The Father


Viewed – 11 September 2021 online rental

The subject of Alzheimer’s disease is certainly going to be difficult viewing. This awfully cruel illness is hard to explore but in the hands of French novelist turned Director Florian Zeller and an actor of the calibre of Anthony Hopkins … I found myself heavily drawn into this powerful drama.

Hopkins plays ‘Anthony’ an ageing man who is looked after by his daughter (The Crown’s Olivia Coleman). The approach here is at first hard to follow as the setting and characters keep changing with no explanation, and even the time line jumps back and forth. Yet when it clicks and you realise such a confusing narrative is purposely due to Anthony’s perspective, you realise you’re witnessing what it might be like to suffer from this disease. It’s very cleverly done and I recommend just going with it until it’s final scenes – because trust me, it’s worth it.

Olivia Coleman is very good like always, convincingly playing a daughter struggling to care for her father. There’s also appearances from Mark Gattis, Rufus Sewell and Olivia Williams. However at the centre of it all is an incredibly layered and it has to be said, heart-breaking performance from Hopkins, who deserves every inch of that Oscar. A powerful, surprisingly amusing at times yet also very authentic drama that gripped me as much as it got me teary eyed. A must watch.

Verdict: Essential

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter


Viewed – 19 January 2013 Blu-ray

OK, this is immediately a bizarre concept, but stick with me.  A young Abraham Lincoln witnesses his mother get killed by a local businessman who turns out to be a vampire.  Abe vows revenge and as he grows into an adult, befriends a vampire hunter whilst at the same time building his reputation as a politician – which I’m sure you’ll have grasped, leads him to The White House.

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Directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) this is a very stylish and highly entertaining vampire action-horror. As should be expected by a movie from the Russian visionary, the action is incredibly imaginative, adrenaline fuelled and at times utterly bonkers – but realism isn’t the point here, and despite clever implementation of historical events such as the battle of Gettysburg, this remained pure escapist cinema of the highest order.  Title star Benjamin Walker handles the material well despite lacking much charisma or screen presence beyond the Lincoln attire, and the gorgeous Mary Elizabeth Winstead is as likable as always even when in aged make-up. Rufus Sewell also makes for a credible, creepy villain.

Yes it gets a bit mad at times, with Bekmambetov’s ideas threatening to overwhelm (a horse stampede parkour sequence??), and its an idea that really shouldn’t work. Yet if you cast your rational thinking and knowledge of American history aside – it just does … and then some. A firm recommendation.

Verdict: 4 /5