Mustang – Film Review

Set in rural Turkey this film is all about family dynamics with 5 orphaned Sisters being made to give up their freedom as a result of their one dimensional uncle who only sees them as good for one thing; to become good housewives.  As soon as the girls start playing with boys their freedom is taken away and they have to escape their own house which is made harder and harder to achieve by various means culminating in bars on the windows.

Rather than being about the actually inprisonment of the girls the film is about the sisters relationships to one another and their struggle to come to terms with the way they are being treated. Its a really quite depressing film with all the daughters going through a huge amount of torment both psychologically and  physically. It is lightened by the girls sense of humour and their relationships with people outside their household such as the guy who teaches the youngest daughter to drive and the love between the second daughter and her husband who she insists on marrying.  You really get a picture of a country going through rapid cultural change with the girls having their desire to choose winning out over the older generations much more traditional view of the world.  Very thought provoking film with lots to discuss afterwards.

 

Eye in the Sky – Review

This British military suspense film has not really got too many surprises in it. What the film is about is the decision making process about a drone attack in Nairobi where they are originally meant to capture but end up killing a terror cell with american and British members. Its not the most interesting film from a plot perspective becaues you know what going to happen from about ten minutes into the film but the interesting part is the political posturing in the Cabinet level security meeting where nothing can get done without political approval. The preferred military option goes out the window when the  intelligence proves to be bad about the main targets meeting up at a certain location at a certain time only for them to move to another location inside a terrorist held suburb where we find them inside a house with two suicide vests being prepared for their new recruits.  after some very slow political decision making the decision is made to go ahead when a small girl of about 10 selling bread puts herself right in harms way just before the weapon is deployed. The pilot of the drone who happens to be in Vegas stops the operation and says that he’s not willing to go ahead unless the Collateral Damage Extent from the hellfire missile is recalculated. This then goes back to the committee of MP’s who are in the room with a General. The whole picture now changes as they know they are about to kill a totally innocent child so there is a massive holdup in the political process as this is passed around the cabinet in the UK and to the US who have absolutely no problem with this attack.  The military characters are much more realistic than the Political ones who seem to have no guts at all. The film would have been better if there had been a better political representation but it is still worth a watch.

Revenant

The revenant was a film where I didn’t quite know whether it was telling a story or showing off. The cinematography is so spectacular that you could kind of ignore the plot which you were encouraged to do.  The plot is a pretty simple revenge story set in the 19th century where Leonardo DiCaprio’s character goes after Tom Hardy murders his son and leaves him for dead after a bear attack. DiCaprio is one of the best actors in my opinion and he does not disappoint here with one of his best performances. He, Hardy and the supporting cast produce some very intense scenes which highlight the harshness of the landscape.

The cinematography is  what makes the film memorable with each shot from beginning to end so carefully thought through that it overrides the plot. The landscape is just incredible throughout the film which takes place over autumn and winter in the rocky mountains. You are drawn into each scene by the background as much as the foreground and the shots where DiCaprio is travelling across country are truly beautiful. Great acting along with great cinematography goes along way towards making a great film. Its a shame that the plot does not quite match up.

Film Review: Sherpa

Sherpa is about the 2014 season on Mt Everest. It is a excellent film covering the Sherpa uprsing after tragedy struck. It starts with a interesting passage about Sherpas beliefs about the mountain. You arrive at base camp with the Sherpas who are setting up camp while the Clients are on their way from Kathmandu. Preparations are as expected so that by the time the clients arrive their camp looks more like a hotel made of fabric than anything else. Sherpas are the mules of the mountain going up and down the most dangerous part, the Khumbu Icefal as many as 30 times while the clients will only have togo through it 2 or 4 times. When a 14000 tonne block of ice falls into the icefall, 16 people die including 13 Sherpa.

 

What happens next is very interesting but not out of all proportion to what’s occurred. It turns into a film about worker right and worker safety. the events are very carefully put together to give you a real sesnse of the unease around base camp in the week after the avalanche and the tentions going on between the Sherpas, the expeditions and the government when they come in 5 days after the disaster and try to quell the tentions. The lead Sherpa, Phurba Tashi, who the film follows throuhtout, is caught in the middle of this huge conflict between what his job is and what his family and the other Sherpas want to do. The scene recording the ministerial visit and the aftermath is incredibly good. The reaction of the clients in Russell Bryce’s expedition are very well portrayed and their lack of understanding of the Sherpas thinking is sometimes remarkable.

 

A really great documentary with a strong message about the way that people can change in ways that are completely unexpected while at the same time entirely within reason.