Items

--------- > [{"id":"5d7782939414a6482955146d","tags":[],"presenter":[],"tv":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"Hustlers","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d7782859414a66381551461","altText":"Hustlers","image":{"name":"hustlers-1.jpg","fileName":"hustlers-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":551444,"path":"one/media/5d77/8285/9414/a663/8155/1461"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"Whether you’re a fan of her films or not, it’s undeniable that no-one commands a room quite like [Jennifer Lopez](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jennifer-lopez/){:target=_blank}. That self-made magnetism that has been finessed over years of performing still has the ability to seemingly slow down time, and writer-director [Lorene Scafaria](https://www.empireonline.com/people/lorene-scafaria/){:target=_blank} appreciates this more than anyone, rewarding such enigmatic energy with the role of a lifetime.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Make no mistake that *Crazy Rich Asians* heroine [Constance Wu](https://www.empireonline.com/people/constance-wu/){:target=_blank} gets top billing for *Hustlers* — a con movie with all the slickness of a [Steven Soderbergh](https://www.empireonline.com/people/steven-soderbergh/){:target=_blank} thriller — and rightfully so as its pure-hearted protagonist. Yet from the moment Ramona straddles her pole under a waterfall of paper bills, it’s Lopez whose legacy is cemented in this film.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d77828c9414a64361551468","altText":"Hustlers","image":{"name":"hustlers-2.jpg","fileName":"hustlers-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":777631,"path":"one/media/5d77/828c/9414/a643/6155/1468"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"“Doesn’t money make you horny?” she coos afterwards to a stunned Destiny, cradling her earnings like a newborn. For the women working at Moves strip club, money is a shortcut to freedom at the expense of a society designed to hold them down. In the *New York* article that inspired *Hustlers*, journalist Jessica Pressler frames the women in a Robin Hood context, drugging and robbing Wall Street one creep at a time to afford a better life for themselves and their families at a time of financial disarray. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Scafaria chooses to celebrate what makes women different over dwelling on what holds them back.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"This modern band of merry men each come with their own calling card in the film, be it Cardi B’s signature cackle or Lizzo’s white pillowy pimp hat. Even *Riverdale*’s Lili Reinhart — who takes the hit as the quiet one so the bigger characters can thrive — turns in one of the best vomit scenes of the year, while Wu pairs her signature sweetness with a sharp entrepreneurial streak.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Their collective moxie is thrilling, and stoked by Ramona’s prowess allows them to run circles around their clientele, a rare, somewhat rewarding sight to behold until the moral scale is upended and the group’s dynamic rapidly unravels. *Hustlers* is also pleasingly aesthetically assured, switching from travelling, *[Birdman](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/birdman-unexpected-virtue-ignorance-review/){:target=_blank}*-like takes to crisp, fast cuts, all captured with a nocturnal neon tinge by cinematographer Todd Banhazl (who worked magic on [Janelle Monáe](https://www.empireonline.com/people/janelle-monae/){:target=_blank}’s visual album *Dirty Computer*).","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOpl44ewgYk"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Where Scafaria finds her strongest footing in a genre defined by the cutthroat dialogue of Soderbergh or even [Scorsese](https://www.empireonline.com/people/martin-scorsese/){:target=_blank}, is in the welcome camaraderie conjured up between the film’s big narrative punches. There’s a joyful rhythm to the girls squabbling over chicken wings, or giggling through a drug-cooking montage that would make Walter White blush.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"In giving her heist movie a heart without sacrificing the high-tension tropes of the genre, Scafaria chooses to celebrate what makes women different over dwelling on what holds them back. It’s the women in this film that summon its sparky, scrappy edge, who implore you to stick with them through the murkiest of times. And you’ll find yourself doing just that, time and time again.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Hustlers","subtitle":"","content":["Whether you’re a fan of her films or not, it’s undeniable that no-one commands a room quite like [Jennifer Lopez](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jennifer-lopez/){:target=_blank}. That self-made magnetism that has been finessed over years of performing still has the ability to seemingly slow down time, and writer-director [Lorene Scafaria](https://www.empireonline.com/people/lorene-scafaria/){:target=_blank} appreciates this more than anyone, rewarding such enigmatic energy with the role of a lifetime.","Make no mistake that *Crazy Rich Asians* heroine [Constance Wu](https://www.empireonline.com/people/constance-wu/){:target=_blank} gets top billing for *Hustlers* — a con movie with all the slickness of a [Steven Soderbergh](https://www.empireonline.com/people/steven-soderbergh/){:target=_blank} thriller — and rightfully so as its pure-hearted protagonist. Yet from the moment Ramona straddles her pole under a waterfall of paper bills, it’s Lopez whose legacy is cemented in this film.","“Doesn’t money make you horny?” she coos afterwards to a stunned Destiny, cradling her earnings like a newborn. For the women working at Moves strip club, money is a shortcut to freedom at the expense of a society designed to hold them down. In the *New York* article that inspired *Hustlers*, journalist Jessica Pressler frames the women in a Robin Hood context, drugging and robbing Wall Street one creep at a time to afford a better life for themselves and their families at a time of financial disarray. ","This modern band of merry men each come with their own calling card in the film, be it Cardi B’s signature cackle or Lizzo’s white pillowy pimp hat. Even *Riverdale*’s Lili Reinhart — who takes the hit as the quiet one so the bigger characters can thrive — turns in one of the best vomit scenes of the year, while Wu pairs her signature sweetness with a sharp entrepreneurial streak.","Their collective moxie is thrilling, and stoked by Ramona’s prowess allows them to run circles around their clientele, a rare, somewhat rewarding sight to behold until the moral scale is upended and the group’s dynamic rapidly unravels. *Hustlers* is also pleasingly aesthetically assured, switching from travelling, *[Birdman](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/birdman-unexpected-virtue-ignorance-review/){:target=_blank}*-like takes to crisp, fast cuts, all captured with a nocturnal neon tinge by cinematographer Todd Banhazl (who worked magic on [Janelle Monáe](https://www.empireonline.com/people/janelle-monae/){:target=_blank}’s visual album *Dirty Computer*).","Where Scafaria finds her strongest footing in a genre defined by the cutthroat dialogue of Soderbergh or even [Scorsese](https://www.empireonline.com/people/martin-scorsese/){:target=_blank}, is in the welcome camaraderie conjured up between the film’s big narrative punches. There’s a joyful rhythm to the girls squabbling over chicken wings, or giggling through a drug-cooking montage that would make Walter White blush.","In giving her heist movie a heart without sacrificing the high-tension tropes of the genre, Scafaria chooses to celebrate what makes women different over dwelling on what holds them back. It’s the women in this film that summon its sparky, scrappy edge, who implore you to stick with them through the murkiest of times. And you’ll find yourself doing just that, time and time again."],"pullQuotes":["Scafaria chooses to celebrate what makes women different over dwelling on what holds them back."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOpl44ewgYk"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1564879917,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Beth Webb","publicationDate":1568113586000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"5","verdict":"A giddily entertaining homage to female power that illuminates bold ambition in its stars and director alike, Hustlers is the kind of era-defining film that Hollywood didn’t know it needed.","nutshell":"Struggling to make ends meet, inexperienced New York stripper Destiny (Constance Wu) strikes up a friendship and profitable partnership with star dancer Ramona (Jennifer Lopez). When the recession hits, however, the pair concoct a decidedly more dangerous way to earn their money back at the expense of their clients.","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star in Lorene Scafaria's crime movie alongside Julia Stiles, Lizzo, Cardi B and more. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":[{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1568113586939},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1568113587086},{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1568113632696},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1568113632978}],"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"people":[{"id":"5d111446a91b155aa799c974","furl":"constance-wu","name":"Constance Wu","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111446a91b155aa799c972","altText":"Constance Wu","caption":"Constance Wu","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"1ODwPGq6EpAJXfUG38jDBOAOL7a.jpg","name":"1ODwPGq6EpAJXfUG38jDBOAOL7a.jpg","width":546,"height":819,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/206444/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111446a91b155aa799c972"]}},{"id":"59e4c91df9648a12d2ed79f9","furl":"jennifer-lopez","name":"Jennifer Lopez","heroImage":[{"id":"5d1112ada91b155aa7990b47","altText":"Jennifer Lopez","caption":"Jennifer Lopez","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"mxBDIyt8u4q5eJcQkGipNYTtlvz.jpg","name":"mxBDIyt8u4q5eJcQkGipNYTtlvz.jpg","width":483,"height":725,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/16866/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d1112ada91b155aa7990b47"]}},{"id":"5d11130ea91b155aa7994c40","furl":"julia-stiles","name":"Julia Stiles","heroImage":[{"id":"5d11130ea91b155aa7994bfb","altText":"Julia Stiles","caption":"Julia Stiles","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"wqFYU1IS1xhn4yBjlkXt9LwFYr0.jpg","name":"wqFYU1IS1xhn4yBjlkXt9LwFYr0.jpg","width":512,"height":768,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/12041/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d11130ea91b155aa7994bfb"]}},{"id":"59e4c924f9648a12d2ed7d90","furl":"keke-palmer","name":"Keke Palmer","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111344a91b155aa799683a","altText":"Keke Palmer","caption":"Keke Palmer","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"tj3fxH0LtMVpj9fX8kj4kDSSkRu.jpg","name":"tj3fxH0LtMVpj9fX8kj4kDSSkRu.jpg","width":2000,"height":3000,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/74688/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111344a91b155aa799683a"]}},{"id":"5d111355a91b155aa7996ffe","furl":"lorene-scafaria","name":"Lorene Scafaria","composed":{}}],"film":[{"id":"5d77804a9414a6727d5513bc","title":"Hustlers","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d7780279414a602255513ba","altText":"Hustlers","image":{"name":"hustlers-2.jpg","fileName":"hustlers-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":777631,"path":"one/media/5d77/8027/9414/a602/2555/13ba"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"furl":"hustlers","composed":{"heroImage":["5d7780279414a602255513ba"]}}],"images":[{"id":"5d77828c9414a64361551468","altText":"Hustlers","image":{"name":"hustlers-2.jpg","fileName":"hustlers-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":777631,"path":"one/media/5d77/828c/9414/a643/6155/1468"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d7782859414a66381551461","altText":"Hustlers","image":{"name":"hustlers-1.jpg","fileName":"hustlers-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":551444,"path":"one/media/5d77/8285/9414/a663/8155/1461"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1568113298482,"createdBy":"publish","v":5,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"hustlers","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/hustlers/"],"excerpt":"Whether you’re a fan of her films or not, it’s undeniable that no-one commands...","lastModifiedAt":1568113632682,"lastModifiedBy":"publish","composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d7782859414a66381551461"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"images":["5d77828c9414a64361551468"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d77804a9414a6727d5513bc"],"people":["5d111446a91b155aa799c974","59e4c91df9648a12d2ed79f9","5d11130ea91b155aa7994c40","59e4c924f9648a12d2ed7d90","5d111355a91b155aa7996ffe"],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f"}},{"id":"5d767d5f9414a688f654fcf6","tags":[],"presenter":[],"tv":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"Downton Abbey","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d767ba79414a660bf54fcae","altText":"Downton Abbey (2019)","image":{"name":"downton-1.jpg","fileName":"downton-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":881198,"path":"one/media/5d76/7ba7/9414/a660/bf54/fcae"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"If you are already a fan of creator [Julian Fellowes](https://www.empireonline.com/people/julian-fellowes/){:target=_blank}' upstairs-downstairs ITV drama, its big-screen debut will likely delight. All your favourite characters are back, and [Maggie Smith](https://www.empireonline.com/people/maggie-smith/){:target=_blank}'s Dowager Countess continues to shower us in delightfully acerbic snark. Every character seems to tell _someone_ how proud they are of them, and everyone does their duty, by George. But if you are not already well acquainted with this fine country house and its residents, there’s little in this aggressively gentle nostalgia trip to really draw you into their story.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d767bb29414a6e2e054fcaf","altText":"Downton Abbey (2019)","image":{"name":"downton-2.jpg","fileName":"downton-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":870973,"path":"one/media/5d76/7bb2/9414/a6e2/e054/fcaf"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"This is a film where major plot points turn on precisely how shiny the silver should be ahead of a royal visit to the titular stately home. Bigger story threads involve who gets to serve dinner to the royals — the Downton staff or the King’s own people — and whether [Tuppence Middleton](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tuppence-middleton/){:target=_blank}’s Lucy Smith, maid to Lady Bagshaw ([Imelda Staunton](https://www.empireonline.com/people/imelda-staunton/){:target=_blank}), is too big for her boots. What might (laughably) be described as its action climax arrives about halfway through and is barely mentioned again. The true crescendo comes a little later and involves a minor and inconsequential breach of protocol in the service of dinner. But of course it feels huge, because to care about these characters requires the viewer to subscribe, at least for a moment, to their deeply stratified worldview.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMkiSqBraD0"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"There is lip service paid to republicanism here as Downton prepares for the King and Queen, but it is undermined at every turn by how desperately everyone — above and below stairs — cares about class and propriety. This is England as Americans see it, a horrendously dated perspective, though it would be unfair to blame the characters for that, or the talented cast. Everyone at Downton seem like basically nice people doing their best, and while the story they tell might seem like a series of unrelated and unimportant vignettes to newcomers, it has considerable charm despite — or perhaps because of — the low stakes.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Downton Abbey","subtitle":"","content":["If you are already a fan of creator [Julian Fellowes](https://www.empireonline.com/people/julian-fellowes/){:target=_blank}' upstairs-downstairs ITV drama, its big-screen debut will likely delight. All your favourite characters are back, and [Maggie Smith](https://www.empireonline.com/people/maggie-smith/){:target=_blank}'s Dowager Countess continues to shower us in delightfully acerbic snark. Every character seems to tell _someone_ how proud they are of them, and everyone does their duty, by George. But if you are not already well acquainted with this fine country house and its residents, there’s little in this aggressively gentle nostalgia trip to really draw you into their story.","This is a film where major plot points turn on precisely how shiny the silver should be ahead of a royal visit to the titular stately home. Bigger story threads involve who gets to serve dinner to the royals — the Downton staff or the King’s own people — and whether [Tuppence Middleton](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tuppence-middleton/){:target=_blank}’s Lucy Smith, maid to Lady Bagshaw ([Imelda Staunton](https://www.empireonline.com/people/imelda-staunton/){:target=_blank}), is too big for her boots. What might (laughably) be described as its action climax arrives about halfway through and is barely mentioned again. The true crescendo comes a little later and involves a minor and inconsequential breach of protocol in the service of dinner. But of course it feels huge, because to care about these characters requires the viewer to subscribe, at least for a moment, to their deeply stratified worldview.","There is lip service paid to republicanism here as Downton prepares for the King and Queen, but it is undermined at every turn by how desperately everyone — above and below stairs — cares about class and propriety. This is England as Americans see it, a horrendously dated perspective, though it would be unfair to blame the characters for that, or the talented cast. Everyone at Downton seem like basically nice people doing their best, and while the story they tell might seem like a series of unrelated and unimportant vignettes to newcomers, it has considerable charm despite — or perhaps because of — the low stakes."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMkiSqBraD0"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1565413671,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Helen O'Hara","publicationDate":1568070001000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"3","verdict":"Gentle, unchallenging drama for people who already know they like it, this is a nostalgic and rosy depiction of an England that was, surely, never so innocent.","nutshell":"When Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) receives word that the King and Queen will be visiting Downton Abbey, the household is thrown into chaos in their efforts to prepare for the royal visit.","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"British period drama Downton Abbey gets the movie treatment, with the original cast returning. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":[{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1568046593368},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1568046597566},{"fullname":"James White","id":"5d1487672e4227524eeb870e","slug":"james-white","ts":1568070170614},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1568070170752}],"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"people":[{"id":"5d11142ea91b155aa799bf08","furl":"maggie-smith","name":"Maggie Smith","heroImage":[{"id":"5d11142ea91b155aa799bef1","altText":"Maggie Smith","caption":"Maggie Smith","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"8OtS7JhL12Qa8QzSuZZAzNRbFnu.jpg","name":"8OtS7JhL12Qa8QzSuZZAzNRbFnu.jpg","width":540,"height":720,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/10978/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d11142ea91b155aa799bef1"]}},{"id":"5d1112ada91b155aa7990b01","furl":"hugh-bonneville","name":"Hugh Bonneville","heroImage":[{"id":"5d1112aca91b155aa7990ae2","altText":"Hugh Bonneville","caption":"Hugh Bonneville","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"vHxgbEvQfp30MiYxtH53hoCOMOg.jpg","name":"vHxgbEvQfp30MiYxtH53hoCOMOg.jpg","width":1800,"height":2700,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/19923/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d1112aca91b155aa7990ae2"]}},{"id":"5d11130ba91b155aa7994a1f","furl":"elizabeth-mcgovern","name":"Elizabeth McGovern","heroImage":[{"id":"5d11130ba91b155aa7994a09","altText":"Elizabeth McGovern","caption":"Elizabeth McGovern","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"oECBsmiZ8OWxm6iQCV5o0eViLRg.jpg","name":"oECBsmiZ8OWxm6iQCV5o0eViLRg.jpg","width":540,"height":720,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/4513/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d11130ba91b155aa7994a09"]}},{"id":"5d11143ea91b155aa799c5e2","furl":"jim-carter","name":"Jim Carter","heroImage":[{"id":"5d11143ea91b155aa799c5d6","altText":"Jim Carter","caption":"Jim Carter","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"ycS14B6YHA2k4IlEPNgh0eQOv7u.jpg","name":"ycS14B6YHA2k4IlEPNgh0eQOv7u.jpg","width":540,"height":720,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/20070/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d11143ea91b155aa799c5d6"]}},{"id":"5d1112baa91b155aa79914e4","furl":"allen-leech","name":"Allen Leech","heroImage":[{"id":"5d1112baa91b155aa79914e2","altText":"Allen Leech","caption":"Allen Leech","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"ezLSwpml7IWGy4loLpDUwIZ7wM8.jpg","name":"ezLSwpml7IWGy4loLpDUwIZ7wM8.jpg","width":300,"height":450,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/85718/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d1112baa91b155aa79914e2"]}},{"id":"5d111297a91b155aa798f88c","furl":"michelle-dockery","name":"Michelle Dockery","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111297a91b155aa798f870","altText":"Michelle Dockery","caption":"Michelle Dockery","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"lbXBpE9jUITuDWzI9YPOR6Ej1eq.jpg","name":"lbXBpE9jUITuDWzI9YPOR6Ej1eq.jpg","width":1000,"height":1500,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/70904/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111297a91b155aa798f870"]}},{"id":"5d1112aba91b155aa7990981","furl":"imelda-staunton","name":"Imelda Staunton","heroImage":[{"id":"5d1112aba91b155aa799097d","altText":"Imelda Staunton","caption":"Imelda Staunton","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"mKlkh0AuYPD5HjmnlrW0uPm5QvJ.jpg","name":"mKlkh0AuYPD5HjmnlrW0uPm5QvJ.jpg","width":540,"height":720,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/11356/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d1112aba91b155aa799097d"]}}],"film":[{"id":"5d11150ea91b155aa79a460b","furl":"downton-abbey","title":"Downton Abbey","website":"","composed":{}}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d767ba79414a660bf54fcae","altText":"Downton Abbey (2019)","image":{"name":"downton-1.jpg","fileName":"downton-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":881198,"path":"one/media/5d76/7ba7/9414/a660/bf54/fcae"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"images":[{"id":"5d767bb29414a6e2e054fcaf","altText":"Downton Abbey (2019)","image":{"name":"downton-2.jpg","fileName":"downton-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":870973,"path":"one/media/5d76/7bb2/9414/a6e2/e054/fcaf"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1568046431306,"createdBy":"publish","v":5,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"downton-abbey","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/downton-abbey/"],"excerpt":"If you are already a fan of creator Julian Fellowes' upstairs-downstairs ITV...","lastModifiedAt":1568070170598,"lastModifiedBy":"publish","heroImageLandscape":[null],"heroImagePortrait":[null],"heroImageThumb":[null],"heroImageThumbLandscape":[null],"contentImageCrop":[null],"composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d767ba79414a660bf54fcae"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"images":["5d767bb29414a6e2e054fcaf"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d11150ea91b155aa79a460b"],"people":["5d11142ea91b155aa799bf08","5d1112ada91b155aa7990b01","5d11130ba91b155aa7994a1f","5d11143ea91b155aa799c5e2","5d1112baa91b155aa79914e4","5d111297a91b155aa798f88c","5d1112aba91b155aa7990981"],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f"}},{"id":"5d7678579414a6a35a54fc3e","tags":[],"presenter":[],"tv":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"Night Hunter","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d7676d79414a6411054fc07","altText":"Night Hunter","image":{"name":"night-hunter.jpg","fileName":"night-hunter.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":740898,"path":"one/media/5d76/76d7/9414/a641/1054/fc07"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"Thankfully, nobody has yet come up with the idea of packaging whole seasons of a Peak TV series as a feature film, but if they had, the results might look something like this uneven serial killer thriller, the feature debut of British writer-director David Raymond. It isn't short of ideas, but the relatively brief running time provides little opportunity for any of them to develop into a coherent narrative, to say nothing of any semblance of character development that might have made it engaging.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"The third-act twist briefly brings the film to life, before it fizzles out in more predictable fashion.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"His standout turn in *[Mission: Impossible – Fallout](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/mission-impossible-fallout-review/){:target=_blank}* aside, [Henry Cavill](https://www.empireonline.com/people/henry-cavill/){:target=_blank} hasn't had much luck as a leading man either inside or outside the DC Extended Universe, and his character here is so thinly sketched he might as well have been credited as Bearded Cop. And when you can't find anything interesting to do with [Stanley Tucci](https://www.empireonline.com/people/stanley-tucci/){:target=_blank} or [Nathan Fillion](https://www.empireonline.com/people/nathan-fillion/){:target=_blank}, you know your movie is in trouble.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"It's a pity, because the story has promise. There's the serial killer whom one cop believes suffers from multiple personality disorder, while the other thinks he's faking it to cop an insanity plea – surely a set-up for a *[Primal Fear](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/primal-fear-review/){:target=_blank}*-style battle of wits. Then there's the sanguine vigilante who argues that the 80% recidivism rate among serial sex offenders makes surgical castration the only logical choice to prevent them from re-offending. Finally, there's the third-act twist that briefly brings the film to life, before it fizzles out in more predictable fashion.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhN1BbokyhU"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Perhaps the problem is that the procedural, slow-burn nature of serial killer thrillers are better suited to the small screen – they're *serial* killers after all – where shows such as *[True Detective](https://www.empireonline.com/tv/reviews/true-detective-review/){:target=_blank}* have the luxury of time to develop their drip-drip narratives and characters' inner lives. Twenty-five years after the last great example of the subgenre (*[Se7en](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/seven-review/){:target=_blank}*, unless you count *[Zodiac](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/zodiac-review/){:target=_blank}*), it's about time someone hunted down a killer script.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Night Hunter","subtitle":"","content":["Thankfully, nobody has yet come up with the idea of packaging whole seasons of a Peak TV series as a feature film, but if they had, the results might look something like this uneven serial killer thriller, the feature debut of British writer-director David Raymond. It isn't short of ideas, but the relatively brief running time provides little opportunity for any of them to develop into a coherent narrative, to say nothing of any semblance of character development that might have made it engaging.","His standout turn in *[Mission: Impossible – Fallout](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/mission-impossible-fallout-review/){:target=_blank}* aside, [Henry Cavill](https://www.empireonline.com/people/henry-cavill/){:target=_blank} hasn't had much luck as a leading man either inside or outside the DC Extended Universe, and his character here is so thinly sketched he might as well have been credited as Bearded Cop. And when you can't find anything interesting to do with [Stanley Tucci](https://www.empireonline.com/people/stanley-tucci/){:target=_blank} or [Nathan Fillion](https://www.empireonline.com/people/nathan-fillion/){:target=_blank}, you know your movie is in trouble.","It's a pity, because the story has promise. There's the serial killer whom one cop believes suffers from multiple personality disorder, while the other thinks he's faking it to cop an insanity plea – surely a set-up for a *[Primal Fear](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/primal-fear-review/){:target=_blank}*-style battle of wits. Then there's the sanguine vigilante who argues that the 80% recidivism rate among serial sex offenders makes surgical castration the only logical choice to prevent them from re-offending. Finally, there's the third-act twist that briefly brings the film to life, before it fizzles out in more predictable fashion.","Perhaps the problem is that the procedural, slow-burn nature of serial killer thrillers are better suited to the small screen – they're *serial* killers after all – where shows such as *[True Detective](https://www.empireonline.com/tv/reviews/true-detective-review/){:target=_blank}* have the luxury of time to develop their drip-drip narratives and characters' inner lives. Twenty-five years after the last great example of the subgenre (*[Se7en](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/seven-review/){:target=_blank}*, unless you count *[Zodiac](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/zodiac-review/){:target=_blank}*), it's about time someone hunted down a killer script."],"pullQuotes":["The third-act twist briefly brings the film to life, before it fizzles out in more predictable fashion."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhN1BbokyhU"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1564879917,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"David Hughes","publicationDate":1568045143667,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"2","verdict":"At a time when television is easier to make than films, it's a pity that a quart of plot in a pint-sized pot is largely to blame for this muddled misfire, which wastes some promising ideas and an impressive cast.","nutshell":"Even as a vigilante (Ben Kingsley) and his daughter target sex offenders whom they catch and castrate, dour detective Marshall (Henry Cavill) and psychological profiler Rachel (Alexandra Daddario) focus on the hunt for a serial rapist and murderer, whom they must catch before the women he has imprisoned run out of time.","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Henry Cavill and Ben Kingsley star in serial killer thriller Night Hunter. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben"},"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"people":[{"id":"59e4c916f9648a12d2ed7647","furl":"henry-cavill","name":"Henry Cavill","profileImage":[{"id":"59e4c916f9648a12d2ed7646","altText":"Henry Cavill","image":{"fileName":"Henry Cavill.jpg","name":"Henry Cavill.jpg","path":"one/lifestyle-images/people/569e46dd375e84fc0cc1b433","mimeType":"image/jpeg"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d111315a91b155aa7994fc2","altText":"Henry Cavill","caption":"Henry Cavill","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"qDJ3TIIHnaE9x6GUt9QlDXi3KRZ.jpg","name":"qDJ3TIIHnaE9x6GUt9QlDXi3KRZ.jpg","width":1000,"height":1500,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/73968/profiles"}}],"composed":{"profileImage":["59e4c916f9648a12d2ed7646"],"heroImage":["5d111315a91b155aa7994fc2"]}},{"id":"5d1113eca91b155aa799a7e9","furl":"ben-kingsley","name":"Ben Kingsley","heroImage":[{"id":"5d1113eba91b155aa799a7d1","altText":"Ben Kingsley","caption":"Ben Kingsley","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"2Eu3j31JDJek70ZXLY6xfeUaJoR.jpg","name":"2Eu3j31JDJek70ZXLY6xfeUaJoR.jpg","width":1000,"height":1500,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/2282/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d1113eba91b155aa799a7d1"]}},{"id":"5d111274a91b155aa798d7b8","furl":"alexandra-daddario","name":"Alexandra Daddario","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111274a91b155aa798d797","altText":"Alexandra Daddario","caption":"Alexandra Daddario","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"qWy2rdPK3axHvlLV1IUKr6gWLGy.jpg","name":"qWy2rdPK3axHvlLV1IUKr6gWLGy.jpg","width":996,"height":1500,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/109513/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111274a91b155aa798d797"]}}],"film":[{"id":"5d7677709414a65fac54fc16","title":"Night Hunter","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d76774b9414a69ef454fc11","altText":"Night Hunter","image":{"name":"night-hunter.jpg","fileName":"night-hunter.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":740898,"path":"one/media/5d76/774b/9414/a69e/f454/fc11"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"furl":"night-hunter-3","composed":{"heroImage":["5d76774b9414a69ef454fc11"]}}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d7676d79414a6411054fc07","altText":"Night Hunter","image":{"name":"night-hunter.jpg","fileName":"night-hunter.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":740898,"path":"one/media/5d76/76d7/9414/a641/1054/fc07"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1568045142822,"createdBy":"publish","v":1,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"night-hunter","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/night-hunter/"],"excerpt":"Thankfully, nobody has yet come up with the idea of packaging whole seasons of...","composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d7676d79414a6411054fc07"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d7677709414a65fac54fc16"],"people":["59e4c916f9648a12d2ed7647","5d1113eca91b155aa799a7e9","5d111274a91b155aa798d7b8"],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f"}},{"id":"5d78eb9c41665ea27eb9a942","tags":[],"presenter":[],"people":[],"tv":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"Phoenix","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d78ea3f41665e0045b9a922","altText":"Phoenix","image":{"name":"phoenix.jpg","fileName":"phoenix.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":544738,"path":"one/media/5d78/ea3f/4166/5e00/45b9/a922"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"Horrible feelings of domestic dread permeate the first part of *Phoenix*, a small drama about a broken family. Events unfold predominantly through the eyes of Jill (Thedin), who is about to turn 14 and just wants stability and happiness, whatever the reality might be. Her mother Astrid (Maria Bonnevie) is a depressed drunk, and anyone who’s had to deal with someone lost to an unbreakable downward cycle will relate to *Phoenix*’s effective portrayal of near constant fear, where every minor disappearance or switch in behaviour sets off immediate panic. It’s tough to endure, certainly for a 13-year-old understandably ill-equipped to deal with such domestic carnage.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"After its strong opening it just doesn’t hit as hard as you’d want. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"The Norwegian film is mostly about delusion, about people kidding themselves for various reasons – some coping mechanisms, some selfish manipulations. As things fall apart, Jill puts her shields up and her blinkers on, looking for a different truth while creating lies of her own, the mounting revelations and neglect precipitating a sharp loss of innocence. This is *Phoenix*’s backbone and it’s a worthwhile exploration, well-played by an emotive Thedin. Alas, there is some plot padding that falls short. Whereas Astrid is afforded dimension and shade, Jill’s father (Sverrir Gudnason) is sadly stock, his journey signposted from the start. Henriksen’s story also runs out of steam, the writer/director intentionally dialling back the tension. As such the film becomes less engaging as it goes on – after its strong opening it just doesn’t hit as hard as you’d want. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XvKpyEEIEQ"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"This feels like a short story, fleshed out to feature-length, mildly flailing about as it searches for a conclusion while denying itself much resolution. There is also a brief supernatural strand, which makes sense narratively but adds nothing cinematically, and feels superficial. Yet you stay with the film, because it means it. It’s a tender piece of work, warmly shot by cinematographer Ragna Jorming, and Thedin is brilliant, carrying it all, with a spirit that lingers.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Phoenix","subtitle":"","content":["Horrible feelings of domestic dread permeate the first part of *Phoenix*, a small drama about a broken family. Events unfold predominantly through the eyes of Jill (Thedin), who is about to turn 14 and just wants stability and happiness, whatever the reality might be. Her mother Astrid (Maria Bonnevie) is a depressed drunk, and anyone who’s had to deal with someone lost to an unbreakable downward cycle will relate to *Phoenix*’s effective portrayal of near constant fear, where every minor disappearance or switch in behaviour sets off immediate panic. It’s tough to endure, certainly for a 13-year-old understandably ill-equipped to deal with such domestic carnage.","The Norwegian film is mostly about delusion, about people kidding themselves for various reasons – some coping mechanisms, some selfish manipulations. As things fall apart, Jill puts her shields up and her blinkers on, looking for a different truth while creating lies of her own, the mounting revelations and neglect precipitating a sharp loss of innocence. This is *Phoenix*’s backbone and it’s a worthwhile exploration, well-played by an emotive Thedin. Alas, there is some plot padding that falls short. Whereas Astrid is afforded dimension and shade, Jill’s father (Sverrir Gudnason) is sadly stock, his journey signposted from the start. Henriksen’s story also runs out of steam, the writer/director intentionally dialling back the tension. As such the film becomes less engaging as it goes on – after its strong opening it just doesn’t hit as hard as you’d want. ","This feels like a short story, fleshed out to feature-length, mildly flailing about as it searches for a conclusion while denying itself much resolution. There is also a brief supernatural strand, which makes sense narratively but adds nothing cinematically, and feels superficial. Yet you stay with the film, because it means it. It’s a tender piece of work, warmly shot by cinematographer Ragna Jorming, and Thedin is brilliant, carrying it all, with a spirit that lingers."],"pullQuotes":["After its strong opening it just doesn’t hit as hard as you’d want. "],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XvKpyEEIEQ"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1564879917,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Alex Godfrey","publicationDate":1568032552000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"3","verdict":"Phoenix has a huge heart, aching for its cast, and while it feels like it’s only ever on the verge of getting anywhere, it’s still a keen, candid character study.","nutshell":"Days before her 14th birthday, Jill (Ylva Bjørkaas Thedin) finds herself having to take care of her younger brother while their mother becomes increasingly incapable of looking after them, or herself. The imminent arrival of their absent father offers a glimmer of hope, which is all Jill has.","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Ylva Bjørkaas Thedin stars in Camilla Strøm Henriksen's Norwegian drama. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben"},"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"film":[{"id":"5d78e9e441665e3252b9a91c","title":"Phoenix","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d78e9bb41665ec50eb9a917","altText":"Phoenix","image":{"name":"phoenix.jpg","fileName":"phoenix.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":544738,"path":"one/media/5d78/e9bb/4166/5ec5/0eb9/a917"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"furl":"phoenix-2","composed":{"heroImage":["5d78e9bb41665ec50eb9a917"]}}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d78ea3f41665e0045b9a922","altText":"Phoenix","image":{"name":"phoenix.jpg","fileName":"phoenix.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":544738,"path":"one/media/5d78/ea3f/4166/5e00/45b9/a922"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1568205724205,"createdBy":"publish","v":1,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"phoenix","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/phoenix/"],"excerpt":"Horrible feelings of domestic dread permeate the first part of Phoenix, a...","composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d78ea3f41665e0045b9a922"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d78e9e441665e3252b9a91c"],"people":[],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f"}},{"id":"5d78e79041665e3c2db9a8d1","tags":[],"presenter":[],"people":[],"tv":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"Honeyland","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d78e6c841665e2d46b9a8af","altText":"Honeyland","image":{"name":"honeyland-1.jpg","fileName":"honeyland-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":632743,"path":"one/media/5d78/e6c8/4166/5e2d/46b9/a8af"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"A Macedonian bee-keeper may not be the documentary subject you think you need in your life, but this gorgeous and closely observed film makes the case that it is. Playing more like a particularly thoughtful indie drama than the usual carefully narrated documentary, it’s the story of a vanishing way of life, in a forgotten corner of Europe, but also a character study of extraordinary intimacy and feeling. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d78e6ce41665e57fbb9a8b4","altText":"Honeyland","image":{"name":"honeyland-2.jpg","fileName":"honeyland-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":353231,"path":"one/media/5d78/e6ce/4166/5e57/fbb9/a8b4"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"We meet Hatidze Muratova on a precarious ledge in the Northern Macedonian mountains, harvesting honey from one of her more remote bee hives, and follow her back home to pry into her life with her elderly, ailing mother Nazife. Her hair is dyed beneath her colourful headscarf and she keeps up a cheery face with her rowdy neighbours, the Sams, and when she goes to sell her honey in the city of Skopje. But there’s loneliness and fear there as well. She frets about her mother’s health, worries about her bees and can become visibly angry and frustrated – especially when her careful ways are threatened.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Stunningly beautiful and quietly powerful.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"That comes because of Hussein Sam’s need to provide for his growing family and interest in bee hives, an interest that Hatidze initially encourages with all the enthusiasm of a true afficionado. But he disregards her conservative approach to stewardship and imperils both colonies, creating tension between the neighbours that is as close as we get to a real plot here.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yR7TQ7H-D1w"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"But while there may be small echoes of *Jean de Florette*’s river, there are no villains here, just people trying to do their best for their families. The filmmakers spent years with their fascinating, complicated heroine and let their images speak for themselves: there are no caption cards here, no narration, just Hatidza’s endlessly expressive face. But the time they lavished on her, and the care and attention they gave to the edit, pays off in intimate storytelling and stunning cinematography.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Honeyland","subtitle":"","content":["A Macedonian bee-keeper may not be the documentary subject you think you need in your life, but this gorgeous and closely observed film makes the case that it is. Playing more like a particularly thoughtful indie drama than the usual carefully narrated documentary, it’s the story of a vanishing way of life, in a forgotten corner of Europe, but also a character study of extraordinary intimacy and feeling. ","We meet Hatidze Muratova on a precarious ledge in the Northern Macedonian mountains, harvesting honey from one of her more remote bee hives, and follow her back home to pry into her life with her elderly, ailing mother Nazife. Her hair is dyed beneath her colourful headscarf and she keeps up a cheery face with her rowdy neighbours, the Sams, and when she goes to sell her honey in the city of Skopje. But there’s loneliness and fear there as well. She frets about her mother’s health, worries about her bees and can become visibly angry and frustrated – especially when her careful ways are threatened.","That comes because of Hussein Sam’s need to provide for his growing family and interest in bee hives, an interest that Hatidze initially encourages with all the enthusiasm of a true afficionado. But he disregards her conservative approach to stewardship and imperils both colonies, creating tension between the neighbours that is as close as we get to a real plot here.","But while there may be small echoes of *Jean de Florette*’s river, there are no villains here, just people trying to do their best for their families. The filmmakers spent years with their fascinating, complicated heroine and let their images speak for themselves: there are no caption cards here, no narration, just Hatidza’s endlessly expressive face. But the time they lavished on her, and the care and attention they gave to the edit, pays off in intimate storytelling and stunning cinematography."],"pullQuotes":["Stunningly beautiful and quietly powerful."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yR7TQ7H-D1w"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1564879917,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Helen O'Hara","publicationDate":1568031239000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"4","verdict":"Stunningly beautiful and quietly powerful, this is a portrait of a vanishing way of life and of a determined woman who’s just trying to make her way in the world.","nutshell":"A documentary about bee-keeper Hatidze Muratova, living in a mountainous area of Macedonia with her mother Nazife. She carefully stewards her hives, but the delicate balance of her lifestyle is threatened by her new neighbours, the Sams, and father Hussein’s quest to make a bit more money from bees.","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Directors Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov present a documentary about bee-keeper Hatidze Muratova. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben"},"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"film":[{"id":"5d78e76541665eae39b9a8cc","title":"Honeyland","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d78e74541665e4ca0b9a8cb","altText":"Honeyland","image":{"name":"honeyland-1.jpg","fileName":"honeyland-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":632743,"path":"one/media/5d78/e745/4166/5e4c/a0b9/a8cb"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"furl":"honeyland","composed":{"heroImage":["5d78e74541665e4ca0b9a8cb"]}}],"images":[{"id":"5d78e6ce41665e57fbb9a8b4","altText":"Honeyland","image":{"name":"honeyland-2.jpg","fileName":"honeyland-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":353231,"path":"one/media/5d78/e6ce/4166/5e57/fbb9/a8b4"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d78e6c841665e2d46b9a8af","altText":"Honeyland","image":{"name":"honeyland-1.jpg","fileName":"honeyland-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":632743,"path":"one/media/5d78/e6c8/4166/5e2d/46b9/a8af"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1568204687832,"createdBy":"publish","v":1,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"honeyland","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/honeyland/"],"excerpt":"A Macedonian bee-keeper may not be the documentary subject you think you need...","composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d78e6c841665e2d46b9a8af"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"images":["5d78e6ce41665e57fbb9a8b4"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d78e76541665eae39b9a8cc"],"people":[],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f"}},{"id":"5d78e42141665eee60b9a834","tags":[],"presenter":[],"people":[],"tv":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"For Sama","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d78e24641665e2cdab9a7ef","altText":"For Sama","image":{"name":"for-sama.jpg","fileName":"for-sama.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":897047,"path":"one/media/5d78/e246/4166/5e2c/dab9/a7ef"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"Part hardcore news reportage, part intimate memoir, *For Sama* is a compelling dispatch from deep inside the Syrian conflict. Directed by Waad al-Kateab and UK non-fiction filmmaker Edward Watts, produced by Channel 4 and ITN, the film takes the immediacy of the best on-the-ground reporting but melds it with a touching portrait of family life during wartime. The result brings the unimaginable to moving, vivid life.\t","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"It will break your heart.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"*For Sama* takes al-Kateab’s footage, interspersed with drone imagery of Aleppo looking increasingly battered, to chart the conflicts between 2012 and 2016 when the documentarian fled Syria with her husband Hamza and infant daughter Sama. The latter is the film’s raison d’être: a video diary/letter from mother to daughter explaining not only the conflict but perhaps more importantly why her parents made the (on the surface, baffling) choices they made. *For Sama* poses tough questions — why would you bring a child into this living, breathing nightmare? Why wouldn’t you just run? — and al-Kateab and Watts’ compelling film provides the answers. And then some.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"In 2012, al-Kateab was a twenty-something studying economics at Aleppo University when she started documenting the growing protests against president Bashar al-Assad’s oppressive dictatorship, filled with that student sense of militant optimism. As the years go by and al Assad’s regime, aided by Russian money and warplanes, becomes more horrific, al-Kateab continues to film, her camera detailing the uncertainty and panic that filled every minute of her day. The unforgettable moments come thick and fast — the time al Assad’s forces are one street away; a tense nighttime drive to get through a regime checkpoint; and most amazingly, when a doctor conducts a Caesarean section to remove a dead baby from its wounded mother’s womb. What happens next is one of the most miraculous things to appear in a cinema this year.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsvBqtg2RM0"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"*For Sama* is a film filled with dead, bloodied bodies — often children — but while you never grow inured to it, life for Aleppo’s citizens continues. Phone conversations carry on during shelling. A little girl nonchalantly explains what a cluster bomb is. Normalcy is snatched, be it dancing to Julio Iglesias’ Crazy at a wedding or singing the old songs in a blackout during the air strikes. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"It’s not a perfect film. The structure flits around confusing the chronology. At the heart of the film is the relationship between Waad and her heroic doctor husband Hamza, who courageously stays behind to start a hospital where the family live. Your admiration for their decision to do what’s right and preserve life — both in surgery and on film — knows no bounds. Towards the end, Waad stares at Sama as she remains impervious to the carnage that surrounds her. “I know you know what’s going on. I can see it in your eyes. You never cry like a normal baby. That’s what breaks my heart.” It will break your heart too.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"For Sama","subtitle":"","content":["Part hardcore news reportage, part intimate memoir, *For Sama* is a compelling dispatch from deep inside the Syrian conflict. Directed by Waad al-Kateab and UK non-fiction filmmaker Edward Watts, produced by Channel 4 and ITN, the film takes the immediacy of the best on-the-ground reporting but melds it with a touching portrait of family life during wartime. The result brings the unimaginable to moving, vivid life.\t","*For Sama* takes al-Kateab’s footage, interspersed with drone imagery of Aleppo looking increasingly battered, to chart the conflicts between 2012 and 2016 when the documentarian fled Syria with her husband Hamza and infant daughter Sama. The latter is the film’s raison d’être: a video diary/letter from mother to daughter explaining not only the conflict but perhaps more importantly why her parents made the (on the surface, baffling) choices they made. *For Sama* poses tough questions — why would you bring a child into this living, breathing nightmare? Why wouldn’t you just run? — and al-Kateab and Watts’ compelling film provides the answers. And then some.","In 2012, al-Kateab was a twenty-something studying economics at Aleppo University when she started documenting the growing protests against president Bashar al-Assad’s oppressive dictatorship, filled with that student sense of militant optimism. As the years go by and al Assad’s regime, aided by Russian money and warplanes, becomes more horrific, al-Kateab continues to film, her camera detailing the uncertainty and panic that filled every minute of her day. The unforgettable moments come thick and fast — the time al Assad’s forces are one street away; a tense nighttime drive to get through a regime checkpoint; and most amazingly, when a doctor conducts a Caesarean section to remove a dead baby from its wounded mother’s womb. What happens next is one of the most miraculous things to appear in a cinema this year.","*For Sama* is a film filled with dead, bloodied bodies — often children — but while you never grow inured to it, life for Aleppo’s citizens continues. Phone conversations carry on during shelling. A little girl nonchalantly explains what a cluster bomb is. Normalcy is snatched, be it dancing to Julio Iglesias’ Crazy at a wedding or singing the old songs in a blackout during the air strikes. ","It’s not a perfect film. The structure flits around confusing the chronology. At the heart of the film is the relationship between Waad and her heroic doctor husband Hamza, who courageously stays behind to start a hospital where the family live. Your admiration for their decision to do what’s right and preserve life — both in surgery and on film — knows no bounds. Towards the end, Waad stares at Sama as she remains impervious to the carnage that surrounds her. “I know you know what’s going on. I can see it in your eyes. You never cry like a normal baby. That’s what breaks my heart.” It will break your heart too."],"pullQuotes":["It will break your heart."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsvBqtg2RM0"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1565413671,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Ian Freer","publicationDate":1568030525000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"4","verdict":"For Sama powerfully mixes the personal and the political to thought-provoking, emotional ends. The result is one of the best documentaries of 2019.","nutshell":"Between 2012 and 2016, journalist Waad al-Kateab documents her life during president Bashar al-Assad’s repressive regime in Aleppo, Syria. During that time, as the conflict escalates, she falls in love, gets married and has a baby girl, Sama. Her daughter forces al-Kateab to debate fleeing the city to protect her daughter or staying to fight for the freedom she believes in.","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Journalist Waad al-Kateab documents her life during president Bashar al-Assad’s repressive regime in Aleppo, Syria. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben"},"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"film":[{"id":"5d78e20d41665e2cf8b9a7ea","title":"For Sama","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d78e1da41665e6654b9a7e8","altText":"For Sama","image":{"name":"for-sama.jpg","fileName":"for-sama.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":897047,"path":"one/media/5d78/e1da/4166/5e66/54b9/a7e8"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"furl":"for-sama","composed":{"heroImage":["5d78e1da41665e6654b9a7e8"]}}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d78e24641665e2cdab9a7ef","altText":"For Sama","image":{"name":"for-sama.jpg","fileName":"for-sama.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":897047,"path":"one/media/5d78/e246/4166/5e2c/dab9/a7ef"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1568203808988,"createdBy":"publish","v":1,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"for-sama","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/for-sama/"],"excerpt":"Part hardcore news reportage, part intimate memoir, For Sama is a compelling...","composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d78e24641665e2cdab9a7ef"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d78e20d41665e2cf8b9a7ea"],"people":[],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f"}},{"id":"5d78df5941665e04bdb9a781","tags":[],"presenter":[],"people":[],"tv":[],"film":[{"id":"5d78dfae41665e4415b9a78c","title":"The Shock Of The Future","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d78df9141665e9d04b9a78b","altText":"the Shock Of The Future","image":{"name":"shock-of-the-future.jpg","fileName":"shock-of-the-future.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":518183,"path":"one/media/5d78/df91/4166/5e9d/04b9/a78b"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"furl":"the-shock-of-the-future","composed":{"heroImage":["5d78df9141665e9d04b9a78b"]}}],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"The Shock Of The Future","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d78df1e41665e37d9b9a77c","altText":"The Shock Of The Future","image":{"name":"shock-of-the-future.jpg","fileName":"shock-of-the-future.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":518183,"path":"one/media/5d78/df1e/4166/5e37/d9b9/a77c"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"“What is this shitty music?” says Ana Klimova waking up to tinny French pop playing on from her ‘70s-styled chunky clock radio. Lighting a cigarette, she immediately swaps it for a cassette blasting out Cerrone’s disco-tastic ‘Supernature’ and starts dancing around her tiny flat in a reverie. It’s a joyous opening to *The Shock Of The Future*, Marc Collin’s slight but affectionate look at the birth of electronica and a tribute to the women who played a pivotal role in bringing it to life. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Much of the film’s 78-minute running time takes place in Ana’s bedsit. Struggling to compose music for a commercial, she is obsessed at expressing herself through electronic beeps but just can’t nail the sound. In pretty much every frame, often on her own, Jodorowsky (granddaughter of director [Alejandro](https://www.empireonline.com/people/alejandro-jodorowsky/){:target=_blank}) makes Ana’s creative tussles engaging as she struggles to find her music (when she does, it has shades of ‘70s [John Carpenter](https://www.empireonline.com/people/john-carpenter/){:target=_blank}) while dealing with constant interruptions from sexist men; her producer who kisses her too many times; the music equipment specialist who presumes she is a backing singer. Yet things really click when singer Clara (Clara Luciani) arrives to record the jingle. A lengthy, engaging scene in which the pair work together to craft Ana’s song captures all the supportive energy of women collaborating.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntF9slWcTrQ"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"But as much as it is about gender politics, it is also about a transitional point in music, as the old guard clung onto traditional instruments and song structures in the face of emerging technology and styles. Collin, one half of French music duo Nouvelle Vague famed for creating bossanova versions of ‘80s synth classics, lavishes loving close-ups on Ana’s banks of machinery — the Roland CR-78 beatbox gets the kind of attention [Quentin Tarantino](https://www.empireonline.com/people/quentin-tarantino/){:target=_blank} reserves for bare feet — and gives key artists from Suicide to The Human League their due in needle drops and name checks. It lacks narrative drive and doesn’t approach anything near big drama but *The Shock Of The Future* is valuable in its portrait of the pioneering role women played in the electronic movement, a dedication at the end saluting Delia Derbyshire, Wendy Carlos, Éliane Radique, Laurie Spiegel and others for their invaluable work. And — obviously — the soundtrack is killer too.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"The Shock Of The Future","subtitle":"","content":["“What is this shitty music?” says Ana Klimova waking up to tinny French pop playing on from her ‘70s-styled chunky clock radio. Lighting a cigarette, she immediately swaps it for a cassette blasting out Cerrone’s disco-tastic ‘Supernature’ and starts dancing around her tiny flat in a reverie. It’s a joyous opening to *The Shock Of The Future*, Marc Collin’s slight but affectionate look at the birth of electronica and a tribute to the women who played a pivotal role in bringing it to life. ","Much of the film’s 78-minute running time takes place in Ana’s bedsit. Struggling to compose music for a commercial, she is obsessed at expressing herself through electronic beeps but just can’t nail the sound. In pretty much every frame, often on her own, Jodorowsky (granddaughter of director [Alejandro](https://www.empireonline.com/people/alejandro-jodorowsky/){:target=_blank}) makes Ana’s creative tussles engaging as she struggles to find her music (when she does, it has shades of ‘70s [John Carpenter](https://www.empireonline.com/people/john-carpenter/){:target=_blank}) while dealing with constant interruptions from sexist men; her producer who kisses her too many times; the music equipment specialist who presumes she is a backing singer. Yet things really click when singer Clara (Clara Luciani) arrives to record the jingle. A lengthy, engaging scene in which the pair work together to craft Ana’s song captures all the supportive energy of women collaborating.","But as much as it is about gender politics, it is also about a transitional point in music, as the old guard clung onto traditional instruments and song structures in the face of emerging technology and styles. Collin, one half of French music duo Nouvelle Vague famed for creating bossanova versions of ‘80s synth classics, lavishes loving close-ups on Ana’s banks of machinery — the Roland CR-78 beatbox gets the kind of attention [Quentin Tarantino](https://www.empireonline.com/people/quentin-tarantino/){:target=_blank} reserves for bare feet — and gives key artists from Suicide to The Human League their due in needle drops and name checks. It lacks narrative drive and doesn’t approach anything near big drama but *The Shock Of The Future* is valuable in its portrait of the pioneering role women played in the electronic movement, a dedication at the end saluting Delia Derbyshire, Wendy Carlos, Éliane Radique, Laurie Spiegel and others for their invaluable work. And — obviously — the soundtrack is killer too."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntF9slWcTrQ"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1564879917,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Ian Freer","publicationDate":1568029475000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"3","verdict":"There are many movies that detail male passion for music, fewer around women. The Shock Of The Future is an entertaining corrective to that: driven by a great turn from Alma Jodorowsky, it celebrates the creation and possibilities of music through a distinctly female filter.","nutshell":"Paris, 1978. Ana Klimova (Alma Jodorowsky) is a musician using new-fangled electronic equipment to create a different kind music. But with a commission for a commercial hanging over head and no money to pay for new equipment, she struggles to find her sound to impress record impresario Dominic Giroux (Nicolas Ullmann).","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Alma Jodorowsky stars in Marc Collin's music-based drama. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":[{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1568202689216}],"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"heroImage":[{"id":"5d78df1e41665e37d9b9a77c","altText":"The Shock Of The Future","image":{"name":"shock-of-the-future.jpg","fileName":"shock-of-the-future.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":518183,"path":"one/media/5d78/df1e/4166/5e37/d9b9/a77c"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1568202584920,"createdBy":"publish","v":2,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"the-shock-of-the-future","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/the-shock-of-the-future/"],"excerpt":"“What is this shitty music?” says Ana Klimova waking up to tinny French pop...","lastModifiedAt":1568202689170,"lastModifiedBy":"publish","composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d78df1e41665e37d9b9a77c"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d78dfae41665e4415b9a78c"],"people":[],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f"}},{"id":"5d6e8b0216efe680e1324c45","tags":[],"presenter":[],"tv":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"It Chapter Two","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d6e896d16efe621c0324c04","altText":"It Chapter Two","image":{"name":"it-chapter-two-rev-2.jpg","fileName":"it-chapter-two-rev-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":306295,"path":"one/media/5d6e/896d/16ef/e621/c032/4c04"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"*[It Chapter One](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/stephen-king-2017-review/){:target=_blank}*, or whatever we must call it since it made enough millions to birth a chapter two, had its crutches. This was an adaptation of (half of) a beloved book, following in the footsteps of a so-so yet affectionately remembered TV movie, leaning heavily into the never-ending wave of 1980s nostalgia. It all seemed a *little* safe, never completely its own entity.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Yet it overcame this. As Amblin-lite as it was, *It* starred a winning cast of kids and went to town with classic [Stephen King](https://www.empireonline.com/people/stephen-king/){:target=_blank} explorations of domestic trauma. And while never totally terrifying, it boasted a boogeyman for the ages, [Bill Skarsgård](https://www.empireonline.com/people/bill-skarsgard/){:target=_blank} wearing Pennywise like a second skin. A horror with heart, *It* stormed the cinema gates, and the novel’s second timeline, featuring the Losers grown up and back on the clown-conquering beat, was aggressively greenlit. And now, director [Andy Muschietti](https://www.empireonline.com/people/andy-muschietti/){:target=_blank}’s shackles are off.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d6e898416efe65225324c0e","altText":"It Chapter Two","image":{"name":"it-chapter-two-3.jpg","fileName":"it-chapter-two-3.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":918354,"path":"one/media/5d6e/8984/16ef/e652/2532/4c0e"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"*It Chapter Two* is all about crutches. A quick recap of the first film’s epilogue is followed by some voiceover from the adult Mike ([Mustafa](https://www.empireonline.com/people/isaiah-mustafa/){:target=_blank}). “Sometimes, we are what we wish we could forget,” he says. Mike has remained in Derry, but in the 27 years since, the rest of the Losers have split, none of them in touch with each other, all having moved on. In some ways, at least. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"The adult Losers get great intros, Muschietti and screenwriter [Gary Dauberman](https://www.empireonline.com/people/gary-dauberman/){:target=_blank} presenting distinct personalities in precise sequences: having been out of contact for three decades, Mike, obsessed with events throughout, telephones them all with grim news from Derry, resulting in puking, car-crashing and all-round panic. From [Bill Hader](https://www.empireonline.com/people/bill-hader/){:target=_blank}’s Richie, now professionally wisecracking on comedy stages, to [Jessica Chastain](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jessica-chastain/){:target=_blank}’s Beverly, still sadly suffering abuse, to [James McAvoy](https://www.empireonline.com/people/james-mcavoy/){:target=_blank}’s sensitive screenwriter Bill, the success of every re-casting is immediately apparent — all of these characters feel instantly lived-in, vibrant, authentic human beings who you buy from the off.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"It is glorious to see this stuff envisioned on such a huge and self-assured scale, a joy to have a film of this size trading in this sort of genre carnage with such uncompromising and unapologetic style.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"But there the comfort ends. Before we reunite with the Losers, the film itself begins in Derry with a brutal, bone-crunching homophobic attack. More disturbing than anything in chapter one, it announces at once that Muschietti is not playing it safe at all. It is decidedly adult territory, enormously troubling to witness, let alone when it’s married to an even more gruesome, otherworldly coda. This opening does everything horror should do, leaving you shaken mere minutes after the film has begun. Muschietti more-or-less keeps this going throughout its near three-hour runtime.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Genre-wise, *Chapter Two* delights in itself, just as the book did. King conceived *It* as a “final exam on horror”, throwing in all the monsters people were afraid of when he was growing up. Muschietti seems equally in debt to decades of cinematic horror, 1970s and 1980s films being particular influences. There are exquisitely executed scares with the various ghouls, from unsettling background spine-chillers to full-force frightmares. It is both classy and disgusting, the creature design wonderfully inventive, all in the service of scaring you. These, though, are the sideshows. Mere supporting acts for a horrendous headliner.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Pennywise is a real motherfucker in this film. An absolute horrible bastard of a clown. His first appearance is surprisingly nasty, and then so are all the others. Much of his heightened impact here is because more of Skarsgård has been allowed to shine through. This is [Heath Ledger](https://www.empireonline.com/people/heath-ledger/){:target=_blank}-levels of character ownership. A brilliant physical performer, he inhabits Pennywise to diabolical degrees, and the effects, both practical and computer-generated, are next-level — at one point one of his eyes is slightly off, and it’s creepy as hell. Yet in another sequence, he appears without any prosthetics at all, just Skarsgård in ghoulish whiteface, and it’s absurdly horrid. He’s just as scary laid bare. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d6e898d16efe61012324c0f","altText":"It Chapter Two","image":{"name":"it-chapter-two-rev-1.jpg","fileName":"it-chapter-two-rev-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":1330781,"path":"one/media/5d6e/898d/16ef/e610/1232/4c0f"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"This film is not a deep psychological excavation, but that’s fine — it’s as deep as it needs to be. It’s about dealing with your shit, about confronting the things you haven’t let go, the things you’ve suppressed, avoided, run from. Pennywise preys on these personal demons, in ways that are much more elemental than before. Muschietti explored childhood fears with the first film, but the sequel steps things up — there are now years of trauma for Pennywise to poke at. There is more meanness to his tapping into the Losers’ troubles, and their nightmarish excursions feel much more embedded in the story. There was a disconnect to the set-pieces in the first film, but here Pennywise is more integrated, more overtly involved in it all. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"It all reminds you of how good Stephen King is at this stuff. As much as Muschietti comes into his own with this film, it is nevertheless constantly bubbling over with King’s DNA, and whilst Muschietti tightens the book’s focus, he doesn’t cut corners. That threatens to derail it as things progress. With seven Losers, and two versions of each over two timelines — there are flashbacks throughout — there is a *lot* to wrangle. King intentionally took a kitchen-sink approach with the book, hence its 1,138 pages. Muschietti makes it work — his flashbacks complement the present day, the two periods dancing with each other, illuminating each other, beefing up the emotional resonance — but at one point the film feels like it might wear itself out a smidge. And as it heads into a more fantastical arena, it feels in danger of buckling under the weight of its own silliness. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"But. Then. Just as it seems it might be on the verge of losing itself, as the book dictates, it goes fabulously apeshit. What madness it brings. As the film builds towards a nutty climax, there is a whole heap of Grand Guignol insanity, with unashamedly grand, godlike images. It is glorious to see this stuff envisioned on such a huge and self-assured scale, a joy to have a film of this size trading in this sort of genre carnage with such uncompromising and unapologetic style.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCLT_iQQ_38"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Confidence runs through *Chapter Two*. The (almost) contemporary setting means it’s less burdened by superficial nostalgia, allowing Muschietti to more forcefully own it, and it’s tonally perfect. Comedy aside — humour often undercuts the horror, mostly successfully — there is little brightness here, the film shrouded in shadow. Everything conspires to creep you out. Nothing is spared with the set design, especially as things get weird: you can taste the dankness. It is unforgivingly tense, giving you both shivers and jumps. It is spooky on a gut level. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Yet for all the darkness, the sweetness survives. The film has much affection for these Losers, and as an ode to friendship — or at least to age-old bonds — it does fine work. With so many leads, the emotion is handled economically, but sincerely. Muschietti walks a constant tightrope. He never falls off.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"It Chapter Two","subtitle":"","content":["*[It Chapter One](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/stephen-king-2017-review/){:target=_blank}*, or whatever we must call it since it made enough millions to birth a chapter two, had its crutches. This was an adaptation of (half of) a beloved book, following in the footsteps of a so-so yet affectionately remembered TV movie, leaning heavily into the never-ending wave of 1980s nostalgia. It all seemed a *little* safe, never completely its own entity.","Yet it overcame this. As Amblin-lite as it was, *It* starred a winning cast of kids and went to town with classic [Stephen King](https://www.empireonline.com/people/stephen-king/){:target=_blank} explorations of domestic trauma. And while never totally terrifying, it boasted a boogeyman for the ages, [Bill Skarsgård](https://www.empireonline.com/people/bill-skarsgard/){:target=_blank} wearing Pennywise like a second skin. A horror with heart, *It* stormed the cinema gates, and the novel’s second timeline, featuring the Losers grown up and back on the clown-conquering beat, was aggressively greenlit. And now, director [Andy Muschietti](https://www.empireonline.com/people/andy-muschietti/){:target=_blank}’s shackles are off.","*It Chapter Two* is all about crutches. A quick recap of the first film’s epilogue is followed by some voiceover from the adult Mike ([Mustafa](https://www.empireonline.com/people/isaiah-mustafa/){:target=_blank}). “Sometimes, we are what we wish we could forget,” he says. Mike has remained in Derry, but in the 27 years since, the rest of the Losers have split, none of them in touch with each other, all having moved on. In some ways, at least. ","The adult Losers get great intros, Muschietti and screenwriter [Gary Dauberman](https://www.empireonline.com/people/gary-dauberman/){:target=_blank} presenting distinct personalities in precise sequences: having been out of contact for three decades, Mike, obsessed with events throughout, telephones them all with grim news from Derry, resulting in puking, car-crashing and all-round panic. From [Bill Hader](https://www.empireonline.com/people/bill-hader/){:target=_blank}’s Richie, now professionally wisecracking on comedy stages, to [Jessica Chastain](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jessica-chastain/){:target=_blank}’s Beverly, still sadly suffering abuse, to [James McAvoy](https://www.empireonline.com/people/james-mcavoy/){:target=_blank}’s sensitive screenwriter Bill, the success of every re-casting is immediately apparent — all of these characters feel instantly lived-in, vibrant, authentic human beings who you buy from the off.","But there the comfort ends. Before we reunite with the Losers, the film itself begins in Derry with a brutal, bone-crunching homophobic attack. More disturbing than anything in chapter one, it announces at once that Muschietti is not playing it safe at all. It is decidedly adult territory, enormously troubling to witness, let alone when it’s married to an even more gruesome, otherworldly coda. This opening does everything horror should do, leaving you shaken mere minutes after the film has begun. Muschietti more-or-less keeps this going throughout its near three-hour runtime.","Genre-wise, *Chapter Two* delights in itself, just as the book did. King conceived *It* as a “final exam on horror”, throwing in all the monsters people were afraid of when he was growing up. Muschietti seems equally in debt to decades of cinematic horror, 1970s and 1980s films being particular influences. There are exquisitely executed scares with the various ghouls, from unsettling background spine-chillers to full-force frightmares. It is both classy and disgusting, the creature design wonderfully inventive, all in the service of scaring you. These, though, are the sideshows. Mere supporting acts for a horrendous headliner.","Pennywise is a real motherfucker in this film. An absolute horrible bastard of a clown. His first appearance is surprisingly nasty, and then so are all the others. Much of his heightened impact here is because more of Skarsgård has been allowed to shine through. This is [Heath Ledger](https://www.empireonline.com/people/heath-ledger/){:target=_blank}-levels of character ownership. A brilliant physical performer, he inhabits Pennywise to diabolical degrees, and the effects, both practical and computer-generated, are next-level — at one point one of his eyes is slightly off, and it’s creepy as hell. Yet in another sequence, he appears without any prosthetics at all, just Skarsgård in ghoulish whiteface, and it’s absurdly horrid. He’s just as scary laid bare. ","This film is not a deep psychological excavation, but that’s fine — it’s as deep as it needs to be. It’s about dealing with your shit, about confronting the things you haven’t let go, the things you’ve suppressed, avoided, run from. Pennywise preys on these personal demons, in ways that are much more elemental than before. Muschietti explored childhood fears with the first film, but the sequel steps things up — there are now years of trauma for Pennywise to poke at. There is more meanness to his tapping into the Losers’ troubles, and their nightmarish excursions feel much more embedded in the story. There was a disconnect to the set-pieces in the first film, but here Pennywise is more integrated, more overtly involved in it all. ","It all reminds you of how good Stephen King is at this stuff. As much as Muschietti comes into his own with this film, it is nevertheless constantly bubbling over with King’s DNA, and whilst Muschietti tightens the book’s focus, he doesn’t cut corners. That threatens to derail it as things progress. With seven Losers, and two versions of each over two timelines — there are flashbacks throughout — there is a *lot* to wrangle. King intentionally took a kitchen-sink approach with the book, hence its 1,138 pages. Muschietti makes it work — his flashbacks complement the present day, the two periods dancing with each other, illuminating each other, beefing up the emotional resonance — but at one point the film feels like it might wear itself out a smidge. And as it heads into a more fantastical arena, it feels in danger of buckling under the weight of its own silliness. ","But. Then. Just as it seems it might be on the verge of losing itself, as the book dictates, it goes fabulously apeshit. What madness it brings. As the film builds towards a nutty climax, there is a whole heap of Grand Guignol insanity, with unashamedly grand, godlike images. It is glorious to see this stuff envisioned on such a huge and self-assured scale, a joy to have a film of this size trading in this sort of genre carnage with such uncompromising and unapologetic style.","Confidence runs through *Chapter Two*. The (almost) contemporary setting means it’s less burdened by superficial nostalgia, allowing Muschietti to more forcefully own it, and it’s tonally perfect. Comedy aside — humour often undercuts the horror, mostly successfully — there is little brightness here, the film shrouded in shadow. Everything conspires to creep you out. Nothing is spared with the set design, especially as things get weird: you can taste the dankness. It is unforgivingly tense, giving you both shivers and jumps. It is spooky on a gut level. ","Yet for all the darkness, the sweetness survives. The film has much affection for these Losers, and as an ode to friendship — or at least to age-old bonds — it does fine work. With so many leads, the emotion is handled economically, but sincerely. Muschietti walks a constant tightrope. He never falls off."],"pullQuotes":["It is glorious to see this stuff envisioned on such a huge and self-assured scale, a joy to have a film of this size trading in this sort of genre carnage with such uncompromising and unapologetic style."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCLT_iQQ_38"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1567528422,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Alex Godfrey","publicationDate":1567526400000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"5","verdict":"A psychologically merciless sequel, everything here is as it should be: deeper, scarier, funnier. Muschietti in particular has stepped up, skilfully guiding us through a rollicking funhouse. It is obscenely entertaining.","nutshell":"In 2016, 27 years after terrorising the town of Derry, big-headed clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) is back, a bodycount rising in his wake. Having researched the monster’s history, Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) tracks down the estranged members 
of The Losers’ Club, getting them to make good on their promise to fight once more.","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"The grown-up Losers Club return to Derry, Maine 17 years later to battle Pennywise once again in Stephen King's epic horror. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":[{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1567525707374},{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1567525937829},{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1567526401250}],"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"people":[{"id":"59e4c925f9648a12d2ed7dc0","furl":"james-mcavoy","name":"James McAvoy","heroImage":[{"id":"5d11131aa91b155aa79952ac","altText":"James McAvoy","caption":"James McAvoy","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"26UEbgEJ8sH3JUgQd6qDaNnJEbS.jpg","name":"26UEbgEJ8sH3JUgQd6qDaNnJEbS.jpg","width":396,"height":594,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/5530/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d11131aa91b155aa79952ac"]}},{"id":"59e4c91af9648a12d2ed78ba","furl":"jessica-chastain","name":"Jessica Chastain","profileImage":[{"id":"59e4c91af9648a12d2ed78b9","altText":"rexfeatures_4251888r","image":{"fileName":"rexfeatures_4251888r_700x1050.jpg","name":"rexfeatures_4251888r_700x1050.jpg","path":"one/lifestyle-images/people/569e46e1375e84fc0cc1b733","mimeType":"image/jpeg"},"caption":"Jessica Chastain hit back at Russell Crowe\\\\\\'s comments on women in film [Pic: Rex]","credits":""}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d1112ffa91b155aa7994284","altText":"Jessica Chastain","caption":"Jessica Chastain","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"1kS81Pio4ga1FoeYTVWGkGcmEDS.jpg","name":"1kS81Pio4ga1FoeYTVWGkGcmEDS.jpg","width":540,"height":720,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/83002/profiles"}}],"composed":{"profileImage":["59e4c91af9648a12d2ed78b9"],"heroImage":["5d1112ffa91b155aa7994284"]}},{"id":"5d1112baa91b155aa7991571","furl":"bill-hader","name":"Bill Hader","heroImage":[{"id":"5d1112baa91b155aa7991566","altText":"Bill Hader","caption":"Bill Hader","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"3Z5JsyLw7YTLZgpA3FAlLmFSN9F.jpg","name":"3Z5JsyLw7YTLZgpA3FAlLmFSN9F.jpg","width":1000,"height":1500,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/19278/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d1112baa91b155aa7991566"]}},{"id":"5d111276a91b155aa798d9c3","furl":"bill-skarsgard","name":"Bill Skarsgard","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111276a91b155aa798d9ba","altText":"Bill Skarsgard","caption":"Bill Skarsgard","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"5tChIWkdTHdvR8IzjMeJosWsDuQ.jpg","name":"5tChIWkdTHdvR8IzjMeJosWsDuQ.jpg","width":968,"height":1395,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/137905/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111276a91b155aa798d9ba"]}},{"id":"5d1113a8a91b155aa7998f6f","furl":"isaiah-mustafa","name":"Isaiah Mustafa","heroImage":[{"id":"5d1113a8a91b155aa7998f6c","altText":"Isaiah Mustafa","caption":"Isaiah Mustafa","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"3rAI4zyEGGPnnnASxZpW5u0TCi3.jpg","name":"3rAI4zyEGGPnnnASxZpW5u0TCi3.jpg","width":400,"height":600,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/1237603/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d1113a8a91b155aa7998f6c"]}},{"id":"5d11138ca91b155aa79984f4","furl":"james-ransone","name":"James Ransone","heroImage":[{"id":"5d11138ca91b155aa79984f1","altText":"James Ransone","caption":"James Ransone","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"7E37MLGVDnuzfEvF8TBOqaL232m.jpg","name":"7E37MLGVDnuzfEvF8TBOqaL232m.jpg","width":480,"height":720,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/5296/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d11138ca91b155aa79984f1"]}},{"id":"5d1112cfa91b155aa7992433","furl":"jaeden-lieberher","name":"Jaeden Lieberher","heroImage":[{"id":"5d1112cfa91b155aa799242e","altText":"Jaeden Lieberher","caption":"Jaeden Lieberher","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"sTG7NVETOtAo4JGddASlsxz5ly2.jpg","name":"sTG7NVETOtAo4JGddASlsxz5ly2.jpg","width":2000,"height":3000,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/1274508/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d1112cfa91b155aa799242e"]}},{"id":"5d11144aa91b155aa799cab5","furl":"jack-dylan-grazer","name":"Jack Dylan Grazer","heroImage":[{"id":"5d11144aa91b155aa799cab1","altText":"Jack Dylan Grazer","caption":"Jack Dylan Grazer","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"q3eF91Q7A3t5GFB5N0S7A1OSvV0.jpg","name":"q3eF91Q7A3t5GFB5N0S7A1OSvV0.jpg","width":523,"height":784,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/1774679/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d11144aa91b155aa799cab1"]}},{"id":"5d111449a91b155aa799ca6c","furl":"finn-wolfhard","name":"Finn Wolfhard","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111449a91b155aa799ca68","altText":"Finn Wolfhard","caption":"Finn Wolfhard","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"fMCfuF7OaekBBsPSvzHSPSZgmOZ.jpg","name":"fMCfuF7OaekBBsPSvzHSPSZgmOZ.jpg","width":683,"height":1024,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/1442069/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111449a91b155aa799ca68"]}},{"id":"5d111293a91b155aa798f4c9","furl":"andy-muschietti","name":"Andy Muschietti","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111293a91b155aa798f4c7","altText":"Andy Muschietti","caption":"Andy Muschietti","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"vWiAwINWnwr3sZWdLJ7pt6LrUkb.jpg","name":"vWiAwINWnwr3sZWdLJ7pt6LrUkb.jpg","width":666,"height":999,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/1113116/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111293a91b155aa798f4c7"]}}],"film":[{"id":"5d11150ea91b155aa79a45ef","furl":"chapter-two","title":"It: Chapter Two","website":"","composed":{}}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d6e896d16efe621c0324c04","altText":"It Chapter Two","image":{"name":"it-chapter-two-rev-2.jpg","fileName":"it-chapter-two-rev-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":306295,"path":"one/media/5d6e/896d/16ef/e621/c032/4c04"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"images":[{"id":"5d6e898416efe65225324c0e","altText":"It Chapter Two","image":{"name":"it-chapter-two-3.jpg","fileName":"it-chapter-two-3.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":918354,"path":"one/media/5d6e/8984/16ef/e652/2532/4c0e"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},{"id":"5d6e898d16efe61012324c0f","altText":"It Chapter Two","image":{"name":"it-chapter-two-rev-1.jpg","fileName":"it-chapter-two-rev-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":1330781,"path":"one/media/5d6e/898d/16ef/e610/1232/4c0f"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1567525633719,"createdBy":"publish","v":4,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"it-chapter-two","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/it-chapter-two/"],"excerpt":"It Chapter One, or whatever we must call it since it made enough millions to...","lastModifiedAt":1567526401235,"lastModifiedBy":"publish","composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d6e896d16efe621c0324c04"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"images":["5d6e898416efe65225324c0e","5d6e898d16efe61012324c0f"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d11150ea91b155aa79a45ef"],"people":["59e4c925f9648a12d2ed7dc0","59e4c91af9648a12d2ed78ba","5d1112baa91b155aa7991571","5d111276a91b155aa798d9c3","5d1113a8a91b155aa7998f6f","5d11138ca91b155aa79984f4","5d1112cfa91b155aa7992433","5d11144aa91b155aa799cab5","5d111449a91b155aa799ca6c","5d111293a91b155aa798f4c9"],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f"}},{"id":"5d6cfea716efe63ec8322206","tags":[],"presenter":[],"people":[],"tv":[],"film":[{"id":"5d6cff2216efe6c0f4322264","title":"The Shiny Shrimps","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d6cfef516efe6719332225c","altText":"The Shiny Shrimps","image":{"name":"shiny-shrimps-2.jpg","fileName":"shiny-shrimps-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":731676,"path":"one/media/5d6c/fef5/16ef/e671/9332/225c"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"furl":"the-shiny-shrimps","composed":{"heroImage":["5d6cfef516efe6719332225c"]}}],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"The Shiny Shrimps","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d6cfe8216efe6ce893221fe","altText":"The Shiny Shrimps","image":{"name":"shiny-shrimps-1.jpg","fileName":"shiny-shrimps-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":759359,"path":"one/media/5d6c/fe82/16ef/e6ce/8932/21fe"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"A film about a group of disparate men coming together through the medium of water sports, *The Shiny Shrimps* is everything last year’s *[Swimming With Men](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/swimming-men-review/){:target=_blank}* wasn’t. A huge hit in its native France, the story is ripped from co-director Cédric Le Gallo’s experiences playing for a gay water-polo team actually called *The Shiny Shrimps* — “shrimps” because they are water-based, “shiny” because they are fabulous — but transforms the reality into gleeful, fizzy, big-hearted fun.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d6cfe8a16efe634023221ff","altText":"The Shiny Shrimps","image":{"name":"shiny-shrimps-2.jpg","fileName":"shiny-shrimps-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":731676,"path":"one/media/5d6c/fe8a/16ef/e634/0232/21ff"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"The set-up is economically sketched. Swimmer Matthias Le Goff (Gob) uses a gay slur on TV and, as public penance for his sins, is forced by the sport’s governing body to coach a largely useless gay water-polo team named *The Shiny Shrimps*, who have no interest in winning (which is anathema to Le Goff) and every interest in having fun. Happily, the screenplay mostly avoids clichéd gay stereotypes to create a diverse bunch of men at different life stages with different obstacles to overcome; from team leader Jean (Alban Lenoir), who is guarding a secret, to Cédric (Michaël Abiteboul), who is married with kids but feigns working away to play with the Shrimps; from Joël (Roland Menou), the oldest in the group and from a different more radical generation, to Vincent (Martinez), a young newcomer from the country still trying to find his place in the world. Only Fred (Romain Brau), a Gaultier-clad transsexual woman, falls into caricature with a running joke about initiating group choreography.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Le Gallo and Govare’s handling of tone is masterful, seamlessly shifting from broad comedy to intimate moments of drama without ever grinding the gears.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"Once the film has set its stall out, *The Shiny Shrimps* takes the form of a road movie as the team ride a double-decker bus — very *The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert* — to the Gay Games in Croatia. En route, there are comedic pranks (the gang get their clothes stolen while naked skinny-dipping), top-deck sing-songs (an acoustic take on Sabrina’s ’80s club classic ‘Boys (Summertime Love)’), unusual training methods (an impromptu game of dodgeball) and a more serious turn of events (a brutal assault in a lavatory). But Le Gallo and Govare’s handling of tone is masterful, seamlessly shifting from broad comedy to intimate moments of drama without ever grinding the gears.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feL5tANkH98"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"There are some surprises along the way, but mostly *The Shiny Shrimps* sticks to the band-of-outsiders-come-good playbook. Le Goff’s obvious arc from bigotry to tolerance is a well-travelled one in cinema but Gob makes it work, grounding the film with reserve and sincerity. It’s hard to think of a ‘sports film’ that cares so little about the sport it portrays, but by the time you get to the Gay Games, Le Gallo and Govare have bigger fish to fry — the film’s ending guarantees there will be waterworks of a different kind.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"The Shiny Shrimps","subtitle":"","content":["A film about a group of disparate men coming together through the medium of water sports, *The Shiny Shrimps* is everything last year’s *[Swimming With Men](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/swimming-men-review/){:target=_blank}* wasn’t. A huge hit in its native France, the story is ripped from co-director Cédric Le Gallo’s experiences playing for a gay water-polo team actually called *The Shiny Shrimps* — “shrimps” because they are water-based, “shiny” because they are fabulous — but transforms the reality into gleeful, fizzy, big-hearted fun.","The set-up is economically sketched. Swimmer Matthias Le Goff (Gob) uses a gay slur on TV and, as public penance for his sins, is forced by the sport’s governing body to coach a largely useless gay water-polo team named *The Shiny Shrimps*, who have no interest in winning (which is anathema to Le Goff) and every interest in having fun. Happily, the screenplay mostly avoids clichéd gay stereotypes to create a diverse bunch of men at different life stages with different obstacles to overcome; from team leader Jean (Alban Lenoir), who is guarding a secret, to Cédric (Michaël Abiteboul), who is married with kids but feigns working away to play with the Shrimps; from Joël (Roland Menou), the oldest in the group and from a different more radical generation, to Vincent (Martinez), a young newcomer from the country still trying to find his place in the world. Only Fred (Romain Brau), a Gaultier-clad transsexual woman, falls into caricature with a running joke about initiating group choreography.","Once the film has set its stall out, *The Shiny Shrimps* takes the form of a road movie as the team ride a double-decker bus — very *The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert* — to the Gay Games in Croatia. En route, there are comedic pranks (the gang get their clothes stolen while naked skinny-dipping), top-deck sing-songs (an acoustic take on Sabrina’s ’80s club classic ‘Boys (Summertime Love)’), unusual training methods (an impromptu game of dodgeball) and a more serious turn of events (a brutal assault in a lavatory). But Le Gallo and Govare’s handling of tone is masterful, seamlessly shifting from broad comedy to intimate moments of drama without ever grinding the gears.","There are some surprises along the way, but mostly *The Shiny Shrimps* sticks to the band-of-outsiders-come-good playbook. Le Goff’s obvious arc from bigotry to tolerance is a well-travelled one in cinema but Gob makes it work, grounding the film with reserve and sincerity. It’s hard to think of a ‘sports film’ that cares so little about the sport it portrays, but by the time you get to the Gay Games, Le Gallo and Govare have bigger fish to fry — the film’s ending guarantees there will be waterworks of a different kind."],"pullQuotes":["Le Gallo and Govare’s handling of tone is masterful, seamlessly shifting from broad comedy to intimate moments of drama without ever grinding the gears."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feL5tANkH98"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1567427206,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Ian Freer","publicationDate":1567424332887,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"4","verdict":"The Shiny Shrimps is a warm, inclusive hug of a movie. The filmmaking is prosaic but wins you over with infectious exuberance and huge heart. ","nutshell":"French swimming champion Matthias Le Goff (Nicolas Gob) is on the brink of success until a homophobic remark made on national television puts his promising career in jeopardy. To make amends, the national swimming federation decrees he must coach The Shiny Shrimps — an amateur, unmotivated, gay water-polo team.","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":[{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1567424332876}],"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"heroImage":[{"id":"5d6cfe8216efe6ce893221fe","altText":"The Shiny Shrimps","image":{"name":"shiny-shrimps-1.jpg","fileName":"shiny-shrimps-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":759359,"path":"one/media/5d6c/fe82/16ef/e6ce/8932/21fe"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"images":[{"id":"5d6cfe8a16efe634023221ff","altText":"The Shiny Shrimps","image":{"name":"shiny-shrimps-2.jpg","fileName":"shiny-shrimps-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":731676,"path":"one/media/5d6c/fe8a/16ef/e634/0232/21ff"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1567424166674,"createdBy":"publish","v":2,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"the-shiny-shrimps","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/the-shiny-shrimps/"],"excerpt":"A film about a group of disparate men coming together through the medium of...","lastModifiedAt":1567424332864,"lastModifiedBy":"publish","composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d6cfe8216efe6ce893221fe"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"images":["5d6cfe8a16efe634023221ff"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d6cff2216efe6c0f4322264"],"people":[],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f"}},{"id":"5d72221addd89c4034dec3ad","tags":[],"presenter":[],"people":[],"tv":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"Rojo","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d722137ddd89ce705dec388","altText":"Rojo","image":{"name":"rojo.jpg","fileName":"rojo.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":790773,"path":"one/media/5d72/2137/ddd8/9ce7/05de/c388"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"Twenty-three minutes elapse before the title of Benjamin Naishtat's third feature appears on screen. By this time we've seen a well-appointed provincial house being calmly looted by outwardly respectable citizens and a newcomer to town denouncing his fellow diners as Nazis after they had acquiesced in his character assassination by the lawyer whose table he had taken after an icily polite exchange. Three months separate the incidents, which occurred shortly before the coup that launched Argentina's Dirty War. But, with an eye as much on the present as on the past, Naishtat makes it clear that the socio-political prerequisites for a period of murderous oppression were firmly in place before the junta seized power. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d722141ddd89c4b9bdec38f","altText":"Rojo","image":{"name":"rojo-2.jpg","fileName":"rojo-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":898272,"path":"one/media/5d72/2141/ddd8/9c4b/9bde/c38f"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"This isn't a dour dramatisation of Argentina's darkest hour, however. The eclipse that briefly turns the screen red suggests a subtler shading that reveals the influence of Claude Chabrol, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Pablo Larrain on a scalpel-sharp dissection of the despicable charm of the bourgeoisie. Indeed, there are moments of acidic humour, as a troupe of American cowboys gets stranded after participating in a rodeo and Dieguito (Alfredo Castro), a Chilean cop who has become a TV celebrity, does his best Columbo impression. There's even something droll about the fact that the noirish conspiracies in which balding, moustachioed lawyer Claudio (Darío Grandinetti) becomes entangled are played out in the glare of the desert sun.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKdTPuCgqkU"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Excellent though the performances are, the ensemble is somewhat upstaged by Naishtat's creative team. The muted colours in Julieta Dolinsky's production design have a tonal potency that is reinforced by Vincent Van Warmerdam's insinuating score, which follows Pedro Sotero's stealthy camerawork and Andres Quaranta's pugnacious editing in taking its cues from the aesthetics of ‘70s arthouse cinema. The cumulative effect is to disconcert and remind us how easily the everyday can spiral into the nightmarish.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Rojo","subtitle":"","content":["Twenty-three minutes elapse before the title of Benjamin Naishtat's third feature appears on screen. By this time we've seen a well-appointed provincial house being calmly looted by outwardly respectable citizens and a newcomer to town denouncing his fellow diners as Nazis after they had acquiesced in his character assassination by the lawyer whose table he had taken after an icily polite exchange. Three months separate the incidents, which occurred shortly before the coup that launched Argentina's Dirty War. But, with an eye as much on the present as on the past, Naishtat makes it clear that the socio-political prerequisites for a period of murderous oppression were firmly in place before the junta seized power. ","This isn't a dour dramatisation of Argentina's darkest hour, however. The eclipse that briefly turns the screen red suggests a subtler shading that reveals the influence of Claude Chabrol, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Pablo Larrain on a scalpel-sharp dissection of the despicable charm of the bourgeoisie. Indeed, there are moments of acidic humour, as a troupe of American cowboys gets stranded after participating in a rodeo and Dieguito (Alfredo Castro), a Chilean cop who has become a TV celebrity, does his best Columbo impression. There's even something droll about the fact that the noirish conspiracies in which balding, moustachioed lawyer Claudio (Darío Grandinetti) becomes entangled are played out in the glare of the desert sun.","Excellent though the performances are, the ensemble is somewhat upstaged by Naishtat's creative team. The muted colours in Julieta Dolinsky's production design have a tonal potency that is reinforced by Vincent Van Warmerdam's insinuating score, which follows Pedro Sotero's stealthy camerawork and Andres Quaranta's pugnacious editing in taking its cues from the aesthetics of ‘70s arthouse cinema. The cumulative effect is to disconcert and remind us how easily the everyday can spiral into the nightmarish."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKdTPuCgqkU"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1564879917,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"David Parkinson","publicationDate":1567414801000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"4","verdict":"With each subplot reinforcing the simmering sense of unease, this compelling recreation of a pernicious period soberingly exposes the ease with which morality can become a casualty of human nature. ","nutshell":"While facilitating a shady property deal in 1970s Argentina, small-town lawyer Claudio (Dario Grandinetti) becomes embroiled in an investigation being conducted by celebrated Chilean detective Sinclair (Alfredo Castro) into the disappearance of Dieguito (Diego Cremonesi), the confrontational stranger Claudio had humiliated during a very public argument in a restaurant. ","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Dario Grandinetti and Andrea Frigero star in Benjamin Naishtat's drama. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben"},"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"film":[{"id":"5d72212cddd89cfaf3dec37f","title":"Rojo","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d722115ddd89c519edec37e","altText":"Rojo","image":{"name":"rojo-2.jpg","fileName":"rojo-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":898272,"path":"one/media/5d72/2115/ddd8/9c51/9ede/c37e"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"furl":"rojo","composed":{"heroImage":["5d722115ddd89c519edec37e"]}}],"images":[{"id":"5d722141ddd89c4b9bdec38f","altText":"Rojo","image":{"name":"rojo-2.jpg","fileName":"rojo-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":898272,"path":"one/media/5d72/2141/ddd8/9c4b/9bde/c38f"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d722137ddd89ce705dec388","altText":"Rojo","image":{"name":"rojo.jpg","fileName":"rojo.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":790773,"path":"one/media/5d72/2137/ddd8/9ce7/05de/c388"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1567760922264,"createdBy":"publish","v":1,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"rojo","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/rojo/"],"excerpt":"Twenty-three minutes elapse before the title of Benjamin Naishtat's third...","composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d722137ddd89ce705dec388"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"images":["5d722141ddd89c4b9bdec38f"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d72212cddd89cfaf3dec37f"],"people":[],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f"}},{"id":"5d6a570916efe6d7ce31ebfb","tags":[],"presenter":[],"tv":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"Joker","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d6a561616efe648e131ebe8","altText":"Joker","image":{"name":"joker-rev-main.jpg","fileName":"joker-rev-main.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":533878,"path":"one/media/5d6a/5616/16ef/e648/e131/ebe8"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"1981 in Gotham City. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. There’s a garbage strike, rats rampaging in the piled-up trash, parts of the city are no better than slums and Arthur Fleck, troubled professional clown and wannabe stand-up comedian, sits in front of a mirror, slowly painting his face. He attempts to smile and resorts to holding the corners of his mouth up in a grin that stretches from ear to ear. A single tear rolls down his cheek unnoticed, pulling his make-up with it. So begins *[Joker](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/joker/){:target=_blank}*. There’s not a costume or burst of CGI in sight. Just a man. A sad clown.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Arthur is one of life’s victims, one of life’s “freaks”. He’s beaten-up, mocked, abused. He’s all too familiar with the taste of blood in his mouth. But he’s not just a loner or misunderstood; he can’t engage with the world at all. Everyday existence is simply impossible as the rules and codes that structure a society – even one as broken and busted as Gotham – remain unknowable to him. He stands outside of the world instead, partly due to a condition which causes uncontrollable laughter (often in the worst situations), his eyes thick with pain and sadness as another laughing fit overcomes him and the world retreats yet further.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d6a562016efe661ff31ebe9","altText":"Joker","image":{"name":"joker-rev-2.jpg","fileName":"joker-rev-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":653570,"path":"one/media/5d6a/5620/16ef/e661/ff31/ebe9"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"“I just don’t want to feel so bad anymore,” whispers Arthur, who’s also on seven different types of medication and has been in the system for most of his life. A system that now has no resources or time for him. A desperate whisper that you know won’t be heard by anyone. That simply signifies the beginning of both a descent and his path to becoming the Joker. This is ultimately what _Joker_ is: an origin story. One that touches only ever so lightly on what has come before in the DC Universe.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"It’s a character and a movie that’s liberated, entirely. Free to be whatever and whomever it choose.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"This could, particularly in the current climate, be viewed as a lament for outsiders and the ignored. That’s too simple and _Joker_ does anything but deliver you easy answers. It’s a sad, chaotic, slow-burn study of someone who isn’t visible; who doesn’t even exist to the world around them. But your empathy, sympathy even, isn’t guaranteed, and it begins to dissolve as Arthur somehow moves even further to the edges. This is, we mustn’t forget, the story of how a _villain_ was made. But what writer/director [Todd Phillips](https://www.empireonline.com/people/todd-phillips/){:target=_blank} and co-writer [Scott Silver](https://www.empireonline.com/people/scott-silver/){:target=_blank} (_8 Mile_, _The Fighter_) have written into life is the Joker as a _character_. What they and the film is interested in is the mental, moral, emotional, physical make-up of the man who became the Joker.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"As Arthur/Joker, Joaquin Phoenix is astonishing. Phillips has said he had a picture of the actor above his screen when writing the script and it’s a belief that has paid off. Phoenix inhabits Arthur: having lost weight for the role, he looks thin, frail, hungry. Shadows carve out his exposed bones. His physicality is precise — the way he moves, shuffles, runs, sits, smokes, shrinks. His usual intensity is on full display and it’s captivating, even overwhelming in moments. Comparing him to [Heath Ledger](https://www.empireonline.com/people/heath-ledger/){:target=_blank} and [Jack Nicholson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jack-nicholson/){:target=_blank} feels like a nonsense: this is a Joker we’ve never seen — in many respects it isn’t _the_ Joker, it’s Arthur.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"This is a deliberate consequence of stepping away from the source material. Phillips has said that though elements were drawn from 1988 graphic novel _The Killing Joke_ (in which the Joker is an unsuccessful stand-up), the film doesn’t follow the comic books. A bold move for a universe with such an ardent fan base, but it’s the film’s greatest asset. Not only does it, and the character, sit completely apart from the rest of the DC Cinematic Universe, but it stands apart from comic book movies entirely (even *[The Dark Knight](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/dark-knight-review/){:target=_blank}*, as grounded as it was). It’s a character and a movie that’s liberated, entirely. Free to be whatever and whomever it choose.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5oZx61dRZw"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"While this is Phoenix’s film, [Frances Conroy](https://www.empireonline.com/people/frances-conroy/){:target=_blank} is quietly devastating as Arthur’s mother Penny, and [Zazie Beetz](https://www.empireonline.com/people/zazie-beetz/){:target=_blank}, as neighbour Sophie Dumond, while arguably underused, brings vital humanity to her scenes with Arthur. The most talked-about piece of casting was obviously [Robert De Niro](https://www.empireonline.com/people/robert-de-niro/){:target=_blank} as late-night TV host Murray Franklin. Phillips has made no secret of his love for *[The King Of Comedy](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/king-comedy-review/){:target=_blank}* and it’s a sprinkle of magic to see Rupert Pupkin become Murray Franklin.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Mention must be made of _Joker_’s cello score by Hildur Guðnadóttir — mournful, dark and fractured — and the cinematography by Lawrence Sher. In his hands, Gotham is alive as a flawed, brutal, broken-hearted character in its own right. Oppressive and oppressed, with a glimmer of light that never truly gets in. It throbs at the very heart of the film, waiting for what is destined to come. And the two things entwine perfectly as Arthur dances between the light and the shadows, each bone visible and sharp as the strings swell and scratch.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Joker","subtitle":"","content":["1981 in Gotham City. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. There’s a garbage strike, rats rampaging in the piled-up trash, parts of the city are no better than slums and Arthur Fleck, troubled professional clown and wannabe stand-up comedian, sits in front of a mirror, slowly painting his face. He attempts to smile and resorts to holding the corners of his mouth up in a grin that stretches from ear to ear. A single tear rolls down his cheek unnoticed, pulling his make-up with it. So begins *[Joker](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/joker/){:target=_blank}*. There’s not a costume or burst of CGI in sight. Just a man. A sad clown.","Arthur is one of life’s victims, one of life’s “freaks”. He’s beaten-up, mocked, abused. He’s all too familiar with the taste of blood in his mouth. But he’s not just a loner or misunderstood; he can’t engage with the world at all. Everyday existence is simply impossible as the rules and codes that structure a society – even one as broken and busted as Gotham – remain unknowable to him. He stands outside of the world instead, partly due to a condition which causes uncontrollable laughter (often in the worst situations), his eyes thick with pain and sadness as another laughing fit overcomes him and the world retreats yet further.","“I just don’t want to feel so bad anymore,” whispers Arthur, who’s also on seven different types of medication and has been in the system for most of his life. A system that now has no resources or time for him. A desperate whisper that you know won’t be heard by anyone. That simply signifies the beginning of both a descent and his path to becoming the Joker. This is ultimately what _Joker_ is: an origin story. One that touches only ever so lightly on what has come before in the DC Universe.","This could, particularly in the current climate, be viewed as a lament for outsiders and the ignored. That’s too simple and _Joker_ does anything but deliver you easy answers. It’s a sad, chaotic, slow-burn study of someone who isn’t visible; who doesn’t even exist to the world around them. But your empathy, sympathy even, isn’t guaranteed, and it begins to dissolve as Arthur somehow moves even further to the edges. This is, we mustn’t forget, the story of how a _villain_ was made. But what writer/director [Todd Phillips](https://www.empireonline.com/people/todd-phillips/){:target=_blank} and co-writer [Scott Silver](https://www.empireonline.com/people/scott-silver/){:target=_blank} (_8 Mile_, _The Fighter_) have written into life is the Joker as a _character_. What they and the film is interested in is the mental, moral, emotional, physical make-up of the man who became the Joker.","As Arthur/Joker, Joaquin Phoenix is astonishing. Phillips has said he had a picture of the actor above his screen when writing the script and it’s a belief that has paid off. Phoenix inhabits Arthur: having lost weight for the role, he looks thin, frail, hungry. Shadows carve out his exposed bones. His physicality is precise — the way he moves, shuffles, runs, sits, smokes, shrinks. His usual intensity is on full display and it’s captivating, even overwhelming in moments. Comparing him to [Heath Ledger](https://www.empireonline.com/people/heath-ledger/){:target=_blank} and [Jack Nicholson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jack-nicholson/){:target=_blank} feels like a nonsense: this is a Joker we’ve never seen — in many respects it isn’t _the_ Joker, it’s Arthur.","This is a deliberate consequence of stepping away from the source material. Phillips has said that though elements were drawn from 1988 graphic novel _The Killing Joke_ (in which the Joker is an unsuccessful stand-up), the film doesn’t follow the comic books. A bold move for a universe with such an ardent fan base, but it’s the film’s greatest asset. Not only does it, and the character, sit completely apart from the rest of the DC Cinematic Universe, but it stands apart from comic book movies entirely (even *[The Dark Knight](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/dark-knight-review/){:target=_blank}*, as grounded as it was). It’s a character and a movie that’s liberated, entirely. Free to be whatever and whomever it choose.","While this is Phoenix’s film, [Frances Conroy](https://www.empireonline.com/people/frances-conroy/){:target=_blank} is quietly devastating as Arthur’s mother Penny, and [Zazie Beetz](https://www.empireonline.com/people/zazie-beetz/){:target=_blank}, as neighbour Sophie Dumond, while arguably underused, brings vital humanity to her scenes with Arthur. The most talked-about piece of casting was obviously [Robert De Niro](https://www.empireonline.com/people/robert-de-niro/){:target=_blank} as late-night TV host Murray Franklin. Phillips has made no secret of his love for *[The King Of Comedy](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/king-comedy-review/){:target=_blank}* and it’s a sprinkle of magic to see Rupert Pupkin become Murray Franklin.","Mention must be made of _Joker_’s cello score by Hildur Guðnadóttir — mournful, dark and fractured — and the cinematography by Lawrence Sher. In his hands, Gotham is alive as a flawed, brutal, broken-hearted character in its own right. Oppressive and oppressed, with a glimmer of light that never truly gets in. It throbs at the very heart of the film, waiting for what is destined to come. And the two things entwine perfectly as Arthur dances between the light and the shadows, each bone visible and sharp as the strings swell and scratch."],"pullQuotes":["It’s a character and a movie that’s liberated, entirely. Free to be whatever and whomever it choose."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5oZx61dRZw"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1565413671,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Terri White","publicationDate":1567271700000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"5","verdict":"Bold, devastating and utterly beautiful, Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have not just reimagined one of the most iconic villains in cinema history, but reimagined the comic book movie itself.","nutshell":"Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is an unsuccessful clown and an even more unsuccessful stand-up comedian. As he attempts to simply exist in a broken-down and beaten-up Gotham City, a sequence of violent events will lead to a revolt in the city and the birth of the Joker. ","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck becomes iconic DC Comics villain Joker in Todd Phillips' origin story movie. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":[{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1567250380506},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1567250381303},{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1567250431437},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1567250432222},{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1567271085758},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1567271086458},{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1567271098136},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1567271098979},{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1567271702036},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1567271702234}],"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"people":[{"id":"5d1113e6a91b155aa799a591","furl":"joaquin-phoenix","name":"Joaquin Phoenix","heroImage":[{"id":"5d1113e6a91b155aa799a579","altText":"Joaquin Phoenix","caption":"Joaquin Phoenix","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"3IhxPwyUovZGbsdwhcaU0Kvm37J.jpg","name":"3IhxPwyUovZGbsdwhcaU0Kvm37J.jpg","width":1000,"height":1500,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/73421/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d1113e6a91b155aa799a579"]}},{"id":"5d111444a91b155aa799c88d","furl":"zazie-beetz","name":"Zazie Beetz","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111444a91b155aa799c88a","altText":"Zazie Beetz","caption":"Zazie Beetz","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"sgxzT54GnvgeMnOZgpQQx9csAdd.jpg","name":"sgxzT54GnvgeMnOZgpQQx9csAdd.jpg","width":2000,"height":3000,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/1545693/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111444a91b155aa799c88a"]}},{"id":"5d11126ba91b155aa798ce12","furl":"robert-de-niro","name":"Robert De Niro","heroImage":[{"id":"5d11126ba91b155aa798cdf9","altText":"Robert De Niro","caption":"Robert De Niro","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"8Bgdfv1oN9Mw0YuMHP6fw8KzDkc.jpg","name":"8Bgdfv1oN9Mw0YuMHP6fw8KzDkc.jpg","width":320,"height":480,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/380/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d11126ba91b155aa798cdf9"]}},{"id":"5d11141ea91b155aa799b899","furl":"frances-conroy","name":"Frances Conroy","heroImage":[{"id":"5d11141ea91b155aa799b894","altText":"Frances Conroy","caption":"Frances Conroy","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"mQsO4JrmYWKTXtFg7u3zhYGiXfM.jpg","name":"mQsO4JrmYWKTXtFg7u3zhYGiXfM.jpg","width":540,"height":720,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/4432/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d11141ea91b155aa799b894"]}},{"id":"5d11129ea91b155aa798ff1c","furl":"todd-phillips","name":"Todd Phillips","heroImage":[{"id":"5d11129ea91b155aa798ff1a","altText":"Todd Phillips","caption":"Todd Phillips","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"427q515P1ppOrJrQmQwxj16zZZ6.jpg","name":"427q515P1ppOrJrQmQwxj16zZZ6.jpg","width":540,"height":720,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/57130/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d11129ea91b155aa798ff1a"]}}],"film":[{"id":"5d111510a91b155aa79a4687","furl":"joker","title":"Joker","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111510a91b155aa79a4686","altText":"Joker","caption":"Joker","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"4PeIPAu1LZt8oqCC6UAtpjgFAHX.jpg","name":"4PeIPAu1LZt8oqCC6UAtpjgFAHX.jpg","width":1920,"height":1080,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/films/475557/images"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111510a91b155aa79a4686"]}}],"images":[{"id":"5d6a562016efe661ff31ebe9","altText":"Joker","image":{"name":"joker-rev-2.jpg","fileName":"joker-rev-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":653570,"path":"one/media/5d6a/5620/16ef/e661/ff31/ebe9"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d6a561616efe648e131ebe8","altText":"Joker","image":{"name":"joker-rev-main.jpg","fileName":"joker-rev-main.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":533878,"path":"one/media/5d6a/5616/16ef/e648/e131/ebe8"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1567250185032,"createdBy":"publish","v":11,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"joker","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/joker/"],"excerpt":"1981 in Gotham City. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting...","lastModifiedAt":1567271702024,"lastModifiedBy":"publish","heroImageLandscape":[null],"heroImagePortrait":[null],"heroImageThumb":[null],"heroImageThumbLandscape":[null],"contentImageCrop":[null],"composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d6a561616efe648e131ebe8"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"images":["5d6a562016efe661ff31ebe9"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d111510a91b155aa79a4687"],"people":["5d1113e6a91b155aa799a591","5d111444a91b155aa799c88d","5d11126ba91b155aa798ce12","5d11141ea91b155aa799b899","5d11129ea91b155aa798ff1c"],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f"}},{"id":"5d6932512ce57ebf92186832","tags":[],"presenter":[],"tv":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"Judy","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d692ff72ce57e1ecb1867fa","altText":"Judy","image":{"name":"judy.jpg","fileName":"judy.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":882152,"path":"one/media/5d69/2ff7/2ce5/7e1e/cb18/67fa"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"There is an image around halfway through _[Judy](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/judy/){:target=_blank}_ that captures Judy Garland ([Zellweger](https://www.empireonline.com/people/renee-zellweger/){:target=_blank}) slumped in her dressing room, head bowed, cigarette burning in hand, surrounded by wall-to-wall flowers, a depleted Garland before literal garlands. It’s a moment that gets to the heart of the last days of Garland’s life, the difference between the private and the public, despair and sadness crystallised against a rose-coloured world-view. It’s something [Rupert Goold](https://www.empireonline.com/people/rupert-goold/){:target=_blank}’s film doesn’t quite manage again. For, despite an imposing performance by Renée Zellweger, _Judy_ never exposes the dark heart of Garland’s last years, creating an enjoyable backstage drama movie while failing to get under its protagonist’s skin.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d692ffd2ce57e62ce1867fb","altText":"Judy","image":{"name":"judy-2.jpg","fileName":"judy-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":934629,"path":"one/media/5d69/2ffd/2ce5/7e62/ce18/67fb"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"Like last year’s much better _[Stan & Ollie](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/stan-ollie-review/){:target=_blank}_ (it shares a character in showbiz impresario Bernard Delfont), Tom Edge’s screenplay examines Garland through the prism of a late-in-life UK engagement peppered with flashbacks to key moments in her early years as a child star. After a talk-y start in Los Angeles (Gemma-Leah Devereux is a dead spit for Liza Minnelli), things pick up when Garland arrives in London, refuses to rehearse then knocks ‘By Myself’ out of the park. Garland is paired with an assistant-cum-minder, Ros ([Jessie Buckley](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jessie-buckley/){:target=_blank}, using a fraction of her talents), and the subsequent uphill struggle to get Garland stage-ready is entertaining. We see glimpses of other areas of Garland’s life — a brutal TV interview about her children, her lover Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock) surprising her in London — but it’s in the theatre where ‘Judy’ impresses most.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"The uphill struggle to get Garland stage-ready is entertained.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"The film is less surefooted when it comes to dealing with Garland’s past. Interspersed in the ’60s timeline are flashbacks to young Judy in ’30s Hollywood, being ugly-shamed on the set of _The Wizard Of Oz_ by Louis B. Mayer, denied a French fry at lunch with Mickey Rooney to control her weight, and an act of rebellion as she jumps in a tank at a manufactured birthday party staged two months before the actual date. Yet the correlation between Judy’s brutal management by Mayer and her later-in-life troubles feels simplistic, psychoanalysis 101 that undercuts any attempts at complexity. Equally banal is a plot thread back in London involving Garland and two gay fans (Andy Nyman, Daniel Cerqueira) that feels entirely engineered to pay homage to Garland’s status as a gay icon rather than offer any sense of convincing organic drama.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZypuwVApJ0"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"It’s a small film that never successfully evokes the scale of old-school Hollywood — the LA sequences feel very stage-bound — or the louche London of the ’60s. Zellweger goes some way to etching Judy’s loss — there’s a touching late-on moment when Judy phones home to daughter Lorna (Bella Ramsey) — and goes for broke on stage, barnstorming her way through ‘The Trolley Song’ or smouldering on ‘Come Rain Or Come Shine’. Yet the film really stumbles in its big climax, pulling a cheap trick, parlaying one of Hollywood’s saddest, most tragic stories into a feel-good moment. Garland — and Zellweger — deserved so much more.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Judy","subtitle":"","content":["There is an image around halfway through _[Judy](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/judy/){:target=_blank}_ that captures Judy Garland ([Zellweger](https://www.empireonline.com/people/renee-zellweger/){:target=_blank}) slumped in her dressing room, head bowed, cigarette burning in hand, surrounded by wall-to-wall flowers, a depleted Garland before literal garlands. It’s a moment that gets to the heart of the last days of Garland’s life, the difference between the private and the public, despair and sadness crystallised against a rose-coloured world-view. It’s something [Rupert Goold](https://www.empireonline.com/people/rupert-goold/){:target=_blank}’s film doesn’t quite manage again. For, despite an imposing performance by Renée Zellweger, _Judy_ never exposes the dark heart of Garland’s last years, creating an enjoyable backstage drama movie while failing to get under its protagonist’s skin.","Like last year’s much better _[Stan & Ollie](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/stan-ollie-review/){:target=_blank}_ (it shares a character in showbiz impresario Bernard Delfont), Tom Edge’s screenplay examines Garland through the prism of a late-in-life UK engagement peppered with flashbacks to key moments in her early years as a child star. After a talk-y start in Los Angeles (Gemma-Leah Devereux is a dead spit for Liza Minnelli), things pick up when Garland arrives in London, refuses to rehearse then knocks ‘By Myself’ out of the park. Garland is paired with an assistant-cum-minder, Ros ([Jessie Buckley](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jessie-buckley/){:target=_blank}, using a fraction of her talents), and the subsequent uphill struggle to get Garland stage-ready is entertaining. We see glimpses of other areas of Garland’s life — a brutal TV interview about her children, her lover Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock) surprising her in London — but it’s in the theatre where ‘Judy’ impresses most.","The film is less surefooted when it comes to dealing with Garland’s past. Interspersed in the ’60s timeline are flashbacks to young Judy in ’30s Hollywood, being ugly-shamed on the set of _The Wizard Of Oz_ by Louis B. Mayer, denied a French fry at lunch with Mickey Rooney to control her weight, and an act of rebellion as she jumps in a tank at a manufactured birthday party staged two months before the actual date. Yet the correlation between Judy’s brutal management by Mayer and her later-in-life troubles feels simplistic, psychoanalysis 101 that undercuts any attempts at complexity. Equally banal is a plot thread back in London involving Garland and two gay fans (Andy Nyman, Daniel Cerqueira) that feels entirely engineered to pay homage to Garland’s status as a gay icon rather than offer any sense of convincing organic drama.","It’s a small film that never successfully evokes the scale of old-school Hollywood — the LA sequences feel very stage-bound — or the louche London of the ’60s. Zellweger goes some way to etching Judy’s loss — there’s a touching late-on moment when Judy phones home to daughter Lorna (Bella Ramsey) — and goes for broke on stage, barnstorming her way through ‘The Trolley Song’ or smouldering on ‘Come Rain Or Come Shine’. Yet the film really stumbles in its big climax, pulling a cheap trick, parlaying one of Hollywood’s saddest, most tragic stories into a feel-good moment. Garland — and Zellweger — deserved so much more."],"pullQuotes":["The uphill struggle to get Garland stage-ready is entertained."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZypuwVApJ0"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1564879917,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Ian Freer","publicationDate":1567224000000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"3","verdict":"Judy is an enjoyable, sincere attempt to present a multi-faceted portrait of a Hollywood legend, bolstered by a strong Renée Zellweger. Yet it never really finds the subtleties and depths to make it compelling and the ‘inspirational’ ending diminishes a sad, complex life. ","nutshell":"1968. With her ex-husband Sid Luft (Rufus Sewell) demanding custody of her children and struggling to pay a $4 million tax bill, fragile Hollywood legend Judy Garland (Renée Zellweger) takes up a sold-out residency at London’s Talk Of The Town nightclub. Can she keep it together so the show can go on?","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Renee Zellweger plays Judy Garland in Rupert Goold's biopic. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":[{"fullname":"James White","id":"5d1487672e4227524eeb870e","slug":"james-white","ts":1567224026352},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1567224026562}],"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"people":[{"id":"59e4c91bf9648a12d2ed794b","furl":"renee-zellweger","name":"Renee Zellweger","profileImage":[{"id":"59e4c91bf9648a12d2ed794a","altText":"renne-face","image":{"fileName":"renne-face_1060x644.jpg","name":"renne-face_1060x644.jpg","path":"one/lifestyle-images/people/569e46e2375e84fc0cc1b7e7","mimeType":"image/jpeg"},"caption":"Renee Zellwegger sparks surgery rumours","credits":""}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d1113cfa91b155aa7999c94","altText":"Renee Zellweger","caption":"Renee Zellweger","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"rAfHyC0IxqwRTKuwosU85ZwQicL.jpg","name":"rAfHyC0IxqwRTKuwosU85ZwQicL.jpg","width":300,"height":450,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/9137/profiles"}}],"composed":{"profileImage":["59e4c91bf9648a12d2ed794a"],"heroImage":["5d1113cfa91b155aa7999c94"]}},{"id":"5d111445a91b155aa799c8f2","furl":"jessie-buckley","name":"Jessie Buckley","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111445a91b155aa799c8f0","altText":"Jessie Buckley","caption":"Jessie Buckley","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"fNpefUyCUoOQFog4MeXTT8oATxh.jpg","name":"fNpefUyCUoOQFog4MeXTT8oATxh.jpg","width":396,"height":594,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/1498158/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111445a91b155aa799c8f0"]}},{"id":"5d1112d5a91b155aa79928db","furl":"rufus-sewell","name":"Rufus Sewell","heroImage":[{"id":"5d1112d5a91b155aa79928c9","altText":"Rufus Sewell","caption":"Rufus Sewell","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"f2PNMnztHluTOw8YfCJUZ2pKfbe.jpg","name":"f2PNMnztHluTOw8YfCJUZ2pKfbe.jpg","width":540,"height":720,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/17328/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d1112d5a91b155aa79928c9"]}},{"id":"5d1112e5a91b155aa79932f1","furl":"rupert-goold","name":"Rupert Goold","composed":{}}],"film":[{"id":"5d111514a91b155aa79a47ee","furl":"judy","title":"Judy","website":"","composed":{}}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d692ff72ce57e1ecb1867fa","altText":"Judy","image":{"name":"judy.jpg","fileName":"judy.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":882152,"path":"one/media/5d69/2ff7/2ce5/7e1e/cb18/67fa"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"images":[{"id":"5d692ffd2ce57e62ce1867fb","altText":"Judy","image":{"name":"judy-2.jpg","fileName":"judy-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":934629,"path":"one/media/5d69/2ffd/2ce5/7e62/ce18/67fb"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1567175248385,"createdBy":"publish","v":3,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"judy","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/judy/"],"excerpt":"There is an image around halfway through Judy that captures Judy Garland...","heroImageLandscape":[null],"heroImagePortrait":[null],"heroImageThumb":[null],"heroImageThumbLandscape":[null],"contentImageCrop":[null],"lastModifiedAt":1567224026338,"lastModifiedBy":"publish","composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d692ff72ce57e1ecb1867fa"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"images":["5d692ffd2ce57e62ce1867fb"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d111514a91b155aa79a47ee"],"people":["59e4c91bf9648a12d2ed794b","5d111445a91b155aa799c8f2","5d1112d5a91b155aa79928db","5d1112e5a91b155aa79932f1"],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f"}},{"id":"5d682f601b77fe2ca158380e","tags":[],"presenter":[],"tv":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"Ad Astra","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d682f181b77fe0954583805","altText":"Ad Astra","image":{"name":"ad-astra-rev-1.jpg","fileName":"ad-astra-rev-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":993889,"path":"one/media/5d68/2f18/1b77/fe09/5458/3805"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"It feels like we’ve been spoiled by space. Ever since *Gravity* seemingly changed the game, science-fiction has had to work harder than ever to impress us. It’s almost like the genre’s already peaked. Picking up the space-gauntlet, director James Gray quixotically heralded *Ad Astra* as being “the most realistic depiction of space ever”. And fair dos, this film is *beautiful*: from the glistening cinematography to artfully celestial framing to the seamless visual effects (some shots use actual photos of the moon’s surface), it all looks real. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"What sets it apart from recent gravity-defying films, however, is the setting. This is a future that feels recognisably familiar and deeply plausible, a world in which space travel has become commercialised, normalised, and blighted by the same overpriced pillows as the budget airline. The wonder of space has been replaced by the mundanities and conflicts of Earth; the moon is a gaudy tourist trap and disputed territory, not unlike an episode of *Futurama*. Throughout, we’re drip-fed morsels of information about the new inter-planetary infrastructure and each new revelation is a delicious bit of speculative world-building, ‘sci-future-fact’ rather than sci-fi.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d664807a9507741327bfc2c","altText":"Ad Astra","image":{"name":"ad-astra-1.jpg","fileName":"ad-astra-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":1052282,"path":"one/media/5d66/4807/a950/7741/327b/fc2c"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"It’s a setting that also causes our nominal hero, Roy (Pitt), some serious melancholy. Outwardly, Roy is cold and uncaring, his pulse never skipping a beat, his focus always on the mission. But his pessimistic voiceover laments the deterioration of the space era and hints at some familial yearning for his estranged father, who may be behind the catastrophic electrical surges that are suddenly plaguing Earth. Truly, you don’t know abandonment issues until your dad is floating beyond Neptune.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Despite a dip in pace towards the end, it’s a fantastically well-staged adventure.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"Roy’s narration sometimes sounds like a maudlin teenage diary (“I’ve let so many people down,'' he whines at one point), but he’s a fascinatingly flawed hero, as incapable of emotions as he is a capable astronaut. His odyssey through the inconceivable vastness of the solar system has something of Willard sailing up the river in *Apocalypse Now*: confronted by loneliness in an unforgiving environment, the indifference of death stalking at every corner.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"For such an ambitious film, it’s remarkably meditative; set across billions of miles, it is always only interested in Roy’s interior life, the camera trained in heavy close-up on his tired-looking face. (Spare a thought for poor Liv Tyler, playing Roy’s wife, who is often not even in focus, making her similar role in *Armageddon* look positively generous.) ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8lVYSSPQpU"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"But despite a dip in pace towards the end, it’s also a fantastically well-staged adventure. There’s a (literally) head-spinning opening sequence at the ‘International Space Antenna’, an encounter with an unexpected space-primate, and a moon-buggy chase which offers a thrilling preview of what ‘Fast & Furious In Space’ might look like. It has fun, even if its leading man doesn’t. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Through all this, it manages to ponder the existential questions facing humanity, and brings it back to the humanity we need to face. That, above the realistic depictions of space, is probably its real achievement.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Ad Astra","subtitle":"","content":["It feels like we’ve been spoiled by space. Ever since *Gravity* seemingly changed the game, science-fiction has had to work harder than ever to impress us. It’s almost like the genre’s already peaked. Picking up the space-gauntlet, director James Gray quixotically heralded *Ad Astra* as being “the most realistic depiction of space ever”. And fair dos, this film is *beautiful*: from the glistening cinematography to artfully celestial framing to the seamless visual effects (some shots use actual photos of the moon’s surface), it all looks real. ","What sets it apart from recent gravity-defying films, however, is the setting. This is a future that feels recognisably familiar and deeply plausible, a world in which space travel has become commercialised, normalised, and blighted by the same overpriced pillows as the budget airline. The wonder of space has been replaced by the mundanities and conflicts of Earth; the moon is a gaudy tourist trap and disputed territory, not unlike an episode of *Futurama*. Throughout, we’re drip-fed morsels of information about the new inter-planetary infrastructure and each new revelation is a delicious bit of speculative world-building, ‘sci-future-fact’ rather than sci-fi.","It’s a setting that also causes our nominal hero, Roy (Pitt), some serious melancholy. Outwardly, Roy is cold and uncaring, his pulse never skipping a beat, his focus always on the mission. But his pessimistic voiceover laments the deterioration of the space era and hints at some familial yearning for his estranged father, who may be behind the catastrophic electrical surges that are suddenly plaguing Earth. Truly, you don’t know abandonment issues until your dad is floating beyond Neptune.","Roy’s narration sometimes sounds like a maudlin teenage diary (“I’ve let so many people down,'' he whines at one point), but he’s a fascinatingly flawed hero, as incapable of emotions as he is a capable astronaut. His odyssey through the inconceivable vastness of the solar system has something of Willard sailing up the river in *Apocalypse Now*: confronted by loneliness in an unforgiving environment, the indifference of death stalking at every corner.","For such an ambitious film, it’s remarkably meditative; set across billions of miles, it is always only interested in Roy’s interior life, the camera trained in heavy close-up on his tired-looking face. (Spare a thought for poor Liv Tyler, playing Roy’s wife, who is often not even in focus, making her similar role in *Armageddon* look positively generous.) ","But despite a dip in pace towards the end, it’s also a fantastically well-staged adventure. There’s a (literally) head-spinning opening sequence at the ‘International Space Antenna’, an encounter with an unexpected space-primate, and a moon-buggy chase which offers a thrilling preview of what ‘Fast & Furious In Space’ might look like. It has fun, even if its leading man doesn’t. ","Through all this, it manages to ponder the existential questions facing humanity, and brings it back to the humanity we need to face. That, above the realistic depictions of space, is probably its real achievement."],"contentImageCrop":[null],"pullQuotes":["Despite a dip in pace towards the end, it’s a fantastically well-staged adventure."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8lVYSSPQpU"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1565413671,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"","publicationDate":1567108960856,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"4","verdict":"Existential but also intimate, Ad Astra is a stunning, sensitive exploration of the space left by an absent parent — and the infinite void of actual space.","nutshell":"The near future. Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) has lived in the shadow of his heroic father, Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones), who disappeared on a mission to find artificial intelligence in the universe. When electrical surges from space begin to hit the Earth, Roy must travel across the solar system to find his father, the origin of the surge — and maybe more.","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Brad Pitt and Tommy Lee Jones star in James Gray's existential sci-fi drama. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben"},"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d111267a91b155aa798ca28","fullname":"John Nugent","furl":"john-nugent"},"people":[{"id":"59e4c920f9648a12d2ed7b4f","furl":"brad-pitt","name":"Brad Pitt","profileImage":[{"id":"59e4c920f9648a12d2ed7b4e","altText":"brad-pitt-profile","image":{"fileName":"Goff_The_Big_Short__2763760.jpg","name":"Goff_The_Big_Short__2763760.jpg","path":"one/lifestyle-images/people/569e46e5375e84fc0cc1ba79","mimeType":"image/jpeg"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d111362a91b155aa79974ba","altText":"Brad Pitt","caption":"Brad Pitt","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"kc3M04QQAuZ9woUvH3Ju5T7ZqG5.jpg","name":"kc3M04QQAuZ9woUvH3Ju5T7ZqG5.jpg","width":1950,"height":3000,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/287/profiles"}}],"composed":{"profileImage":["59e4c920f9648a12d2ed7b4e"],"heroImage":["5d111362a91b155aa79974ba"]}},{"id":"5d1113a0a91b155aa7998cd3","furl":"tommy-lee-jones","name":"Tommy Lee Jones","heroImage":[{"id":"5d1113a0a91b155aa7998cb7","altText":"Tommy Lee Jones","caption":"Tommy Lee Jones","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"gRXugLFvr1oHZ6alLUxmYDq8cgW.jpg","name":"gRXugLFvr1oHZ6alLUxmYDq8cgW.jpg","width":666,"height":1023,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/2176/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d1113a0a91b155aa7998cb7"]}},{"id":"59e4c925f9648a12d2ed7da7","furl":"ruth-negga","name":"Ruth Negga","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111284a91b155aa798e7ea","altText":"Ruth Negga","caption":"Ruth Negga","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"fIVB9H48rDgcV0hhnP7gYrv18zB.jpg","name":"fIVB9H48rDgcV0hhnP7gYrv18zB.jpg","width":680,"height":1020,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/17018/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111284a91b155aa798e7ea"]}},{"id":"59e4c91af9648a12d2ed78c0","furl":"liv-tyler","name":"Liv Tyler","profileImage":[{"id":"59e4c91af9648a12d2ed78bf","altText":"459310848","image":{"fileName":"459310848_700x1050.jpg","name":"459310848_700x1050.jpg","path":"one/lifestyle-images/people/569e46e1375e84fc0cc1b739","mimeType":"image/jpeg"},"caption":"Liv Tyler and Dave Gardner [Getty]","credits":""}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d11132ca91b155aa7995c82","altText":"Liv Tyler","caption":"Liv Tyler","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"lD2YnrKdnRUvFDMSiK2pw13ZMIB.jpg","name":"lD2YnrKdnRUvFDMSiK2pw13ZMIB.jpg","width":1000,"height":1500,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/882/profiles"}}],"composed":{"profileImage":["59e4c91af9648a12d2ed78bf"],"heroImage":["5d11132ca91b155aa7995c82"]}},{"id":"5d111291a91b155aa798f367","furl":"donald-sutherland","name":"Donald Sutherland","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111291a91b155aa798f354","altText":"Donald Sutherland","caption":"Donald Sutherland","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"tPLVaPjxEscGPKS3ieByloa8Mqj.jpg","name":"tPLVaPjxEscGPKS3ieByloa8Mqj.jpg","width":416,"height":600,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/55636/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111291a91b155aa798f354"]}},{"id":"5d1112a0a91b155aa799007a","furl":"james-gray","name":"James Gray","heroImage":[{"id":"5d1112a0a91b155aa7990078","altText":"James Gray","caption":"James Gray","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"y9yj1f72VATeq8JSQEvTYpQe4AP.jpg","name":"y9yj1f72VATeq8JSQEvTYpQe4AP.jpg","width":320,"height":517,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/20561/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d1112a0a91b155aa7990078"]}}],"film":[{"id":"5d111514a91b155aa79a480e","furl":"ad-astra","title":"Ad Astra","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111514a91b155aa79a480d","altText":"Ad Astra","caption":"Ad Astra","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"t4z8OlOEzH7J1JRFUN3rcm6XHNL.jpg","name":"t4z8OlOEzH7J1JRFUN3rcm6XHNL.jpg","width":1280,"height":720,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/films/419704/images"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111514a91b155aa79a480d"]}}],"images":[{"id":"5d664807a9507741327bfc2c","altText":"Ad Astra","image":{"name":"ad-astra-1.jpg","fileName":"ad-astra-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":1052282,"path":"one/media/5d66/4807/a950/7741/327b/fc2c"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d682f181b77fe0954583805","altText":"Ad Astra","image":{"name":"ad-astra-rev-1.jpg","fileName":"ad-astra-rev-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":993889,"path":"one/media/5d68/2f18/1b77/fe09/5458/3805"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1567108960201,"createdBy":"publish","v":1,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"ad-astra","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/ad-astra/"],"excerpt":"It feels like we’ve been spoiled by space. Ever since Gravity seemingly...","composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d682f181b77fe0954583805"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"images":["5d664807a9507741327bfc2c"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d111514a91b155aa79a480e"],"people":["59e4c920f9648a12d2ed7b4f","5d1113a0a91b155aa7998cd3","59e4c925f9648a12d2ed7da7","59e4c91af9648a12d2ed78c0","5d111291a91b155aa798f367","5d1112a0a91b155aa799007a"],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d111267a91b155aa798ca28"}},{"id":"5d669469a95077ab4c7c086c","tags":[],"presenter":[],"tv":[],"film":[{"id":"5d6694eba9507774497c087f","title":"A Million Little Pieces","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d669415a950775c587c085e","altText":"A Million Little Pieces","image":{"name":"a-million-little-pieces.jpg","fileName":"a-million-little-pieces.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":479808,"path":"one/media/5d66/9415/a950/775c/587c/085e"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"furl":"a-million-little-pieces","composed":{"heroImage":["5d669415a950775c587c085e"]}}],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"A Million Little Pieces","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d669415a950775c587c085e","altText":"A Million Little Pieces","image":{"name":"a-million-little-pieces.jpg","fileName":"a-million-little-pieces.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":479808,"path":"one/media/5d66/9415/a950/775c/587c/085e"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"_A Million Little Pieces_ begins with a blast – [Aaron Taylor-Johnson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/aaron-taylor-johnson/){:target=_blank}’s alcoholic crack-addict James losing himself in a naked narcotic blowout, then suffering a severe comedown on a plane. What a horrible mess he is, bruised, bewildered, desperate and pitiful, an ugly wreck. Here, Taylor-Johnson, in a film he co-wrote with [Sam Taylor-Johnson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/sam-taylor-johnson/){:target=_blank}, is by far the best he’s ever been, rivetingly ruined, and the film doesn’t flinch: as James is subjected to anaesthesia-free root canals, alongside similar physical batterings, you wince and cringe.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"After the opening dramatics we’re left with a somewhat yawnsome yarn.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"Alas, the more things pick up for James, the more the film careens downhill, unafraid of melodramatic monologues, not shy of sentimentality. It is based on Frey’s 2003 memoir, which turned out to be not quite a memoir, filled with falsehoods. As such, this film’s source material is, in today’s parlance, problematic. This situation itself, though, is more interesting than the story beats adapted here: watching someone go through the 12-step programme is not particularly dramatic, and maybe Frey’s presence as executive producer explains why a more probing account of the whole affair wasn’t explored instead of this sappy thing. A more innovative account of what was going on inside his head, both at the time and in his remembrances, would have been more illuminating and more interesting. Only an opening quote from Mark Twain alludes to the scandal, which feels like a limp acknowledgement.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebG00FXR0PA"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"In place of any such complexities we get a straight-up rehab story, and after the opening dramatics we’re left with a somewhat yawnsome yarn. There’s just not enough going on, especially compared to the [recent television adaptation of Edward St Aubyn’s ](https://www.empireonline.com/tv/reviews/patrick-melrose-review/){:target=_blank}_[Patrick Melrose](https://www.empireonline.com/tv/reviews/patrick-melrose-review/){:target=_blank}_[ books](https://www.empireonline.com/tv/reviews/patrick-melrose-review/){:target=_blank}, in which addiction issues were a launchpad into a much more unpredictable and moving character study. This film is shot with warmth and love, but as far as emotional entertainment goes, it’s a bit of a shrug.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"A Million Little Pieces","subtitle":"","content":["_A Million Little Pieces_ begins with a blast – [Aaron Taylor-Johnson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/aaron-taylor-johnson/){:target=_blank}’s alcoholic crack-addict James losing himself in a naked narcotic blowout, then suffering a severe comedown on a plane. What a horrible mess he is, bruised, bewildered, desperate and pitiful, an ugly wreck. Here, Taylor-Johnson, in a film he co-wrote with [Sam Taylor-Johnson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/sam-taylor-johnson/){:target=_blank}, is by far the best he’s ever been, rivetingly ruined, and the film doesn’t flinch: as James is subjected to anaesthesia-free root canals, alongside similar physical batterings, you wince and cringe.","Alas, the more things pick up for James, the more the film careens downhill, unafraid of melodramatic monologues, not shy of sentimentality. It is based on Frey’s 2003 memoir, which turned out to be not quite a memoir, filled with falsehoods. As such, this film’s source material is, in today’s parlance, problematic. This situation itself, though, is more interesting than the story beats adapted here: watching someone go through the 12-step programme is not particularly dramatic, and maybe Frey’s presence as executive producer explains why a more probing account of the whole affair wasn’t explored instead of this sappy thing. A more innovative account of what was going on inside his head, both at the time and in his remembrances, would have been more illuminating and more interesting. Only an opening quote from Mark Twain alludes to the scandal, which feels like a limp acknowledgement.","In place of any such complexities we get a straight-up rehab story, and after the opening dramatics we’re left with a somewhat yawnsome yarn. There’s just not enough going on, especially compared to the [recent television adaptation of Edward St Aubyn’s ](https://www.empireonline.com/tv/reviews/patrick-melrose-review/){:target=_blank}_[Patrick Melrose](https://www.empireonline.com/tv/reviews/patrick-melrose-review/){:target=_blank}_[ books](https://www.empireonline.com/tv/reviews/patrick-melrose-review/){:target=_blank}, in which addiction issues were a launchpad into a much more unpredictable and moving character study. This film is shot with warmth and love, but as far as emotional entertainment goes, it’s a bit of a shrug."],"pullQuotes":["After the opening dramatics we’re left with a somewhat yawnsome yarn."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebG00FXR0PA"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1565413671,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Alex Godfrey","publicationDate":1567003927000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"2","verdict":"It’s well-intentioned and pretty, but not much else. Occasional stylistic flourish aside, it offers nothing we haven’t seen before, buckling under the weight of its own conservatism.","nutshell":"In the throes of all the illicit substances under the sun, James Frey (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is forcibly stuck on a plane and sent to a rehabilitation centre, where he must confront some home truths. With beaten, failing organs, this is his last chance to turn things around.","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Aaron Taylor-Johnson stars in an adaptation of James Frey's controversial rehab memoir, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":[{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1567003927837},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1567003928027},{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1567004049640},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1567004049947},{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1567067897692},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1567067897957}],"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"people":[{"id":"5d111317a91b155aa799512b","furl":"aaron-taylor-johnson","name":"Aaron Taylor-Johnson","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111317a91b155aa7995113","altText":"Aaron Taylor-Johnson","caption":"Aaron Taylor-Johnson","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"iQrBTHUtKVI2kN4u0hRKQz667cx.jpg","name":"iQrBTHUtKVI2kN4u0hRKQz667cx.jpg","width":300,"height":450,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/27428/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111317a91b155aa7995113"]}},{"id":"5d11129da91b155aa798fe2a","furl":"billy-bob-thornton","name":"Billy Bob Thornton","heroImage":[{"id":"5d11129da91b155aa798fe0f","altText":"Billy Bob Thornton","caption":"Billy Bob Thornton","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"gPCPKXh7HvobcrldRGj5QchW34p.jpg","name":"gPCPKXh7HvobcrldRGj5QchW34p.jpg","width":540,"height":720,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/879/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d11129da91b155aa798fe0f"]}},{"id":"5d1112b1a91b155aa7990e66","furl":"giovanni-ribisi","name":"Giovanni Ribisi","heroImage":[{"id":"5d1112b1a91b155aa7990e5e","altText":"Giovanni Ribisi","caption":"Giovanni Ribisi","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"mLQrEU7X7GD5V7i1clGRqpg8PVk.jpg","name":"mLQrEU7X7GD5V7i1clGRqpg8PVk.jpg","width":540,"height":720,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/1771/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d1112b1a91b155aa7990e5e"]}},{"id":"5d11128ea91b155aa798f10e","furl":"juliette-lewis","name":"Juliette Lewis","heroImage":[{"id":"5d11128ea91b155aa798f0fa","altText":"Juliette Lewis","caption":"Juliette Lewis","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"eeEx3v5ElBHvlrJjULlj5I3EpPF.jpg","name":"eeEx3v5ElBHvlrJjULlj5I3EpPF.jpg","width":1998,"height":3000,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/3196/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d11128ea91b155aa798f0fa"]}},{"id":"5d11131aa91b155aa7995308","furl":"charlie-hunnam","name":"Charlie Hunnam","heroImage":[{"id":"5d11131aa91b155aa79952ed","altText":"Charlie Hunnam","caption":"Charlie Hunnam","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"n7aEW9ghTsNOkds4ALtH73m915U.jpg","name":"n7aEW9ghTsNOkds4ALtH73m915U.jpg","width":890,"height":1200,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/56365/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d11131aa91b155aa79952ed"]}},{"id":"59e4c916f9648a12d2ed76a2","furl":"sam-taylor-johnson","name":"Sam Taylor-Johnson","heroImage":[{"id":"5d11127ba91b155aa798de83","altText":"Sam Taylor-Johnson","caption":"Sam Taylor-Johnson","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"dwX7Tgg5VSAsx5CfCy0eEj98sFn.jpg","name":"dwX7Tgg5VSAsx5CfCy0eEj98sFn.jpg","width":635,"height":952,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/1137903/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d11127ba91b155aa798de83"]}}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d669415a950775c587c085e","altText":"A Million Little Pieces","image":{"name":"a-million-little-pieces.jpg","fileName":"a-million-little-pieces.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":479808,"path":"one/media/5d66/9415/a950/775c/587c/085e"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1567003752505,"createdBy":"publish","v":7,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"a-million-litle-pieces","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/a-million-litle-pieces/"],"excerpt":"A Million Little Pieces begins with a blast – Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s alcoholic...","lastModifiedAt":1567067897681,"lastModifiedBy":"publish","heroImageLandscape":[null],"heroImagePortrait":[null],"heroImageThumb":[null],"heroImageThumbLandscape":[null],"composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d669415a950775c587c085e"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d6694eba9507774497c087f"],"people":["5d111317a91b155aa799512b","5d11129da91b155aa798fe2a","5d1112b1a91b155aa7990e66","5d11128ea91b155aa798f10e","5d11131aa91b155aa7995308","59e4c916f9648a12d2ed76a2"],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f"}},{"id":"5d6685ada950776a5f7c0627","tags":[],"presenter":[],"people":[],"tv":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"Bait","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d668514a950773a057c0617","altText":"Bait","image":{"name":"bait-1.jpg","fileName":"bait-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":808909,"path":"one/media/5d66/8514/a950/773a/057c/0617"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"What is cinema *for*? To delight? To tell stories? To illuminate the rifts in this fractured world? By any of these measures, *Bait* is a triumph. It is powered by social tensions. In one corner: down-on-his-luck local fisherman Martin (Rowe on tragicomic form). In the other: the forces of gentrification as embodied by the Leighs, an out-of-towner family — reasonable mother (Mary Woodvine), smug father (Simon Shepherd), lusty daughter (Georgia Ellery), gormless son (Jowan Jacobs) — who bought 'Skipper's Cottage' from Martin and his estranged brother to rent out to holiday-makers. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"A timely social portrait and a timeless work of art.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"Shot on black and white 16mm film, later hand-processed by director Jenkin, and with a soundscape fully created in post-production, *Bait* harmonises every element of cinema to create a shiver-inducing ambience which lends heft to the emotions at play. Jenkin (a prolific short-maker) uses his social set-up to create a symbolic battle that resonates in a post-austerity UK where the gulf between rich and poor only seems to grow, yet his characters are shaded by enough humanity to make their reactions unpredictable. Tensions are often undercut by scalding comedy. Choice line: “How's she going to suck his dick with that plum in her mouth?”","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVlPl0SXFiE"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Each sequence is full of overwhelmingly pleasurable visual texture thanks to the prickly romance of the black-and-white grain and Jenkin's rapturous framing. Everything – a pint of beer, lapping waves, brooding faces – is captured with an infectious love of tactile detail. Such technique is a joy to behold in service of a story where personal sorrow and absurd humour bleeds into the complexity of community, making for a timely social portrait and a timeless work of art.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Bait","subtitle":"","content":["What is cinema *for*? To delight? To tell stories? To illuminate the rifts in this fractured world? By any of these measures, *Bait* is a triumph. It is powered by social tensions. In one corner: down-on-his-luck local fisherman Martin (Rowe on tragicomic form). In the other: the forces of gentrification as embodied by the Leighs, an out-of-towner family — reasonable mother (Mary Woodvine), smug father (Simon Shepherd), lusty daughter (Georgia Ellery), gormless son (Jowan Jacobs) — who bought 'Skipper's Cottage' from Martin and his estranged brother to rent out to holiday-makers. ","Shot on black and white 16mm film, later hand-processed by director Jenkin, and with a soundscape fully created in post-production, *Bait* harmonises every element of cinema to create a shiver-inducing ambience which lends heft to the emotions at play. Jenkin (a prolific short-maker) uses his social set-up to create a symbolic battle that resonates in a post-austerity UK where the gulf between rich and poor only seems to grow, yet his characters are shaded by enough humanity to make their reactions unpredictable. Tensions are often undercut by scalding comedy. Choice line: “How's she going to suck his dick with that plum in her mouth?”","Each sequence is full of overwhelmingly pleasurable visual texture thanks to the prickly romance of the black-and-white grain and Jenkin's rapturous framing. Everything – a pint of beer, lapping waves, brooding faces – is captured with an infectious love of tactile detail. Such technique is a joy to behold in service of a story where personal sorrow and absurd humour bleeds into the complexity of community, making for a timely social portrait and a timeless work of art."],"pullQuotes":["A timely social portrait and a timeless work of art."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVlPl0SXFiE"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1565413671,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Sophie Monks Kaufman","publicationDate":1566999981673,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"5","verdict":"A rare find that is a truly original feature by a British director. Bait ferments weighty social themes into cinema so intoxicating it changes your blood-alcohol levels.","nutshell":"In a Cornish village, locals who make a living from fishing are threatened by a burgeoning tourist trade created by urban invaders. Fisherman-without-a-boat Martin (Edward Rowe) declares war on a particular family, partly driven by displaced grief. Meanwhile, his brother Steven (Giles King) has sold out and his apprentice (Isaac Woodvine) is enjoying a summer romance with the family's daughter (Georgia Ellery).","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Edward Rowe, Mary Woodvine, and Giles King star in Mark Jenkin's Cornwall-set drama. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben"},"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"film":[{"id":"5d6684fea95077e6877c0612","title":"Bait","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d6684d1a95077910f7c0610","altText":"Bait","image":{"name":"bait-1.jpg","fileName":"bait-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":808909,"path":"one/media/5d66/84d1/a950/7791/0f7c/0610"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"furl":"bait-2","composed":{"heroImage":["5d6684d1a95077910f7c0610"]}}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d668514a950773a057c0617","altText":"Bait","image":{"name":"bait-1.jpg","fileName":"bait-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":808909,"path":"one/media/5d66/8514/a950/773a/057c/0617"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1566999981095,"createdBy":"publish","v":1,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"bait","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/bait/"],"excerpt":"What is cinema for? To delight? To tell stories? To illuminate the rifts in...","composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d668514a950773a057c0617"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d6684fea95077e6877c0612"],"people":[],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f"}},{"id":"5d666383a950770bfe7c011a","tags":[],"presenter":[],"tv":[],"film":[{"id":"5d666454a950777bf77c0144","title":"Inna De Yard","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d666324a9507702197c0104","altText":"Inna De Yard","image":{"name":"inna-de-yard.jpg","fileName":"inna-de-yard.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":1142988,"path":"one/media/5d66/6324/a950/7702/197c/0104"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"furl":"inna-de-yard","composed":{"heroImage":["5d666324a9507702197c0104"]}}],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"Inna De Yard","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d666324a9507702197c0104","altText":"Inna De Yard","image":{"name":"inna-de-yard.jpg","fileName":"inna-de-yard.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":1142988,"path":"one/media/5d66/6324/a950/7702/197c/0104"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"“Some countries have diamonds, some countries have pearls, some countries have oil… and Jamaica has reggae.” Though the local historian and reggae enthusiast who utters this doesn’t say it outright, the comparison of the music genre pioneered in Jamaica to various precious resources plundered from Third World countries by colonialist global powers is a telling one. The most cutting moments of [Peter Webber](https://www.empireonline.com/people/peter-webber/){:target=_blank}’s freewheeling, easy-going documentary *Inna De Yard* come from this feeling of robbery, anecdotes of people of colour struggling, being exploited for profit, and cast aside.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Less about the history of the music itself as it is these artists’ personal history, their ties to the land and their struggles.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"Webber follows a group of Jamaican reggae artists beloved in their hometown of Kingston and beyond, as they take part in a series of open-air recording sessions (after which the film is named): Ken Boothe, Kiddus I, Cedric Myton, Winston McAnuff, Judy Mowatt and more join together with younger artists — “the roots and the branches” — as one person puts it. Through these sessions, the musicians seek to catch a more natural sound, perhaps as well as a return to the raw state of the emotions that first inspired them.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"The director, best known for *[Girl With A Pearl Earring](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/girl-pearl-earring-review/){:target=_blank}*, seems an odd match for the subject. Some of the cinematography early in the film’s runtime almost confirms this, with a handful of God’s eye view and drone shots feeling somewhat mismatched to the more earthy subject matter. But the film soon settles into a more natural groove that feels loose and unconstrained, but holds a surprisingly precise rhythm, as Webber structures the film by cutting between the backstory of each artist, footage of a recording session, and a live performance of the song in Paris.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j41v2_7gS_E"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Throughout the film, Webber works in a quick summary of reggae’s origins, tracing a line from ska, to rocksteady, through to reggae. This element is mostly kept vague as the people are the focus here; *Inna De Yard* is more interested in probing at what the ‘soul of reggae’ is to each of these artists. In some instances, it’s an expression of the lasting pain of Jamaican’s history of slavery, for others it might be struggles with poverty and violence. A couple of the singers even experienced fleeting international stardom through American music studios, but soon found themselves conned — some ending up deported and separated from their families on menial charges. This is where the film’s power lies — it’s less about the history of the music itself as it is these artists’ personal history, their ties to the land and their struggles. *Inna De Yard* extends and elaborates on the truth first expressed through these artists’ songs in ways that are both surprising and moving. If the ‘soul of Jamaica’ is a fairly nebulous concept, *Inna De Yard* comes remarkably close to capturing it.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Inna De Yard","subtitle":"","content":["“Some countries have diamonds, some countries have pearls, some countries have oil… and Jamaica has reggae.” Though the local historian and reggae enthusiast who utters this doesn’t say it outright, the comparison of the music genre pioneered in Jamaica to various precious resources plundered from Third World countries by colonialist global powers is a telling one. The most cutting moments of [Peter Webber](https://www.empireonline.com/people/peter-webber/){:target=_blank}’s freewheeling, easy-going documentary *Inna De Yard* come from this feeling of robbery, anecdotes of people of colour struggling, being exploited for profit, and cast aside.","Webber follows a group of Jamaican reggae artists beloved in their hometown of Kingston and beyond, as they take part in a series of open-air recording sessions (after which the film is named): Ken Boothe, Kiddus I, Cedric Myton, Winston McAnuff, Judy Mowatt and more join together with younger artists — “the roots and the branches” — as one person puts it. Through these sessions, the musicians seek to catch a more natural sound, perhaps as well as a return to the raw state of the emotions that first inspired them.","The director, best known for *[Girl With A Pearl Earring](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/girl-pearl-earring-review/){:target=_blank}*, seems an odd match for the subject. Some of the cinematography early in the film’s runtime almost confirms this, with a handful of God’s eye view and drone shots feeling somewhat mismatched to the more earthy subject matter. But the film soon settles into a more natural groove that feels loose and unconstrained, but holds a surprisingly precise rhythm, as Webber structures the film by cutting between the backstory of each artist, footage of a recording session, and a live performance of the song in Paris.","Throughout the film, Webber works in a quick summary of reggae’s origins, tracing a line from ska, to rocksteady, through to reggae. This element is mostly kept vague as the people are the focus here; *Inna De Yard* is more interested in probing at what the ‘soul of reggae’ is to each of these artists. In some instances, it’s an expression of the lasting pain of Jamaican’s history of slavery, for others it might be struggles with poverty and violence. A couple of the singers even experienced fleeting international stardom through American music studios, but soon found themselves conned — some ending up deported and separated from their families on menial charges. This is where the film’s power lies — it’s less about the history of the music itself as it is these artists’ personal history, their ties to the land and their struggles. *Inna De Yard* extends and elaborates on the truth first expressed through these artists’ songs in ways that are both surprising and moving. If the ‘soul of Jamaica’ is a fairly nebulous concept, *Inna De Yard* comes remarkably close to capturing it."],"pullQuotes":["Less about the history of the music itself as it is these artists’ personal history, their ties to the land and their struggles."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j41v2_7gS_E"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1564879917,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Kambole Campbell","publicationDate":1566991478359,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"4","verdict":"Inna De Yard, while not always incisive, is soulful and uplifting in its exploration of the hearts behind the music Webber clearly loves — a feeling compounded by its charming subjects. ","nutshell":"British filmmaker Peter Webber follows a group of pioneering reggae musicians as they gather on a Kingston hilltop for an open-air recording session called ‘Inna De Yard’, each reflecting on their personal history and the various struggles that informed their music.","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"A documentary by British director Peter Webber, following pioneering reggae musicians in Kingston. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":[{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1566991478351},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1566991478494}],"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"people":[{"id":"5d111323a91b155aa7995861","furl":"peter-webber","name":"Peter Webber","composed":{}}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d666324a9507702197c0104","altText":"Inna De Yard","image":{"name":"inna-de-yard.jpg","fileName":"inna-de-yard.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":1142988,"path":"one/media/5d66/6324/a950/7702/197c/0104"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1566991234628,"createdBy":"publish","v":3,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"inna-de-yard","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/inna-de-yard/"],"excerpt":"“Some countries have diamonds, some countries have pearls, some countries have...","lastModifiedAt":1566991478341,"lastModifiedBy":"publish","composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d666324a9507702197c0104"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d666454a950777bf77c0144"],"people":["5d111323a91b155aa7995861"],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f"}},{"id":"5d665f5ea95077a8a77c0067","tags":[],"presenter":[],"tv":[],"film":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"Memory: The Origins Of Alien","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d665e85a95077444f7bffe4","altText":"Memory: The Origins Of Alien","image":{"name":"memory-1.jpg","fileName":"memory-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":493685,"path":"one/media/5d66/5e85/a950/7744/4f7b/ffe4"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"*Memory* is hardly the first documentary to attempt to get under the obsidian, acid-bleeding skin of the Xenomorph. Practically every DVD and Blu-ray release of [Ridley Scott](https://www.empireonline.com/people/ridley-scott/){:target=_blank}’s influential sci-fi has come with a doc attached, even the 1987 LaserDisc. But this feature-length take from director Alexandre O. Philippe has loftier ideas than any studio-mandated featurette. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d665e95a95077b52a7c002e","altText":"Memory: The Origins Of Alien","image":{"name":"memory-2.jpg","fileName":"memory-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":363085,"path":"one/media/5d66/5e95/a950/77b5/2a7c/002e"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"It begins with a slightly bonkers pre-titles sequence in the Temple of Apollo in Athens, as three alien witches awaken from a lengthy slumber: these are the Furies, the Greek mythological goddesses of vengeance. It’s a baffling, disorientating set-up, though what follows is ultimately a fairly straightforward talking heads documentary format — but the opening gambit clearly hopes to establish one of the film’s key arguments: *[Alien](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/alien-review/){:target=_blank}*, Phillipe argues, is the manifestation of all our myths, a nightmare born of centuries of dread found in cultural artefacts and our collective unconscious. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"It makes for a compelling case, but it doesn’t entirely feel like the final word on the film.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"“I didn’t steal from anyone,” insists *Alien*’s screenwriter, Dan O’Bannon, in archive footage — “I stole from everyone.” The film’s contributors (which include *Empire* contributing editor Ian Nathan) invoke a vast, fascinating array of influences that led to the facehugger and friends, including Francis Bacon, Hieronymus Bosch, H.P. Lovecraft, parasitic insects found in nature, and the *Mary Celeste*, the ‘ghost ship’. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"O’Bannon, who died in 2009, plays a surprisingly large role in the story, with his wife lovingly recalling his curious quirks (he once faked a UFO landing with his father). The writer is not often credited so significantly in the retelling of the *Alien* story, but his script (which had the working title of ‘Memory’, hence the doc’s title) evidently had a feverish mind that struggled to express itself until it found kindred spirits in director Ridley Scott and designer H.R. Giger. Together, both consciously and unconsciously, they created a dark parable in which almost any interpretation can be applied. *Alien* is “more than an allegory”, argues one contributor. “It taps into *everything*.” ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdKqi5VEqYU"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"It makes for a compelling case, and will undoubtedly have you reaching for a rewatch. But it doesn’t entirely feel like the final word on the film. Some cast and crew are featured, including Tom Skerritt and Veronica Cartwright, but Ridley Scott and [Sigourney Weaver](https://www.empireonline.com/people/sigourney-weaver/){:target=_blank} are conspicuous by their absence. And while Philippe’s last film, the Hitchcock documentary *[78/52](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/78-52-review/){:target=_blank}*, had a clarity of vision in telling the story of *[Psycho](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/psycho-review/){:target=_blank}*’s shower scene, *Memory* is more muddled, flitting between thematic analysis and more run-of-the-mill BTS trivia; the blow-by-blow of the chestburster sequence feels plonked in for contractual reasons. As groundbreaking as *Alien* was, *Memory* seems quite tame, its aspiration towards highfalutin ‘film essay’ territory stymied by such a conventional format. Not quite the final report from the commercial starship Nostromo, then — but as an ardent love letter to a classic, it does the job.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Memory: The Origins Of Alien","subtitle":"","content":["*Memory* is hardly the first documentary to attempt to get under the obsidian, acid-bleeding skin of the Xenomorph. Practically every DVD and Blu-ray release of [Ridley Scott](https://www.empireonline.com/people/ridley-scott/){:target=_blank}’s influential sci-fi has come with a doc attached, even the 1987 LaserDisc. But this feature-length take from director Alexandre O. Philippe has loftier ideas than any studio-mandated featurette. ","It begins with a slightly bonkers pre-titles sequence in the Temple of Apollo in Athens, as three alien witches awaken from a lengthy slumber: these are the Furies, the Greek mythological goddesses of vengeance. It’s a baffling, disorientating set-up, though what follows is ultimately a fairly straightforward talking heads documentary format — but the opening gambit clearly hopes to establish one of the film’s key arguments: *[Alien](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/alien-review/){:target=_blank}*, Phillipe argues, is the manifestation of all our myths, a nightmare born of centuries of dread found in cultural artefacts and our collective unconscious. ","“I didn’t steal from anyone,” insists *Alien*’s screenwriter, Dan O’Bannon, in archive footage — “I stole from everyone.” The film’s contributors (which include *Empire* contributing editor Ian Nathan) invoke a vast, fascinating array of influences that led to the facehugger and friends, including Francis Bacon, Hieronymus Bosch, H.P. Lovecraft, parasitic insects found in nature, and the *Mary Celeste*, the ‘ghost ship’. ","O’Bannon, who died in 2009, plays a surprisingly large role in the story, with his wife lovingly recalling his curious quirks (he once faked a UFO landing with his father). The writer is not often credited so significantly in the retelling of the *Alien* story, but his script (which had the working title of ‘Memory’, hence the doc’s title) evidently had a feverish mind that struggled to express itself until it found kindred spirits in director Ridley Scott and designer H.R. Giger. Together, both consciously and unconsciously, they created a dark parable in which almost any interpretation can be applied. *Alien* is “more than an allegory”, argues one contributor. “It taps into *everything*.” ","It makes for a compelling case, and will undoubtedly have you reaching for a rewatch. But it doesn’t entirely feel like the final word on the film. Some cast and crew are featured, including Tom Skerritt and Veronica Cartwright, but Ridley Scott and [Sigourney Weaver](https://www.empireonline.com/people/sigourney-weaver/){:target=_blank} are conspicuous by their absence. And while Philippe’s last film, the Hitchcock documentary *[78/52](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/78-52-review/){:target=_blank}*, had a clarity of vision in telling the story of *[Psycho](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/psycho-review/){:target=_blank}*’s shower scene, *Memory* is more muddled, flitting between thematic analysis and more run-of-the-mill BTS trivia; the blow-by-blow of the chestburster sequence feels plonked in for contractual reasons. As groundbreaking as *Alien* was, *Memory* seems quite tame, its aspiration towards highfalutin ‘film essay’ territory stymied by such a conventional format. Not quite the final report from the commercial starship Nostromo, then — but as an ardent love letter to a classic, it does the job."],"pullQuotes":["It makes for a compelling case, but it doesn’t entirely feel like the final word on the film."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdKqi5VEqYU"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1566992891,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"","publicationDate":1566990174608,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"3","verdict":"Falls slightly short of being the definitive Alien doc, but Memory is slick and thoughtful, and will deepen your love of a classic.","nutshell":"A documentary tracking the cultural and mythological foundation stones that led to Alien, the landmark 1979 film that changed science-fiction forever. ","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Alexandre O. Philippe's documentary explores the making of Ridley Scott's iconic 1979 sci-fi horror. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben"},"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d111267a91b155aa798ca28","fullname":"John Nugent","furl":"john-nugent"},"people":[{"id":"5d111424a91b155aa799baa5","furl":"ridley-scott","name":"Ridley Scott","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111424a91b155aa799baa1","altText":"Ridley Scott","caption":"Ridley Scott","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"46XCMVEYedwsqagc3kjrPmvAKmP.jpg","name":"46XCMVEYedwsqagc3kjrPmvAKmP.jpg","width":540,"height":720,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/578/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111424a91b155aa799baa1"]}},{"id":"5d11129ba91b155aa798fc49","furl":"sigourney-weaver","name":"Sigourney Weaver","heroImage":[{"id":"5d11129ba91b155aa798fc2a","altText":"Sigourney Weaver","caption":"Sigourney Weaver","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"bcDb0vbfWZBHo1QEh9oQVRs3vx2.jpg","name":"bcDb0vbfWZBHo1QEh9oQVRs3vx2.jpg","width":468,"height":690,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/10205/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d11129ba91b155aa798fc2a"]}},{"id":"5d1113c1a91b155aa79996ec","furl":"dan-obannon","name":"Dan O'Bannon","heroImage":[{"id":"5d1113c1a91b155aa79996ea","altText":"Dan O'Bannon","caption":"Dan O'Bannon","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"slLZWXZ1lmdF763166ATRRI200n.jpg","name":"slLZWXZ1lmdF763166ATRRI200n.jpg","width":500,"height":700,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/5045/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d1113c1a91b155aa79996ea"]}},{"id":"5d111364a91b155aa7997593","furl":"tom-skerritt","name":"Tom Skerritt","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111364a91b155aa7997589","altText":"Tom Skerritt","caption":"Tom Skerritt","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"zV7xgMlcvJ82f1jyeqz8FGTwjbW.jpg","name":"zV7xgMlcvJ82f1jyeqz8FGTwjbW.jpg","width":540,"height":720,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/4139/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111364a91b155aa7997589"]}},{"id":"5d111282a91b155aa798e5f5","furl":"veronica-cartwright","name":"Veronica Cartwright","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111282a91b155aa798e5ea","altText":"Veronica Cartwright","caption":"Veronica Cartwright","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"7LEj6ln5Fq6Hdg2wMKRxsvWoU2z.jpg","name":"7LEj6ln5Fq6Hdg2wMKRxsvWoU2z.jpg","width":540,"height":720,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/5047/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111282a91b155aa798e5ea"]}}],"images":[{"id":"5d665e95a95077b52a7c002e","altText":"Memory: The Origins Of Alien","image":{"name":"memory-2.jpg","fileName":"memory-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":363085,"path":"one/media/5d66/5e95/a950/77b5/2a7c/002e"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d665e85a95077444f7bffe4","altText":"Memory: The Origins Of Alien","image":{"name":"memory-1.jpg","fileName":"memory-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":493685,"path":"one/media/5d66/5e85/a950/7744/4f7b/ffe4"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1566990173875,"createdBy":"publish","v":1,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"memory-the-origins-of-alien","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/memory-the-origins-of-alien/"],"excerpt":"Memory is hardly the first documentary to attempt to get under the obsidian,...","composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d665e85a95077444f7bffe4"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"images":["5d665e95a95077b52a7c002e"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":[],"people":["5d111424a91b155aa799baa5","5d11129ba91b155aa798fc49","5d1113c1a91b155aa79996ec","5d111364a91b155aa7997593","5d111282a91b155aa798e5f5"],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d111267a91b155aa798ca28"}},{"id":"5d6658c3a9507728007bfeda","tags":[],"presenter":[],"tv":[],"film":[{"id":"5d66598ca950773c037bfef7","title":"The Souvenir","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d665948a95077123d7bfef0","altText":"The Souvenir","image":{"name":"souvenir-2.jpg","fileName":"souvenir-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":935709,"path":"one/media/5d66/5948/a950/7712/3d7b/fef0"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"furl":"the-souvenir","composed":{"heroImage":["5d665948a95077123d7bfef0"]}}],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"The Souvenir","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d66577ba95077f9a07bfe92","altText":"The Souvenir","image":{"name":"souvenir-1.jpg","fileName":"souvenir-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":1240423,"path":"one/media/5d66/577b/a950/77f9/a07b/fe92"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"[Joanna Hogg](https://www.empireonline.com/people/joanna-hogg/){:target=_blank} is not for everyone. Joanna Hogg might not even be for most people. But those who she is for will be enthralled by her fourth feature film, which triumphed at Sundance in February.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Already literate in stories that explore the tension tucked into the shadows of privilege (*[Archipelago](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/archipelago-review/){:target=_blank}*) and women in times of transformation (*Unrelated*), *The Souvenir* comes with a new urgency from Hogg. An urgency you sense is due to the semi-autobiographical nature of this story, revisiting her own early years. “We want to see life as it is experienced, within this soft machine,” says one of her characters about the act of seeing a film, but it could just as easily be a mission statement for Hogg’s journey back into the heart of her past. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d665794a95077301f7bfe9a","altText":"The Souvenir","image":{"name":"souvenir-2.jpg","fileName":"souvenir-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":935709,"path":"one/media/5d66/5794/a950/7730/1f7b/fe9a"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"Julie (Swinton Byrne) is a bright, quiet student, attending film school, where she underwhelms both those who teach her and those who learn alongside her. She spends her nights opining with friends in her smoky Knightsbridge flat, and her days wondering how she can assert her voice. But everything shifts a little further off-kilter when she meets Anthony ([Tom Burke](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tom-burke/){:target=_blank}), a pompous and charismatic junior Foreign Office employee in a double-breasted suit.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Honor Swinton Byrne is extraordinary in her first feature role.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"As they fall into a relationship that looks easy, but is anything but, Anthony displays his capability and capacity for manipulation. He asks Julie pointed questions about her work with assumptions bred from arrogance; tells her, “You’re lost, and you’ll always be lost.” Still, she slips him ten quid as he slips out the front door and waits all night for him to come back to her bed.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"The blinders are firmly on until a painful reveal during a terrific — and terrifically-awkward — dinner party scene, the truth about Anthony shared by a film-bore friend (played hilariously by [Richard Ayoade](https://www.empireonline.com/people/richard-ayoade/){:target=_blank}) as Julie’s frozen-still shock reverberates around the room.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Swinton Byrne is extraordinary in her first feature role: perfectly capturing Julie’s fragility, optimism and delicate ambition, her selective memory when it comes to her relationship with Anthony revealed in hand-picked flashbacks. And she’s matched by her partner in toxicity, Tom Burke, who swells the chest of Anthony with a cocky charm that’s as seductive to the viewer as it is to his on-screen love.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTw1WGy0WyA"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Mention must also be made of real-life mother [Tilda Swinton](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tilda-swinton/){:target=_blank}, playing Julie’s mother. Though her scenes are slight, her own gentle concern butts up against Julie’s burgeoning womanhood, the tendrils of tension on an otherwise happy relationship. And yes, while it’s a film about the craft of filmmaking, *this* is the heart of the film — the crafting of adults. Of how we’re forged in the heat of early love, the first yearning of ambition and the disappointments and heartbreak that come with both. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"There are no easy wins in *The Souvenir*. It moves at its own speed, at its own rhythm and refuses to provide all of the answers you seek — either from Hogg or her characters. There is no choice but to submit to a filmmaker so evidently in control of her powers.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"The Souvenir","subtitle":"","content":["[Joanna Hogg](https://www.empireonline.com/people/joanna-hogg/){:target=_blank} is not for everyone. Joanna Hogg might not even be for most people. But those who she is for will be enthralled by her fourth feature film, which triumphed at Sundance in February.","Already literate in stories that explore the tension tucked into the shadows of privilege (*[Archipelago](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/archipelago-review/){:target=_blank}*) and women in times of transformation (*Unrelated*), *The Souvenir* comes with a new urgency from Hogg. An urgency you sense is due to the semi-autobiographical nature of this story, revisiting her own early years. “We want to see life as it is experienced, within this soft machine,” says one of her characters about the act of seeing a film, but it could just as easily be a mission statement for Hogg’s journey back into the heart of her past. ","Julie (Swinton Byrne) is a bright, quiet student, attending film school, where she underwhelms both those who teach her and those who learn alongside her. She spends her nights opining with friends in her smoky Knightsbridge flat, and her days wondering how she can assert her voice. But everything shifts a little further off-kilter when she meets Anthony ([Tom Burke](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tom-burke/){:target=_blank}), a pompous and charismatic junior Foreign Office employee in a double-breasted suit.","As they fall into a relationship that looks easy, but is anything but, Anthony displays his capability and capacity for manipulation. He asks Julie pointed questions about her work with assumptions bred from arrogance; tells her, “You’re lost, and you’ll always be lost.” Still, she slips him ten quid as he slips out the front door and waits all night for him to come back to her bed.","The blinders are firmly on until a painful reveal during a terrific — and terrifically-awkward — dinner party scene, the truth about Anthony shared by a film-bore friend (played hilariously by [Richard Ayoade](https://www.empireonline.com/people/richard-ayoade/){:target=_blank}) as Julie’s frozen-still shock reverberates around the room.","Swinton Byrne is extraordinary in her first feature role: perfectly capturing Julie’s fragility, optimism and delicate ambition, her selective memory when it comes to her relationship with Anthony revealed in hand-picked flashbacks. And she’s matched by her partner in toxicity, Tom Burke, who swells the chest of Anthony with a cocky charm that’s as seductive to the viewer as it is to his on-screen love.","Mention must also be made of real-life mother [Tilda Swinton](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tilda-swinton/){:target=_blank}, playing Julie’s mother. Though her scenes are slight, her own gentle concern butts up against Julie’s burgeoning womanhood, the tendrils of tension on an otherwise happy relationship. And yes, while it’s a film about the craft of filmmaking, *this* is the heart of the film — the crafting of adults. Of how we’re forged in the heat of early love, the first yearning of ambition and the disappointments and heartbreak that come with both. ","There are no easy wins in *The Souvenir*. It moves at its own speed, at its own rhythm and refuses to provide all of the answers you seek — either from Hogg or her characters. There is no choice but to submit to a filmmaker so evidently in control of her powers."],"pullQuotes":["Honor Swinton Byrne is extraordinary in her first feature role."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTw1WGy0WyA"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1565413671,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Terri White","publicationDate":1566988895554,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"4","verdict":"Joanna Hogg paints a precise picture of a woman trying to develop her own artistic vision while caught in the slipstream of a toxic relationship. An understated, exquisite gem of a film.","nutshell":"1980s London, and film student Julie (Swinton Byrne) is desperate to tell stories that aren’t only shackled in privilege. While she attempts to find her way as a filmmaker, she’s also challenged as a woman: falling in love, for the very first time, with an enigmatic, manipulative diplomat. ","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Honor Swinton Byrne and Tom Burke star in Joanna Hogg's semi-autobiographical drama. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":[{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1566988880685},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1566988883183},{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1566988895544},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1566988895807}],"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"people":[{"id":"5d11132fa91b155aa7995dee","furl":"joanna-hogg","name":"Joanna Hogg","composed":{}},{"id":"5d111442a91b155aa799c7c1","furl":"tom-burke","name":"Tom Burke","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111442a91b155aa799c7ab","altText":"Tom Burke","caption":"Tom Burke","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"yw442LGBNYr9i07aiND3oMlox5h.jpg","name":"yw442LGBNYr9i07aiND3oMlox5h.jpg","width":640,"height":966,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/52891/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111442a91b155aa799c7ab"]}},{"id":"5d11127ca91b155aa798dffc","furl":"tilda-swinton","name":"Tilda Swinton","heroImage":[{"id":"5d11127ca91b155aa798dfe3","altText":"Tilda Swinton","caption":"Tilda Swinton","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"eGNo9qwlunvAi4kCVUEFtQFM5X.jpg","name":"eGNo9qwlunvAi4kCVUEFtQFM5X.jpg","width":540,"height":720,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/3063/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d11127ca91b155aa798dfe3"]}},{"id":"5d1112c1a91b155aa7991a8a","furl":"richard-ayoade","name":"Richard Ayoade","heroImage":[{"id":"5d1112c1a91b155aa7991a80","altText":"Richard Ayoade","caption":"Richard Ayoade","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"dlmTQxPnoAUYfOd01bHbV0wFGfg.jpg","name":"dlmTQxPnoAUYfOd01bHbV0wFGfg.jpg","width":300,"height":450,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/people/98103/profiles"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d1112c1a91b155aa7991a80"]}}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d66577ba95077f9a07bfe92","altText":"The Souvenir","image":{"name":"souvenir-1.jpg","fileName":"souvenir-1.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":1240423,"path":"one/media/5d66/577b/a950/77f9/a07b/fe92"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"images":[{"id":"5d665794a95077301f7bfe9a","altText":"The Souvenir","image":{"name":"souvenir-2.jpg","fileName":"souvenir-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":935709,"path":"one/media/5d66/5794/a950/7730/1f7b/fe9a"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1566988482902,"createdBy":"publish","v":5,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"the-souvenir","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/the-souvenir/"],"excerpt":"Joanna Hogg is not for everyone. Joanna Hogg might not even be for most...","lastModifiedAt":1566988895532,"lastModifiedBy":"publish","composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d66577ba95077f9a07bfe92"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"images":["5d665794a95077301f7bfe9a"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d66598ca950773c037bfef7"],"people":["5d11132fa91b155aa7995dee","5d111442a91b155aa799c7c1","5d11127ca91b155aa798dffc","5d1112c1a91b155aa7991a8a"],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f"}},{"id":"5d68ea3bf65d9c8e96a476ca","tags":[],"presenter":[],"people":[],"tv":[],"film":[{"id":"5d68ea8ef65d9cdb50a476d5","title":"Asterix: The Secret Of The Magic Potion","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d68ea65f65d9c0a46a476ce","altText":"Asterix: The Secret Of The Magic Potion","image":{"name":"asterix-secret-magic-potion.jpg","fileName":"asterix-secret-magic-potion.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":538613,"path":"one/media/5d68/ea65/f65d/9c0a/46a4/76ce"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"furl":"asterix-the-secret-of-the-magic-potion","composed":{"heroImage":["5d68ea65f65d9c0a46a476ce"]}}],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"Asterix: The Secret Of The Magic Potion","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d68ea01f65d9ca31ea476c4","altText":"Asterix: The Secret Of The Magic Potion","image":{"name":"asterix-secret-magic-potion.jpg","fileName":"asterix-secret-magic-potion.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":538613,"path":"one/media/5d68/ea01/f65d/9ca3/1ea4/76c4"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"To date, there have been 15 released film adaptations of René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s beloved *Asterix* stories, a dozen of which are animated — including this latest CG version, the second from directors Louis Clichy and Alexandre Astier (who did 2014’s *The Mansions Of The Gods*). Yet *The Secret Of The Magic Potion* is only the second to not be based in any way on the storylines contained within Goscinny and Uderzo’s original albums. And judging by its contents, here’s hoping it’s the last. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"A frustratingly patchy, irritatingly hyperactive, mostly directionless episodic scramble.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"To be fair, it asks questions that may have lurked at the back of many a young mind while ploughing happily through the *Asterix* oeuvre: why doesn’t Getafix (Innes) simply give the rest of the Gauls his ultra-energising brew? Why doesn’t he share his recipe? What happens when he *dies*? These posers form an encouraging starting point, the movie opening with the sprightly druid tumbling from a tree — something druids *never* do, apparently — and being painfully reminded of his mortality.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"However, from there it descends into a frustratingly patchy, irritatingly hyperactive, mostly directionless episodic scramble. Getafix dominates the running time, yet undergoes no further development as a character. The film’s title hero Asterix (Kramer) is barely in it, bimbling around the sidelines until a clumsily conceived flounce sees him storming off, only to spend the next several scenes tied to a tree. Even the burly but sensitive Obelix (Harth) — most fans’ favourite — hardly features, with more attention mystifyingly given to self-important fishmonger Unhygienix (Jason Simpson), who tries to make his own magic potion, and bland bad guy Demonix (Mike Shepherd), who’s long harboured a grudge against Getafix. Meanwhile, a promising thread involving a smart, resourceful village girl named Pectin (Fleur Delahunty) is inexplicably left dangling. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAsx2D5YaVI"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Clichy and Astier’s attempt to do something different from other *Asterix*es unmoors them from the strong source material and leaves them running, very fast and noisily, in circles around a narrative cul-de-sac. The animation is solid, its bold, bright style at least living up to the original strip, and there is one superb visual flourish, when a flashback is rendered entirely in scratchy graphite. But their new ingredients are so badly mixed, they’ve lost most of this potion’s magic.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Asterix: The Secret Of The Magic Potion","subtitle":"","content":["To date, there have been 15 released film adaptations of René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s beloved *Asterix* stories, a dozen of which are animated — including this latest CG version, the second from directors Louis Clichy and Alexandre Astier (who did 2014’s *The Mansions Of The Gods*). Yet *The Secret Of The Magic Potion* is only the second to not be based in any way on the storylines contained within Goscinny and Uderzo’s original albums. And judging by its contents, here’s hoping it’s the last. ","To be fair, it asks questions that may have lurked at the back of many a young mind while ploughing happily through the *Asterix* oeuvre: why doesn’t Getafix (Innes) simply give the rest of the Gauls his ultra-energising brew? Why doesn’t he share his recipe? What happens when he *dies*? These posers form an encouraging starting point, the movie opening with the sprightly druid tumbling from a tree — something druids *never* do, apparently — and being painfully reminded of his mortality.","However, from there it descends into a frustratingly patchy, irritatingly hyperactive, mostly directionless episodic scramble. Getafix dominates the running time, yet undergoes no further development as a character. The film’s title hero Asterix (Kramer) is barely in it, bimbling around the sidelines until a clumsily conceived flounce sees him storming off, only to spend the next several scenes tied to a tree. Even the burly but sensitive Obelix (Harth) — most fans’ favourite — hardly features, with more attention mystifyingly given to self-important fishmonger Unhygienix (Jason Simpson), who tries to make his own magic potion, and bland bad guy Demonix (Mike Shepherd), who’s long harboured a grudge against Getafix. Meanwhile, a promising thread involving a smart, resourceful village girl named Pectin (Fleur Delahunty) is inexplicably left dangling. ","Clichy and Astier’s attempt to do something different from other *Asterix*es unmoors them from the strong source material and leaves them running, very fast and noisily, in circles around a narrative cul-de-sac. The animation is solid, its bold, bright style at least living up to the original strip, and there is one superb visual flourish, when a flashback is rendered entirely in scratchy graphite. But their new ingredients are so badly mixed, they’ve lost most of this potion’s magic."],"pullQuotes":["A frustratingly patchy, irritatingly hyperactive, mostly directionless episodic scramble."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAsx2D5YaVI"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1565413671,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Dan Jolin","publicationDate":1566983744000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"2","verdict":"The Asterix-movie equivalent of one of Cacofonix’s performances: too loud, badly written, best avoided.","nutshell":"After elderly druid Getafix (John Innes) falls out of a tree, he resolves to find a young successor to whom he can entrust the secret formula for the super-strength-imbuing magic potion that makes his village the only one in Gaul still unconquered by the Romans. He sets off with trusty warriors Asterix (Ken Kramer) and Obelix (C. Ernst Harth), not reckoning on the machinations of his old, evil, druidic rival Demonix (Mike Shepherd). ","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Asterix and co return in an animated adventure. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":[{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1567156899511},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1567156899732}],"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"heroImage":[{"id":"5d68ea01f65d9ca31ea476c4","altText":"Asterix: The Secret Of The Magic Potion","image":{"name":"asterix-secret-magic-potion.jpg","fileName":"asterix-secret-magic-potion.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":538613,"path":"one/media/5d68/ea01/f65d/9ca3/1ea4/76c4"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1567156795258,"createdBy":"publish","v":3,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"asterix-the-secret-of-the-magic-potion","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/asterix-the-secret-of-the-magic-potion/"],"excerpt":"To date, there have been 15 released film adaptations of René Goscinny and...","lastModifiedAt":1567156899501,"lastModifiedBy":"publish","composed":{"trackingPixel":[],"tags":[],"heroImage":["5d68ea01f65d9ca31ea476c4"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"fashionDesigner":[],"film":["5d68ea8ef65d9cdb50a476d5"],"people":[],"game":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"brands":[],"fashionSeason":[],"presenter":[],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f"}}]