and secure $2 million in funding from self-made industrialist/philanthropist Theresa (Julianne Moore). The pair hit it off and Theresa invites Isabel to her daughter Grace’s (Abby Quinn) wedding. It’s then things start to unravel.","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Bart Freundlich remakes Susanne Bier's Dogme 95 film After The Wedding with Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams. Read the review at Empire now. 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King","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5dbc0e71afa2b6b71f4eed50","altText":"The King","image":{"name":"the king-1.jpg","fileName":"the king-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":319432,"path":"one/media/5dbc/0e71/afa2/b6b7/1f4e/ed50"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"William Shakespeare may have died 400 years ago, but he is, technically, cinema’s most filmed author, with over 420 film and TV credits according to Guinness World Records. How do you make a new adaptation fresh? Director [David Michôd](https://www.empireonline.com/people/david-michod/){:target=_blank} and co-writer/co-star [Joel Edgerton](https://www.empireonline.com/people/joel-edgerton/){:target=_blank}’s approach is to transform the language into something slightly more modern (there’s some contemporary swearing here), ditch the iambic pentameter, and compress his most famous history plays, collectively known as the ‘Henriad’, into one lean two-hour film.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5dbc108fafa2b64f324eedd4","altText":"The King","image":{"name":"chalamet-king.jpg","fileName":"chalamet-king.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":218131,"path":"one/media/5dbc/108f/afa2/b64f/324e/edd4"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"It’s not a bad effort, and certainly the most lavish cinematic retelling of the famous story, with all the budget, the cinematography and the subtle CGI assists that we’ve come to expect in the _[Game Of Thrones](https://www.empireonline.com/tv/reviews/game-thrones-review/){:target=_blank}_ era. The climactic Battle Of Agincourt, in fact, has heavy echoes of the Battle Of The Bastards; one shot of an almighty muddy crush seems identical to a similar one Jon Snow experienced. (Plus, playing Prince Thomas, Dean Charles-Chapman — aka King Tommen — provides a direct link to Westeros.)","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"The whole film is a very ponderous affair.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"As far as depictions of medieval warfare go, it’s near-faultless. But it suffers from a plodding middle third, and while the dialogue is occasionally nimbler than Shakespeare’s original text, it still feels stagey and old-fashioned, which makes for an onerous match with Adam Arkapaw’s gorgeous, naturally lit cinematography.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"As the hedonistic-turned-hubristic Hal, [Timothée Chalamet](https://www.empireonline.com/people/timothee-chalamet/){:target=_blank} starts the film like his emo rocker character in _[Lady Bird](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/lady-bird-review/){:target=_blank}_ — all floppy hair and juvenile vices — and ends the film very serious, very intense. His RP accent is better than most American efforts at Shakespeare, but it’s still not _quite_ as good as the real thing, missing the occasional vowel sounds. And while he certainly has the presence and the look required for the boy king, there’s something slightly missing from his performance, the dour, unsmiling expression on his face rarely shifting.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svVykTznk9Q"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"In fact, the whole film is a very ponderous affair, taking itself _extremely_ seriously, with only two exceptions: Joel Edgerton’s Falstaff, whose witty and wise northern chuckles are always welcome; and [Robert Pattinson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/robert-pattinson/){:target=_blank}’s foppish Dauphin (a rare misstep for the actor), whose ree-deek-ulous French accent brings to mind only fathers smelling of elderberries.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"The King","subtitle":"","content":["William Shakespeare may have died 400 years ago, but he is, technically, cinema’s most filmed author, with over 420 film and TV credits according to Guinness World Records. How do you make a new adaptation fresh? Director [David Michôd](https://www.empireonline.com/people/david-michod/){:target=_blank} and co-writer/co-star [Joel Edgerton](https://www.empireonline.com/people/joel-edgerton/){:target=_blank}’s approach is to transform the language into something slightly more modern (there’s some contemporary swearing here), ditch the iambic pentameter, and compress his most famous history plays, collectively known as the ‘Henriad’, into one lean two-hour film.","It’s not a bad effort, and certainly the most lavish cinematic retelling of the famous story, with all the budget, the cinematography and the subtle CGI assists that we’ve come to expect in the _[Game Of Thrones](https://www.empireonline.com/tv/reviews/game-thrones-review/){:target=_blank}_ era. The climactic Battle Of Agincourt, in fact, has heavy echoes of the Battle Of The Bastards; one shot of an almighty muddy crush seems identical to a similar one Jon Snow experienced. (Plus, playing Prince Thomas, Dean Charles-Chapman — aka King Tommen — provides a direct link to Westeros.)","As far as depictions of medieval warfare go, it’s near-faultless. But it suffers from a plodding middle third, and while the dialogue is occasionally nimbler than Shakespeare’s original text, it still feels stagey and old-fashioned, which makes for an onerous match with Adam Arkapaw’s gorgeous, naturally lit cinematography.","As the hedonistic-turned-hubristic Hal, [Timothée Chalamet](https://www.empireonline.com/people/timothee-chalamet/){:target=_blank} starts the film like his emo rocker character in _[Lady Bird](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/lady-bird-review/){:target=_blank}_ — all floppy hair and juvenile vices — and ends the film very serious, very intense. His RP accent is better than most American efforts at Shakespeare, but it’s still not _quite_ as good as the real thing, missing the occasional vowel sounds. And while he certainly has the presence and the look required for the boy king, there’s something slightly missing from his performance, the dour, unsmiling expression on his face rarely shifting.","In fact, the whole film is a very ponderous affair, taking itself _extremely_ seriously, with only two exceptions: Joel Edgerton’s Falstaff, whose witty and wise northern chuckles are always welcome; and [Robert Pattinson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/robert-pattinson/){:target=_blank}’s foppish Dauphin (a rare misstep for the actor), whose ree-deek-ulous French accent brings to mind only fathers smelling of elderberries."],"pullQuotes":["The whole film is a very ponderous affair."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svVykTznk9Q"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1572344438,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"John Nugent","publicationDate":1572261147000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"3","verdict":"The Battle Of Agincourt has never looked better. 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Until, perhaps, now. _[Dark Fate](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/terminator-dark-fate/){:target=_blank}_ feels like a real _Terminator_ movie at last, from the breakneck, deeply terrifying chase that opens it to its moving finale. This was never just [Arnold Schwarzenegger](https://www.empireonline.com/people/arnold-schwarzenegger/){:target=_blank}’s series; it’s [Linda Hamilton](https://www.empireonline.com/people/linda-hamilton/){:target=_blank} that’s the key ingredient.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5daf1ecbcd9a86141a237d26","altText":"Terminator: Dark Fate","image":{"name":"dark-fate-2.jpg","fileName":"dark-fate-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":657763,"path":"one/media/5daf/1ecb/cd9a/8614/1a23/7d26"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"Helpfully, this film takes true narrative risks. [Mackenzie Davis](https://www.empireonline.com/people/mackenzie-davis/){:target=_blank}’ augmented human fighter Grace comes from the future but it is not the one of John Connor and Kyle Reese. So _T2_’s happy ending stands, sort of, but Judgment Day still looms, and time travellers still try to change the past. Grace has come to protect Dani ([Natalia Reyes](https://www.empireonline.com/people/natalia-reyes/){:target=_blank}), a fierce factory worker who faces losing her job, along with her brother Miguel ([Diego Boneta](https://www.empireonline.com/people/diego-boneta/){:target=_blank}), to automation (robots, eh? The worst). They’re joined by Sarah Connor (Hamilton), recognisably still the tough-as-nails fighter of _T2_ and a veteran of many past Terminator battles.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"For the first time in a long time, we can look to the future of Terminator with hope.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"Their foe is a ‘Rev-9’ model, a sort of 2-for-1 Terminator with the metal skeleton of the original and the oozing liquid menace of the T-1000. Unlike similar previous incarnations, however, he’s capable of functioning in both forms at once. His opening assault is astonishingly tense, brilliantly communicating the impossibility of escaping these creatures. There are callbacks, both subtle and very much not, to the earlier films through the film’s thrilling chases, and even the structure of the (impressive) action faintly echoes _T2_. But these are amped up to include C-5 cargo planes and a pleasingly destructive visit to one of the US’ border detention camps, and augmented by VFX that are generally so impressive that you can forgive a few poor moments.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Grace, Dani and Sarah share a level of physical and mental toughness but are all damaged: emotionally scarred by their contact with the future and desperate for an escape that may not exist. That desperation makes this closer in tone to _The Terminator_ than _T2_ for most of its running time; there’s no room for Edward Furlong-style kidding around. At least, that is, until Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 ‘Carl’ shows up. “I’m very funny,” he claims, which is hilarious in itself.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDfBubPIEQY"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"As familiar lines are spun in new ways and we build to a heavy metal clash of a finale, this occasionally leans too heavily on the homage but mostly, remarkably, feels like a worthy descendant rather than a cheap cash-in. Sarah must challenge her presumptions, Grace must learn a sort of peace after a lifetime of war, and Dani finds a faith that will serve her well in the years to come. For the first time in a long time, we can look to the future of Terminator with hope.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Terminator: Dark Fate","subtitle":"","content":["_[The Terminator](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/terminator-review/){:target=_blank}_ is an action classic and _[T2](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/terminator-2-judgment-day-review/){:target=_blank}_ one of the greatest sequels of all time, but none of the films that followed came even close to matching them. Until, perhaps, now. _[Dark Fate](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/terminator-dark-fate/){:target=_blank}_ feels like a real _Terminator_ movie at last, from the breakneck, deeply terrifying chase that opens it to its moving finale. This was never just [Arnold Schwarzenegger](https://www.empireonline.com/people/arnold-schwarzenegger/){:target=_blank}’s series; it’s [Linda Hamilton](https://www.empireonline.com/people/linda-hamilton/){:target=_blank} that’s the key ingredient.","Helpfully, this film takes true narrative risks. [Mackenzie Davis](https://www.empireonline.com/people/mackenzie-davis/){:target=_blank}’ augmented human fighter Grace comes from the future but it is not the one of John Connor and Kyle Reese. So _T2_’s happy ending stands, sort of, but Judgment Day still looms, and time travellers still try to change the past. Grace has come to protect Dani ([Natalia Reyes](https://www.empireonline.com/people/natalia-reyes/){:target=_blank}), a fierce factory worker who faces losing her job, along with her brother Miguel ([Diego Boneta](https://www.empireonline.com/people/diego-boneta/){:target=_blank}), to automation (robots, eh? The worst). They’re joined by Sarah Connor (Hamilton), recognisably still the tough-as-nails fighter of _T2_ and a veteran of many past Terminator battles.","Their foe is a ‘Rev-9’ model, a sort of 2-for-1 Terminator with the metal skeleton of the original and the oozing liquid menace of the T-1000. Unlike similar previous incarnations, however, he’s capable of functioning in both forms at once. His opening assault is astonishingly tense, brilliantly communicating the impossibility of escaping these creatures. There are callbacks, both subtle and very much not, to the earlier films through the film’s thrilling chases, and even the structure of the (impressive) action faintly echoes _T2_. But these are amped up to include C-5 cargo planes and a pleasingly destructive visit to one of the US’ border detention camps, and augmented by VFX that are generally so impressive that you can forgive a few poor moments.","Grace, Dani and Sarah share a level of physical and mental toughness but are all damaged: emotionally scarred by their contact with the future and desperate for an escape that may not exist. That desperation makes this closer in tone to _The Terminator_ than _T2_ for most of its running time; there’s no room for Edward Furlong-style kidding around. At least, that is, until Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 ‘Carl’ shows up. “I’m very funny,” he claims, which is hilarious in itself.","As familiar lines are spun in new ways and we build to a heavy metal clash of a finale, this occasionally leans too heavily on the homage but mostly, remarkably, feels like a worthy descendant rather than a cheap cash-in. 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