BFI London Film Festival 2017 - UPDATE #3
Directed by Clio Barnard
UK/89 MINUTES/SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
You really shouldn't, but just in case you needed more proof that John Cho deserves to be a bigger star: Columbus. Watch it. About a man who returns to America from Korea when his father falls Ill, and who subsequently strikes up a friendship with a young librarian, Columbus is a walker-and-talker in the vein of stuff like Lost in Translation and Before Sunrise. It never quite rises to the level of those films, but it has a low-key charm that's undeniable. Cho is, as mentioned, absolutely great -- he's as charming as ever, while still embuing the role with an impressive amount of pathos. But Haley Lu Richardson is every bit his equal, giving a vibrant performance that clearly portends bigger and better things for the young actress. Columbus is the first film from Kogonada, whose stylish but admirably restrained direction emphasizes long, meticulously framed shots with a static camera. If this film is any indication, he's definitely a filmmaker you're going to want to keep on your radar.
Directed by Nora Twomey
CANADA/IRELAND/LUXEMBOURG/93 MINUTES/OFFICIAL COMPETITION
Powerful but also lighthearted, Last Flag Flying
is the latest film from Richard Linklater, which means that everyone talks a lot with dialogue that's occasionally a bit overly theatrical, but it also means that the film is well made and engaging throughout. About three old navy buddies who reunite after decades apart to go on a road trip, the movie features a trio of really impressive performances from Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne. Their easy-going chemistry is a big part of why the film works as well as it does, and though all three are great, it's Carrell who gives the film's most understated performance, and who's tasked with much of the dramatic heavy lifting. He's absolutely fantastic; there's almost certainly an Oscar nomination in his future, if not an outright win. But while the movie is entertaining throughout, it does drag a bit towards the end of its fairly long 125 minute runtime (though if your eyes are dry after the emotional conclusion, you might just be a robot).
-Reviews by Michael Nusair