Well the 2017 Bafta Films awards season is grinding towards its climax once more. Rather a cruel descriptor to use, ‘grinding’, when it is really such a privilege to be a Bafta films voting member. There have been many good years and some great ones, but sadly 2017 really doesn’t feel like one of them. In fact the experience has been distinctly dispiriting.
So First the Good
‘Arrival’ was the first film in the player and was uniquely enjoyable, unlike so many that followed. It had been in the cinemas some weeks earlier and I was conscious it perhaps hadn’t been that well reviewed.
It’s an extraordinary film though, a tour de force by Denis Villeneuve, both structurally and thematically, ably supported by quietly nuanced performances by Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. There is a major reversal near the end, an intensely surprising and unexpected twist on the traditional flashback, that quite took my breath away. Really can’t say more, but this is the Holy Grail of storytellers; reassessing everything you thought you understood and then seeing it anew. Arrival also managed to avoid most of the cliches of the genre and felt rather like a $50 million art house alien movie, which was refreshing in itself. Surprising, hugely inventive and intensely moving; a wonderful film.
‘Nocturnal Animals’ was a complete surprise to me! Tom Ford, the writer and director, is a fashion designer and I admire his sartorial style. However, I found his previous film, ‘A Single Man’, a ridiculous and indulgent exercise in style over content. Nocturnal Animals though is a shocking surprise and close to a masterpiece. It is a dense noir thriller that is practically a horror and Amy Adams is breathtaking once again; seriously I can barely comprehend how the Oscars have overlooked her? I was drawn in deeper and deeper as the story related in the manuscript