Archive for the Mystery Category

The Salesman

Posted in Drama, Foreign Language, Mystery with tags on April 11, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Asghar Farhadi.
Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi.
Starring: Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti, Baba Karimi, Farid Sajjadihosseini, Mina Sadaati, Maral Bani Adam, Mehdi Kooshki, Emad Emani, Shirin Aghakashi, Mojtaba Pirzadeh, Sarah Asadollahe, Sam Valipour.

“Degenerate is the one who speaks his mind through swearing”

After About Elly, the second instalment of my Asghar Farhadi trilogy is his latest film The Salesman. Alongside it’s Oscar for Best Foreign Language film of 2016, it was also a nominee for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival with Farhadi winning Best Screenplay and Shahab Hosseini winning Best Actor. So it’s fair to say that this film hasn’t exactly went unrecognised in terms of awards. However, I’ve yet to hear much personal discussion on it from anyone other than the critics and it would seem that Farhadi has still some way to go before he gets the recognition he deserves among your average film enthusiast. Continue reading

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About Elly

Posted in Drama, Foreign Language, Mystery with tags on April 9, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Asghar Farhadi.
Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi.
Starring: Golshifteh Farahani, Shahab Hosseini, Peyman Moadi, Taraneh Alidoosti, Mani Haghighi, Merila Zare’i, Ra’na Azadivar, Ahmad Mehranfar, Saber Abar,

“A bitter end is better than a never ending bitterness”

As he’s a director that has taken me some time to catch up with, I thought I’d just dive right in with a back-to-back trilogy of highly acclaimed, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. I’ve heard a lot about his Best Picture winning Foreign Language films, The Salesman in 2016 and 2011’s A Separation but it was actually by pure happenstance that I stumbled onto About Elly. This is a film that would normally have slipped under the radar for me – as it has for many – but it was a great introduction to Farhadi’s approach to filmmaking and his undeniable ability to maintain control and pacing throughout his films. Continue reading

Annihilation

Posted in Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction with tags on March 19, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Alex Garland.
Screenplay: Alex Garland.
Starring: Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny, Benedict Wong, David Gyasi, Cosmo Jarvis, Edward Mannering, Honey Holmes, John Schwab, Sonoya Mizuno.

“It’s not destroying… It’s making something new”

Beginning his career as an author and responsible for the source material of Danny Boyle’s The Beach in 2000, Alex Garland then directly ventured into the film industry by doing screenplay’s – again with Boyle on 28 Days Later and Sunshine – before he eventually took the reigns himself by making his directorial debut with the magnificent science fiction film Ex Machina in 2014. On this evidence, it’s fair to say that Garland has went from strength to strength and his sophomore film, Annihilation, continues that trend. One could even argue that it’s his best work yet. Continue reading

Blade Runner 2049

Posted in Mystery, Science Fiction with tags on January 29, 2018 by Mark Walker


Director: Denis Villenueve.
Screenplay: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green.
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Robin Wright, Jared Leto, Dave Bautista, Sylvia Hoeks, Mackenzie Davis, Barkhad Abdi, Lennie James, Edward James Olmos, David Dastmalchian, Hiam Abbass, Tómas Lemarquis, Wood Harris, Elarica Gallacher, Vilma Szécsi, Mark Arnold, Loren Peta.

“They all think it’s about more detail. But that’s not how memory works. We recall with our feelings. Anything real should be a mess”

We now find ourselves in an age where the filmmaking craft is so preoccupied with making money that it hinders the art form itself and saturates the market with crowd-pleasing dross. The rise of the superhero blockbuster has played a huge part in this and, as result, the creative and artistic nature of Blade Runner 2049 has become a casualty. Like Ridley Scott’s film before it, it has proven to be a box-office failure and despite the desire to provide sequels, the masses simply weren’t interested in this one. But 2017 took the sequel to a whole new level. They weren’t just money-spinning exercises but revisits to much loved cult classics that were intent on exploring their characters in a whole new depth: 20 years after the drug-addled exploits of Trainspotting, Danny Boyle brought a satisfying maturity to T2 while, 25 years later, David Lynch revisited the quaint logging town of Twin Peaks with The Return – a deeply surreal 18 episodes that has reinvented the way that television can be viewed. Going even further back than that, Denis Villenueve revisits Blade Runner after a 35 year hiatus and relieves my nervous disposition with the impressive completion of a 2017 hat-trick. Continue reading

The Snowman

Posted in Crime, Mystery, thriller with tags on January 25, 2018 by Mark Walker


Director: Tomas Alfredson.
Screenplay: Hossein Amini, Peter Straughan, Søren Sviestrup.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Chloë Sevigny, J.K. Simmons, Jonas Karlsson, Adrian Dunbar, James D’Arcy, Genevieve O’Reilly, Toby Jones, Val Kilmer, David Dencik, Jamie Clayton, Michael Yates, Ronan Vibert.

“You could save them you know… gave you all the clues and everything”

Michael Fassbender may be of the one of the most talented and reliable actors of his generation but the same can’t always be said about some of his film choices. Assassin’s Creed only added to another failed video-game adaptation and his work with Ridley Scott on Prometheus, Alien: Covenant and The Counselor also failed to impress (although, I was admittedly one of the few admirers of the latter film). My point being, though, is that he’s not quite as bankable as he once was. Over recent years, you’re just as likely to catch a stinker as you are a work of quality and The Snowman doesn’t do anything to remedy this issue. Continue reading

Mother!

Posted in Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery with tags on January 18, 2018 by Mark Walker

Director: Darren Aronofsky.
Screenplay: Darren Aronofsky.
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson, Kristen Wiig, Stephen McHattie, Jovan Adepo.

“You never loved me. You just loved how much I loved you. I gave you everything. You gave it all away”

With the Oscar recognitions surrounding them, you could say that Black Swan and The Wrestler have been Darren Aronofsky’s most commercially successful films. In fact, they operate as great companions pieces that explore very similar themes. It comes as no surprise then that Aronofsky has chosen to follow-up his last film, Noah, by exploring similar themes again and approaching another biblical interpretation. Only this time, he does so from a very personal and contentious angle. Continue reading

Marshland

Posted in Crime, Drama, Foreign Language, Mystery, thriller with tags on November 19, 2017 by Mark Walker


Director: Alberto Rodriguez.
Screenplay: Rafael Cobos, Alberto Rodriguez.
Starring: Javier Gutiérrez, Raúl Alévaro, Antonio de la Torre, Nerea Barros, Salva Reina, Jesús Castro, Manolo Solo.

“This place swallows you up”

In 2014, just before he won a leading Actor Oscar, Matthew McConnaughey was at the height of one of the biggest career turnarounds. It was a time that became gleefully known as the “McConnaisance” and one of the major projects that he was involved in was HBO’s television series, True Detective. It’s a surprise then that more people didn’t pay attention to Alberto Rodriguez’s Spanish thriller, Marshland. That said, it was a huge hit in its native Spain and while it made a brief arrival on the film circuit with many critics lavishing praise on it, it still seemed to disappear fairly quickly. It’s a shame as this is a dark, murder mystery that’s thoroughly deserving of a wider audience and shares many similarities with the aforementioned TV show.  Continue reading