NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR (BFI). Nigel Kneale’s 1949 adaptation of George Orwell’s novel had a major impact when it was broadcast live on BBC television in 1954. Audiences were alarmed and frightened by the image of the UK as a totalitarian state. Despite the outcry, the BBC had the courage to repeat the performance four days later to a crowd of seven million, and it is this performance that is to be seen again. Peter Cushing is the hero. Andre Morel is excellent as Big Brother.
SLOW WEST (channel 4). John Maclean directs a Western that is no less effective for being slow. Set in Colorado in 1870 (but filmed in New Zealand), a 16-year-old (Kodi Smit-McPhee) pays a bounty hunter (Michael Fassbender) to accompany him on his quest to find his lost love. The body count is high.
THE STATEMENT (Sony). Michael Caine is unexpectedly cast as the French Nazi collaborator responsible for the deaths of seven Jews in Vichy, France. Forty years after the end of World War II, he is still on the run, pursued by Jews who want to kill him and by the government who want to arrest him. He is granted refuge by the Roman Catholic Church. Caine’s role alternates between a cold-blooded assassin and a guilty Catholic seeking absolution. Tilda Swinton is cast as judge. Jeremy Northam is cast as Colonel.
COMBUSTION (BBC iPlayer). Directed by Lee Chang-dong, this intriguing South Korean psychological thriller has received critical acclaim. A poor, lonely country boy (You Ah-in) who has just graduated comes to Seoul and becomes obsessed with a girl (Jean Jong-seo) who prefers the company of a very rich young man (Steven Yeun). , whose hobby is burning down greenhouses . The film is a slow burner, intense, mysterious, building to a strong climax, leaving the audience with much to ponder and puzzle over.
WATCH MOVIES AT HOME: Robert Tanitch reviews 4 movies.
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