Monday 23 November 2020

Endless (Scott Speer, 2020)

The Movie Partnership are releasing Endless, a high school love story with a sinister twist, to digital download platforms from today.  This follows an October theatrical release exclusively in Showcase Cinemas.

From the producer who brought you Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's box office smash hit A Star Is BornEndless follows madly in love high school graduates Riley (Alexandra Shipp) and Chris (Nicholas Hamilton).  When the pair are separated by a tragic car accident, Riley blames herself for her boyfriend's death while Chris is stranded in limbo.  Miraculously, the two find a way to connect. 

In a love story that transcends life and death, both Riley and Chris are forced to learn the hardest lesson of all - letting go.  Endless also stars X-Men legend Famke Janssen and DeRon Horton, who stars in the groundbreaking Dear White People and Netflix's Burning Sands.

Endless will be available to watch on all major digital download platforms from today.  Stay in the loop with the film here on Instagram.

Source/images: Strike Media

Thursday 5 November 2020

Druk (Thomas Vinterberg, 2020)

Director Thomas Vinterberg's new film Druk (English: Another Round) is a production that received support from the Netherlands Film Fund, and it played at the London Film Festival just last month.  Vinterberg's previous film, Kursk, was a solid if unspectacular retelling of the tragic fate of the eponymous Russian vessel, but Druk sees the director on altogether more familiar ground, and this efffort feels much more organic than his serviceable submarine movie.  For this latest film, Vinterberg reunites with his Jagten star, the excellent and reliable Mads Mikkelsen, and the results are almost as impressive as the pair's previous joint venture.  Between these two collaborations, Vinterberg made a brace of English-language films (Kursk and Far from the Madding Crowd) with Belgian star Matthias Schoenaerts, an actor whose style is somewhat similar to Mikkelsen's; it is easy to see why the director has favoured these two performers in recent times. 

Mikkelsen's Martin is a high school teacher going through the motions in work and life, and both his family and pupils seem bored of a man who seems to have largely lost interest in the world.  Things change when Martin and three of his colleagues agree to test out the theory of Norwegian psychiatrist Finn Skårderud, who hypothesised that humans have a blood alcohol deficit of 0.05% and should look to redress this in order to function properly.  Naturally, putting this theory into practice takes a bit of trial and error, and the four participants take to keeping bottles and breathalysers stashed away in the workplace as they look to maintain the level prescribed by Skårderud.  After a few adjustments, Martin gets to a point that allows him to reconnect with both his wife and his students; life has certainly picked up for Martin and his friends, but how long before the constant drip-feeding of alcohol escalates into something more serious?

While Thomas Vinterberg will most likely always remain in the long shadow cast by his breakthrough feature Festen—a film that is now 25 years old—he more often than not makes interesting, accessible films, and Druk is definitely one of his better efforts.  The film is helped no end by a well-judged lead performance from Mads Mikkelsen and, good as his co-stars are, there's a sneaking suspicion that Druk would be greatly diminished without Mikkelsen's presence; his Martin is by no mean a dislikeable man, but is rather someone who's lost his way a little, and the actor channels an affable world-weariness that is always relatable.  Not unlike Mikkelsen's character in Jagten, Martin is basically a decent guy who finds himself in a hole he needs to dig his way out of, and while the situation in Druk isn't nearly as grave as that in Jagten, Martin still has his work cut out if he's to save his relationship with his wife and sons.

Druk contains some very convincing scenes of drunkenness and, just like recent documentary Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets (which could quite easily partner Druk in a boozy double bill), it convincingly conveys the seductive, appealing nature of drinking, although Druk pans out as a cautionary tale as opposed to Bloody Nose's observational, non-judgmental take on barflies at play.  Druk can be fairly predictable at times, but it's an authentic piece of cinema, one that again confirms how reliable Thomas Vinterberg has become—although he would no doubt be aghast to be labelled as such.  It seems quite a coincidence that two of Vinteberg's very best films have starred Mads Mikkelsen, and with any luck the pair will collaborate again in the near future; of course, if it turns out that Mads is busy (as he may well be), perhaps his very able stand-in Matthias Schoenaerts will be available?

Darren Arnold