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Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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Fresh Thoughts on Film
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Colm Bairéad’s unassuming Irish Language drama THE QUIET GIRL completely broke me more than any other film this year. In the 1980s (though it could really be set in any era) timid girl Cáit (Catherine Clinch) is fostered on her aunt Eibhlín’s (Carrie Crowley) farm over the summer as her exhausted and heavily pregnant mother (Kate Nic Chonaonaigh) convalesces. While living and leaning useful life skills on the farm, Cait begins to discover what a caring and nurturing family can really be. It’s a film of fragile, humanist moments and many a tranquil arable image that’ll stay with you. Uncle Seán’s (Andrew Bennett) invaluable words of wisdom, “Many’s the person missed the opportunity to say nothing and lost much because of it” should be taken to heart by everyone prone saying the quiet parts out loud. It’s an important film not just because it so fundamentally gets people who don’t quite fit in, but also in how it preserves cultural identity as one of the few prominent examples of Irish Gaelic film storytelling. SSP
This simply delightful Wallace and Gromit-riffing absurdist comedy from Jim Archer follows Brian (David Earl), a lonely inventor of useless things who makes himself a robot friend from a mannequin and a washing machine. The AI mind of the robot, who calls himself Charles Petrescu (Chris Hayward), quickly progresses from helpless, loyal dog-child to stroppy teenager and eventually to student on a gap-year, his need for independence putting him in jeopardy from a family of bullying local farmers. BRIAN AND CHARLES is either the funniest film of the year or a completely and utterly baffling thing and it depends largely on how weird your sense of humour is. If you like deadpan delivery and surreal asides, you’ll have a great time and will get a really big-hearted and sweet story of friendship and dreams as a bonus. SSP
THE OUTFIT is one of the best films with one of the worst trailers of 2022. The marketing might have had you fooled that you had it all figured out, but this tense little chamber piece about a British cutter (suit maker) in 1930s Chicago caught up in organised crime is all about the little details. Mark Rylance is the aforementioned seemingly nervy man with shears, needle and thread landed with a body in his shop, Zoey Deutch is his spirited assistant and Johnny Flynn a brutal mob enforcer trying to clean up a mess before his boss (Simon Russell Beale) arrives. The script from writer-director Graham Moore is clever in an unshowy way, full minor and major twists that keep you on your toes, and while other films have gone to similar places before, tight control of the storytelling and an ensemble all going above and beyond makes this unexpectedly memorable. SSP