The Young Karl Marx Review

Young Karl Marx

Almost exactly 200 years to the day after Karl Marx’s birth (5 May 1818), his breezy biopic The Young Karl Marx hit UK cinemas (4 May 2018). It’s well timed not only for this date match, but also for arriving at a moment in which socialist ideals have hit the mainstream in British politics, especially amongst young people. It’s these ideals that Raoul Peck (director of the fascinating James Baldwin documentary I Am Not Your Negro) seems most comfortable with. His film focuses on philosophical and semantic minutiae ahead of emotion, and while this makes it an enlightening history lesson, it does also mean that it’s often very dry.  Continue reading


The Post Review


Put together in a mere six months after external factors forced the indefinite delay of Steven Spielberg’s planned 2017 entry The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, The Post could not have found a more timely release. A news media hating president being brought low by high-quality journalism and incontrovertible truth and facts describes an ideal outcome for the USA in 2017, just as it did in 1971, when the Washington Post published the Pentagon Papers, turning the tide of public opinion against the Vietnam war. ‘Strike while the iron is hot’ filmmaking is a natural next step in this current prolific phase of the great director’s career, but also makes The Post too rushed to land with the weight it should.  Continue reading

The Death of Stalin Review

Death Stalin

The work of Armando Iannucci has often focused on the absurdity of power and its more than imperfect use in the hands of very fallible people. With The Death of Stalin, he reaches the logical conclusion of this theme, highlighting the darkly idiotic heart of one of the most far-reaching and violent dictatorships the world has ever known. As Stalin lay dying in 1953, no one dared enter his room to help him, for fear that they would get themselves killed for admitting the great leader’s human vulnerability. It’s a ridiculous, and deeply tragic, way for anyone to die, and it’s this line between laughs and gut-deep fear that Death of Stalin walks at all times.  Continue reading

Detroit Review


One of the immediate takeaways from Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit is that its relative newcomer lead, Algee Smith, should be a cinematic superstar. As Larry Reed, frontman of Motown band The Dramatics and victim of hideous police brutality, Smith shows that he can switch from charmingly suave to infectiously terrified, all the while wowing with a phenomenal singing voice. He needs to be brilliant, as do the rest of the cast, constantly trapped in intense close quarters, with Bigelow’s frantic camera lurching in for invasive close-ups in this savagely claustrophobic film.  Continue reading

The Death Of Louis XIV Review

Death Louis 14

Albert Serra’s new film, The Death of Louis XIV, has one of the most ‘does what it says on the tin’ titles of any film in recent memory. From the very first scene in which the ailing, aged monarch (played by French New Wave poster boy Jean-Pierre Leaud) ineffectually opens his mouth to either gasp for air or search for words that now escape him, he may as well already be dead. In fact, if there were any kindness in the world, he would just be left to expire, but in the hands of fearful doctors, his existence is protracted for day after agonising day, as the king himself shrinks into death.  Continue reading