“Brimstone” is a highly controversial film produced by the Dutch director Martin Koolhoven. The film’s non-linear plot follows Liz (Dakota Fanning), a young girl and then woman, who is plagued by the harassment and persecution of one – the Reverend (Guy Pearce). Unflinching in the way it portrays highly controversial topics and beautiful in its execution, this film will be deemed “shocking” and “distasteful” by some, while others will only see in the film extreme courage, originality and intelligence. Either way, this atmospheric film will have a big impact on the viewer, and the sensations it will provoke will not fade away any time soon. In that vein, although “Brimstone” was misunderstood and fiercely criticised in the US, the film has been the centre of praise in Europe, and rightly so.
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The Neon Demon (2016)
“Beauty isn’t everything. It’s the only thing”, says Roberto Sarno in “The Neon Demon”. Director of this movie, Nicolas Winding Refn, seems to have taken this statement close to heart, and crafted a film where visual beauty is, indeed, the only thing worth paying any attention to, seemingly forgetting that, in film-making, visual representation is never the only thing that counts. Refn (also director behind critically-acclaimed “Drive” (2011)) is now here also the writer, and his story is about Jesse (Elle Fanning), an underage aspiring model, who comes to LA to try her luck in show-business. After gaining initial success, Jesse realises that the climb to the top is thornier than she had previously imagined it to be, especially when a group of fellow models start to covet her natural attributes and instantaneous success. Despite its outstanding visual effects and a promising premise, “The Neon Demon” is preposterous and misguided, that kind of a film which one can easily stop watching half way through, never really caring about the ending.
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Coming from Danish director Lars Von Trier (‘Dancer in the Dark’ (2000), ‘Dogville’ (2003)), this controversial film promises to be anything but an easy ride. Hailed in Denmark a masterpiece overnight, ‘Antichrist’ became a bloody ‘conundrum’ abroad. The film follows a guilt-driven/grief-ridden couple (He & She) as they retreat into a cabin in the woods, trying hard to combat both their grief in relation to their lost child and their inexplicable fears. As they face each other and their surrounding environment deep in the woods, they soon realise that their retreat is far from being therapeutic.
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