Phil on Film Index

Monday, June 19, 2017

Slack Bay

Whatever happened to Bruno Dumont? After seven films that established his reputation as one of the most uncompromising and provocative filmmakers on the arthouse circuit, his 2014 miniseries P’tit Quinquin was a bewildering change of pace. It still looked and felt like a Dumont film, but the dour tone of his previous work had shifted into a lighter mode, and he displayed an unexpected gift for eccentric comedy. P’tit Quinquin was something truly unique, a film that seemed to act as both a parody of his own ultra-serious work and an ambitious attempt to explore his usual themes in a fresh way.

But if you thought Dumont would revert to type after scratching his comic itch, think again. Slack Bay is pure slapstick. The tone is set early on with the appearance of two detectives, played by Didier Després and Cyril Rigaux, who bear an uncanny resemblance to Laurel and Hardy. The gap-toothed Després is so corpulent his every movement prompts squeaky sound effects, as if his joints are straining under pressure. And Dumont clearly recognises the time-honoured comic value of a fat man falling over – Després spends much of the film tumbling down sand dunes with his wide-eyed colleague scampering after him.

Read the rest of my review at Little White Lies

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Churchill. The stark one-word title immediately brings an iconic image to mind. A bulldog-like character resting on a cane, a Homburg hat on his head, a cigar jutting out from his mouth, his hand raised in a victorious two-fingered salute. It’s a figure so familiar we might feel we know everything there is to know about the man already, not least because Brian Cox’s decent impersonation is just the latest in a seemingly inexhaustible run of TV and film portrayals.

Director Jonathan Teplitzky makes much use of this iconography in Churchill, often shooting Cox in profile or as a distinctive silhouette, but Alex von Tunzelmann’s screenplay attempts to dig beneath the surface and to reveal different aspects of the man during one of the turning points of World War Two.

Read the rest of my review at Little White Lies