Tag Archives: Robert Pattinson

The Devil All the Time (2020) Review

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The Devil All the Time

Time: 138 Minutes
Cast:
Tom Holland as Arvin Eugene Russell
Bill Skarsgård as Willard Russell
Robert Pattinson as Reverend Preston Teagardin
Riley Keough as Sandy Henderson
Jason Clarke as Carl Henderson
Sebastian Stan as Sheriff Lee Bodecker
Eliza Scanlen as Lenora Laferty
Haley Bennett as Charlotte Russell
Mia Wasikowska as Helen Hatton Laferty
Harry Melling as Roy Laferty
Director: Antonio Campos

A young man (Tom Holland) is devoted to protecting his loved ones in a town full of corruption and sinister characters.

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The Devil All the Time was one of my most anticipated movies of 2020. First of all it has one of the biggest casts of the year, with it including Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgard, Robert Pattinson, Jason Clarke, and Riley Keough, so naturally that had my curiosity. On top of that though, the prospect of a psychological thriller with a large group of characters sounded quite appealing and very much my kind of film. Having seen it, I can see why some people are mixed on it, it’s not for everyone, but I’m glad to say that I really liked the movie and it really worked for me.

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You could describe The Devil All the Time as like The Place Beyond the Pines as written by Cormac McCarthy or The Coen Brothers. It spans a number of decades and generations, and features a large number of characters with intertwining storylines. It can feel like it’s not driving towards something for most of the movie, it’s very much a character driven story. For me though it works, I found the story and characters compelling, and I was invested with what was happening. As mentioned earlier it is not for everyone. It is a very grim and bleak movie, a lot of graphic, violent and gruesome acts happen, there are some pretty dark themes and subject matter touched on throughout, and almost all of the main characters are pretty far from what you’d call ‘a good person’ to say the least. So it’s likely to turn a lot of people off. The movie is also just under 2 hours and 20 minutes long, it does feel quite long and it is slowly paced for sure. You could make the argument that some parts could’ve been trimmed. At the same time there are some plotlines that could’ve done with some fleshing out, particularly those of Jason Clarke, Riley Keough and Sebastian Stan. Maybe a mini series might’ve been able to flesh out all the aspects of the story while not feeling too drawn out, but I’m fine with how it is as a movie. One point of contention will be with the narration by Donald Ray Pollock, the author of the book the movie was based on. It will work for some, and others will hate it, I have very mixed feelings on it. It really did add something to the tone of the movie, making it feel like a gothic folk tale, and it also added some context to the characters and the story that it sometimes needed. So I wouldn’t say that it should’ve been completely removed or anything. However, it really needed to be cut back a ton. There’s many moments that would’ve been more effective if they didn’t have narration, it just explains way too much, including what some characters are doing and why they are doing it, and it just takes me out of the movie. This may be a nitpick but there are a few characters who are around from the 40s through to the 60s, and don’t look like they aged a day, and it can be a bit distracting.

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The cast are of course the standouts from the movie, and everyone is great on their part. Riley Keough and Jason Clarke play a serial killer couple, Sebastian Stan plays a corrupt sheriff, and Harry Melling plays a fanatical preacher, the later of whom was one of the biggest surprises of the movie, delivering a truly memorable performance. Although their characters aren’t given much to do, Eliza Scanlen, Haley Bennett, Mia Wasikowska do well on their parts, and Scanlen particularly gave an effective performance. Even amongst an ensemble of great performances, there were three actors that stood out. First of all is Tom Holland, as the main character of the story (despite appearing for the first time like 40 minutes into the movie) Arvin Russell. This was quite a different role for him, a much darker and emotional role for him, and he was actually great on his part. While I like him in the movies I’ve seen of his, I’d say that this is so far the best performance of his career thus far. I hope Holland branches out to more indie movies like this, because he’s definitely got a lot of range. Bill Skarsgard is also great as Arvin’s father, he really leaves a strong impression despite being in the movie for only like 30 minutes. He gives an intense and emotional performance, and possibly the best work I’ve seen from him thus far. Robert Pattinson is also a scene stealer as a sleezy, deranged and sinister reverend. He’s not even in the movie a ton but he makes the most of his screentime. His performance could’ve so easily failed, it is definitely over the top. However it actually really works, and he really did well at portraying the most hateable character in the film, and considering the lineup of characters in this story that is saying a lot. A particular scene between him and Holland is one of the best scenes of the year.

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This is the first movie I watched from Antonio Campos, and from this I can tell that he’s a great director, and I do want to watch his other movies. It’s very well put together. The cinematography is great and really sells the environment and time period effectively. The 35mm and the grain really also really fit the movie and tone. You really get the gothic rural feeling throughout. The use of music was pretty great, both the song choices and the score, and really worked particularly well in some certain scenes. The violence and brutality is really effective and impactful, it feels very realistic, and there are some moments and particularly some imagery that really stick with you.

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The Devil All the Time has some issues with some of the executions of its ideas and with its writing, but on the whole I think it’s great. I was invested throughout, it’s very well directed, and it features some fantastic acting, particularly from Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgard and Robert Pattinson. It’s not for everyone, the aimless story might drag for some, and the grim tone might turn some people off. With that said I think that it might be worth watching for the ensemble of great performances alone.

Tenet (2020) Review

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Tenet

Time: 150 minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence & offensive language
Cast:
John David Washington as the Protagonist
Robert Pattinson as Neil
Elizabeth Debicki as Kat
Dimple Kapadia as Priya
Clémence Poésy as Laura
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ives
Michael Caine as Sir Michael Crosby
Kenneth Branagh as Andrei Sator
Director: Christopher Nolan

A secret agent (John David Washington) embarks on a dangerous, time-bending mission to prevent the start of World War III.

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Tenet was one of my most anticipated films of 2020. It had a cast with the likes of John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki and Kenneth Branagh, the trailers looked incredible, but most of all, it was Christopher Nolan’s next film. Nolan is one of my favourite directors, an incredibly creative and visionary filmmaker, all of his movies are good, and almost all of them are at least great. However there was another layer of anticipation, with this being the first movie to be released in cinemas since March ever since the pandemic started, this was actually the first time I’ve watch a movie in theatres since February. Tenet was the movie meant to bring people back to the theatre. It lived up to all the hype and was quite an incredible experience, it’s for sure one of my favourite films from Christopher Nolan, and that’s saying a lot.

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For those worrying about spoilers, don’t worry, I won’t give anything critical away. At most I’ll refer to what was only in the trailers, which already do a good job at keeping a lot of the plot hidden. Tenet is probably Christopher Nolan’s most complex movie, and that is saying a lot. There’s a line from Clemence Poesy’s character to John David Washington’s character, “Don’t try to understand it, feel it”, and that idea is pretty much key to watching this movie. If you get too caught up with what you don’t understand, you won’t enjoy much of the rest of the movie, and will probably have a harder time getting what’s going on. The script by Christopher Nolan is fantastic, there’s a lot happening and really keeps you engaged from beginning to end, never letting go of your attention.

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At its core, Tenet is a spy and espionage movie that happens to have a science fiction element, kind of like how Inception is a heist movie. Time has played a big part in many of Nolan’s movies, with the events in Memento being played backwards, Dunkirk taking place at different time settings and over different frames of time, and even Inception and Interstellar had time playing a big role in their plots. However time is the central theme and focus of Tenet. It’s not a spoiler to say that this movie is not about time travel but rather time inversion, and for the most part I actually got on board with that concept. At first it’s a bit hard to understand it, especially earlier on where you only get a little bit of time inversion in the plot. However as the plot progresses and more is shown and revealed, you begin to understand it more, and I thought it was well handled, especially when it came to the use of exposition. There’s a specific moment layer on where there’s a lot of time inversion and I have to say I was confused as to what was going on, but again I just went with it. It’s definitely a movie that’ll probably improve on repeat viewings. I will admit that I did need to look up some ‘Tenet explained’ articles to get a grasp of some of the things that I missed as I understand more of what’s happening. However I actually understood much more of the movie than I thought I would. One criticism I have for the movie from this first viewing is that it was hard to even hear what was happening, which I’ll get into later on, but those if anything were the things that made it occasionally hard to follow what was going on. Tenet is definitely not one of Nolan’s character driven movie, despite a big cast you only learn about a few of the characters. That wasn’t a dealbreaker for me though, I was still along with the ride. Looking back at it on a whole, the more I think about the movie, the more I love it.

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There’s a great cast all around, and all of them perform really well. John David Washington plays the protagonist of the movie, who’s only referred to as ‘The Protagonist’, and he’s really great. Despite not much being known about his character, he brings such an on screen presence on his part and he carries much of the movie. Robert Pattinson was also good as an agent who works with The Protagonist, and Pattinson was particularly great alongside Washington, their on screen dynamic was very entertaining to watch. Elizabeth Debicki also gives a great performance as probably the most layered character of the movie, she’s the emotional core of the story. Kenneth Branagh plays the villain of the movie, it’s a scene chewing yet menacing performance, that really works for the movie. The rest of the supporting cast with the likes of Dimple Kapadia, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Himesh Patel, Michael Caine, and Clemence Poesy all play their parts well too.

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Christopher Nolan directs this magnificently as to be expected. Hoyte van Hoytema’s cinematography is nothing short of fantastic, it’s such a large scale movie. Nolan’s filming of action has been generally criticised (especially in the Dark Knight trilogy). I still liked them, but I can kind of see why, especially when it comes to the stunts. However, I’d say that this is by far the best action that he’s filmed (possibly even more so than Inception). The most impressive aspect of the film on a purely technical and visual level was the time inversion, with everything going in reverse, and it is much more than just reversing the film. Like every other movie he has made, his movies are filmed practically, which made so many of the sequences even more impressive. One of such moments as teased in the trailers was when a real plane was crashed, and while that certainly is a big moment, there’s far more to come which I won’t reveal. There’s so many moments that I just wondered how Nolan pulled off. The time inversion was especially impressive, and the cinematography mixed with the practical effects and stunts come together to form some unforgettable moments. This is the first time since The Dark Knight that Hans Zimmer doesn’t score a Christopher Nolan movie, instead it is Ludwig Goransson composing, and he does a fantastic job. It’s extraordinary and fits perfectly with the movie. This brings me to the sound mixing, it is a very loud movie and it can be a bit overwhelming, but it only bothers me in one particular way. As previously mentioned, I don’t have an issue with the amount of exposition in the film, it’s just that the music and a lot of the other sounds can drown out a lot of the dialogue during these moments and because of that you are sometimes left in the dark about what’s going on (and sometimes it’s simple plot points). Let’s just say that if you watched it with subtitles, you would probably understand a lot more about what is going on.

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With Tenet, Christopher Nolan has made another fresh, engaging, complex and spectacle of a film. The cast are great, I loved the plot and ideas presented, and the filmmaking is just on a whole other level. I can only see this improving upon further viewings. It’s an overwhelming and fantastic experience that is best seen in the cinema. At the same time, it’s only worth seeing this in cinemas if you feel safe and comfortable doing so right now in this moment, so if that is the case and the movie is in your area, I highly recommend seeing it.

The Lighthouse (2019) Review

Time: 109 Minutes
Cast:
Willem Dafoe as Thomas Wake
Robert Pattinson Ephraim Winslow
Director: Robert Eggers

Two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.

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The Lighthouse was one of my most anticipated films of 2019. The Witch is one of the best horror movies of recent years, and so I was naturally interested in whatever writer/director Robert Eggers would do next. While I didn’t know too much about his next movie outside of the initial brief premise, his involvement along with the leads of Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson had me intrigued. I only grew more interested in the movie as trailers came out, hinting at a dark and bizarre little horror movie. Having finally seen it, I’m glad to say that The Lighthouse is yet another excellent film from Eggers, and one of the best from this year.

At an hour and 50 minutes, The Lighthouse just entrances you from start to finish, even when early on it’s a little slow until it reaches a certain point. Even with the slow pacing, I was fully invested. The dialogue is very well written and authentic to the time period. This movie is also surprisingly darkly hilarious at many points, I didn’t expect it to be as funny as it was. It’s actually hard to pin down this movie to just a single genre, it’s a horror, a comedy, a thriller, and more. There’s a lot of things in this movie in depth that can be analysed, the most obvious being power, masculinity, and most likely religious and folklore subtext. It’s a very weird movie, and it’s very likely not one that would work for everyone. It’s a very cold movie too, and you don’t get emotionally invested with these characters, both of them aren’t likable at all, however I still liked it as that kind of movie. The last 5-10 minutes of the movie is something that I’m going to be thinking about for some time.

The cast are very limited, it’s pretty much the duo of Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, and both of them give some of the best performances of the year. Willem Dafoe has always been giving some excellent performances (especially recently) but even his work here is a standout in his career. He completely embodies this character, especially with his old fashioned dialogue, and his delivery of them, with a Captain Ahab like accent. One thing that does benefit from watching not in theatres admittedly is that you can actually have subtitles so you can see he’s saying. He has so many moments to chew the scenery and show off. Robert Pattinson is equally impressive, and shouldn’t be overlooked. He’s not immediately as standout in the beginning, mainly because he’s placed right next to Dafoe, who was giving a much more flashy performance. However as the movie progresses, and his character becomes more mad over time, he reaches such a range of emotions over the course of the film. I didn’t think that Pattinson would be able to top what he did in Good Time, but he did that here, and I strongly believe that this is a career best performance from him. The two of them play off each other excellently, constantly getting on each other’s nerves as they grow insane together.

Robert Eggers’s direction is fantastic once again, and this is quite a different movie from The Witch, even though both are period horror movies. The cinematography is absolutely outstanding. If you can watch it in the cinema, definitely do, I can only imagine it would’ve been an incredible experience. There are so many unforgettable and haunting imagery in this movie, that’s still burned into my memory. The Lighthouse was shot on black and white 35mm film, with an almost square aspect ratio, similar to that of older movies. You can actually see this movie coming out over 6 decades ago. I can’t imagine The Lighthouse working as well if it wasn’t shot like this. The locations and production design are great too, everything on that island, even the lighthouse, in the movie was actually built, and it all really feels authentic. The Lighthouse has such a dark atmosphere throughout, and I loved that. The score by Mark Korven is also great, fitting the rest of the movie so well.

The Lighthouse is one of my favourite films of the year. Robert Eggers’s direction and writing are phenomenal, it was darkly atmospheric, and the performances of Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe are outstanding. It’s not for everyone, but you’ve seen the trailers and it looks like something that you’ll like, see it as soon as possible. It’s a film that I’m looking forward to revisiting again and again. Robert Eggers is easily becoming one of my favourite up and coming filmmakers working today.

High Life (2019) Review

Time: 113 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Robert Pattinson as Monte
Juliette Binoche as Dibs
André Benjamin as Tcherny
Mia Goth as Boyse
Director: Claire Denis

Monte (Robert Pattinson) and his baby daughter are the last survivors of a damned and dangerous mission to the outer reaches of the solar system. They must now rely on each other to survive as they hurtle toward the oblivion of a black hole.

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High Life was one of my most anticipated movies of 2019. I’m not familiar with writer/director Claire Denis but with the cast involving the likes of Robert Pattinson and Mia Goth, as well as the trailers and very polarised reactions, it was something I was excited for. I really didn’t know what to expect, as it was a bit of an artsy movie and of course the reactions to it were a little confused and mixed. High Life is an effective and haunting sci-fi movie that’ll no doubt remain one of the most memorable movies of 2019 by the end of the year.

High Life is a movie that’s definitely best experienced not knowing too much about outside of the general plot summary, so I’ll try my best not to reveal too much as I didn’t know too much about it going into it. High Life certainly is a weird sci-fi movie, you might hear about the movie involving a bunch of people go into space to a black hole, however this isn’t like Interstellar by any means. I mean this is the movie that has the ship is equipped with “The Box” (also known as “The Fuck Box”), which the crew can use to masturbate, so at that point you can kind of figure out what kind of movie you are in for (or at least not in for). Also, the levels and places that the movie goes to might just be too much for people. Personally, I was on board and intrigued with everything that was going on. It does feel quite long, even at an hour and 50 minutes long and it’s because it’s a very a slow moving movie. I still like the movie quite a bit, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel the very slow pacing. It requires a lot of patience, and I had enough of it to sit through the whole thing, and I’m glad I did. If it seems like I’m being vague about the movie, it’s because I’m doing it deliberately.

Robert Pattinson continues to show how talented he is, giving one of his best performances here. Outside of his character and maybe a couple others, you don’t really root for many of the characters. So as incredible as the rest of the movie still would’ve been without it, much of it is riding on Pattinson to deliver a performance with a large amount of humanity, and a role that the audience can latch on to, which he does incredibly well. Juliette Binoche is also good as a scientist who’s conducting sexual experiments on the crew whilst taking on this suicide mission. Mia Goth always manages to take what she’s given, big or small, and with that makes herself one of the most memorable parts of each of the movies she’s in and High Life is no exception. The rest of the cast consisting of the likes of Andre Benjamin also play their parts very well but aren’t really the focus of the movie.

This is the first film from Claire Denis I’ve seen and I really want to watch the rest of her movies now because her work here is amazing, she’s definitely an expert behind the camera. This is an absolutely stunning looking movie, whether it be showing what’s inside the ship or outside it, and of course, the space sequences are breathtaking. I can imagine that it would be best experienced in the cinema. Apparently, a real life physicist and black hole expert was involved with the movie, and it certainly feels like it, making the movie feel somewhat plausible and even more authentic overall. Even the production design and costumes look authentic, it really feels like they made the movie as practical as possible and only resorted to visual effects when they needed to. We don’t see black holes a lot in this movie but there’s a very strong ominous feeling and sense of dread whenever they are on screen. Black holes are always kind of scary and you never want to go near them, but High Life particularly makes them unsettling. The score by Stuart A. Staples was also good, really giving the movie even more of that eerie vibe.

High Life is definitely not going to work for everyone. It may be too weird, disturbing or slow for some, and so I don’t blame you if it doesn’t quite work for you. However I personally really liked it. The cast all do good work (especially Pattinson, Binoche and Goth) and Claire Denis directed it immaculately. There’s no denying that it is an incredibly memorable movie. It might be a movie I need to revisit later on, as I feel like it will benefit from repeat viewings. All I can say for those who haven’t seen it yet is to go into it with an open mind.

Good Time (2017) Review

Time: 101 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language, drug use & sex scenes
Cast
Robert Pattinson as Constantine “Connie” Nikas
Jennifer Jason Leigh as Corey
Ben Safdie as Nick Nikas
Barkhad Abdi as Dash
Buddy Duress as Ray
Director: Ben Safdie and Josh Safdie

After a botched bank robbery lands his younger brother in prison, Constantine “Connie” Nikas (Robert Pattinson) embarks on a twisted odyssey through the city’s underworld in an increasingly desperate—and dangerous—attempt to get his brother Nick (Benny Safdie) out of jail. Over the course of one adrenalized night, Connie finds himself on a mad descent into violence and mayhem as he races against the clock to save his brother and himself, knowing their lives hang in the balance.

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I had been hearing some pretty good things about Good Time for a while, it received a 6 minute standing ovation at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. Much of the praise was focused towards the direction and Robert Pattinson’s performance. So I was definitely excited for what I was going to watch. I’m happy to say that Good Time definitely lived up to all the hype and praise and deserves a lot more attention than it’s been getting.

Good Time is a very straightforward movie, Robert Pattinson has to save his brother in one night and from start to finish it delivers. However, the way they did it was so fantastic. First of all, it feels very realistic and gritty, from the story to the dialogue and characters. The movie despite its title isn’t really a “good time” (it is however a good time in the sense that it is a good movie), it is quite dark and there aren’t many bright spots, even the main character isn’t really likable at all and does some very questionable things. I have to give the Safdie Brothers credit for sticking with this approach because it made the movie better. This movie is 1 hour 40 minutes long and honestly that was the perfect length, the film takes place just over a night and it really benefited from that. The film keeps you riveted from start to finish and there is a constant sense of urgency and tension. I won’t say much about the plot, honestly it’s better going in not knowing a lot about the plot.

Just like Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson has shown how great of an actor he is post Twilight and should be taken seriously. Putting the general perception of him aside, Pattinson is fantastic here. His character doesn’t have many redeeming qualities, he is very manipulative towards pretty much everyone he encounters and goes to some low levels throughout the movie. The only thing keeping us kind of rooting for him is his connection with his brother. Robert Pattinson is absolutely transformative, not once do you think that this is the guy from Twilight, you just see the character, which is one of the highest compliments that one can give to a performance. Pattinson deserves a lot of praise for his performance here and I hope we get to see more of his talents in future films. Ben Safdie (who’s also one of the directors of the film) plays Pattinson’s mentally challenged brother and although he doesn’t have a massive amount of screentime he was great. Other supporting actor performances from actors like Jennifer Jason Leigh and Barkhad Abdi are good for the short screentime that they have and they all contribute and add to the movie. However aside from all that, it is really Robert Pattinson who gets to shine the most.

This is the fourth film that The Safdie Brothers directed together and the first film I’ve seen of theirs and I can say that they are definitely very talented after seeing Good Time. The night-time scenes in particular are so well filmed, a stand out aspect being the use of colour, they were so well utilised. There is particularly also a sequence which takes place in an amusement park which was directed very well. The film has a constant sense of urgency and the way it was directed and edited really added to that. Throughout the movie there is a lot of close up shots of people’s faces (maybe a little too much) which I guess is done to make things feel claustrophobic, it may be annoying for some people but I was fine with it. The music was also excellent, the use of synth really did add to the film and is used so well, often adding to the sense of urgency.

Good Time was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2017. It has a very gritty, realistic and dark story, great direction from the Safdie Brothers and featured an excellent lead performance by Robert Pattinson, which is one of the best performances of the year (and unfortunately didn’t get enough praise). I can’t wait to see more films from the Safdie Brothers, they’ve definitely shown that their talents with this movie. I also feel like it could possibly benefit from rewatches and I can’t wait to revisit it. Good Time is definitely worth a watch and more praise, at least more praise than its been getting.