Finding Your Feet, I, Tonya, Dark River The Film Review


Finding Your Feet, I, Tonya, Dark River

Mark Kermode and Jane Hill review the week's film and DVD releases, including Finding Your Feet, Dark River and I, Tonya.


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Manchester City on Sunday, all

coming up in Six Nations Sportsday

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at 6:30pm on BBC News with meat Olly

Foster but now it is time for The

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Film Review.

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Hello and welcome to

The Film Review on BBC News.

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To take us through this week's

cinema releases is Mark Kermode.

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What have you been watching?

Interesting week, we have Finding

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Your Feet, which I think is a

British drama comedy. We have I time

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you with an astonishing performance

by Margot Robbie who also produces.

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-- -ite Tonia. And the River, a new

film by Banyard.

Finding Your Feet,

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even the poster looks like it

quintessential British gathering --

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Dark River.

The poster doesn't do a

daughter favours, it's aimed at the

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same audience that did best exotic

marigold hotel, a huge hit. The

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story begins with Imelda Staunton as

Lady Sandra Abbott on the eve of her

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retirement. She has her refinement

planned out, she leads a very posh

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life and discovers suddenly that her

husband has been having an affair.

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Here is a clip.

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What the hell's going on?

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We were just...

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It's not what it looks like, Sandra.

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Sandra.

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Sandra.

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Sandra!

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Sandra, wait.

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Get off me.

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How long's it's been going on?

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Let's not do this here.

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How long, Mike?

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Since we all went to Sorrento.

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Oh, bloody hell.

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That's nearly five years ago!

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I've had enough of all this

hide and seek, Mike.

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How could you do this to me?

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You're supposed to be my friend.

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We even took you to the palace.

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I didn't mean for this

to happen, Sandra.

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Oh, really?

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You knew precisely

what you are doing!

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Now, please calm down, Sandra.

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Remember where you are.

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I know exactly where I am,

in my own bloody home!

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I have spent my entire

married life putting you

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and your career first,

and what got me through was knowing

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that when you retired

we would share our golden

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years together.

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But instead, you've traded me

in for a newer model.

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And let me tell you, Mike.

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She's had more than

one previous owner.

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And all her bodywork

is mainly filler!

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You laughed at least twice. Exactly,

because it's funny. She walks out

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and goes to stay with her sister

with whom she is like chalk and

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cheese and her sister basically

tells her, this life you have been

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leading is an artificial life and

you have to learn to enjoy things

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more, she goes swimming in the

Hampstead pond and ghost dance

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lessons where she meets characters

like Joanna Lumley and a character

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called Charlie named Timothy Spall.

Ends, Finding Your Feet. Yuna from

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the outset that that character is

going to soften and discover more to

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life than material possessions and

the dream of her husband's

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retirement. You know from the outset

when she meets Timothy Spall and she

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finds him abrasive and difficult she

will warm to him and you know from

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the outset amongst the comedy there

will be tragedy and tears amongst

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laughs. The question is how well

this all plays out. I have to say

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rather better-than-expected. It was

charming and funny, not least

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because it's a great cast. They are

throwing themselves into it and

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having a very good time. It is well

directed by Richard Flanagan. No

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cliche goes unturned. It owes a

certain structural debt to Nativity,

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the Debbie is it film, and in fact,

funnily enough, it would've made

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more sense to release this in the

run-up to Christmas because there is

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slight Christmas theme to it so it

is odd coming out now. Despite your

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reservations about the poster which

I understand I thought it was funny

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and charming and unlike the

performances and my heart went with

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it enough that when my head kept

going hang on, my heart went just

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let it be and I did and I enjoyed

it.

All right. OK.

You have seen I

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Tonia as well.

Margot Robbie stars

and also produces.

She was

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implicated in an attack and her

career fell apart. It's been

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nominated for awards. The film takes

the structure of telling

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contradictory stories. Based on the

totally true and utterly

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contradictory testimonies of its

central characters and during the

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narrative we see each of the central

characters talking to the audience

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either through fake interviews or

breaking the fourth wall, turning to

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the audience and going, this didn't

happen. But essentially it is a

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story of somebody who has come

through and abusive background. She

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was beaten by her husband. She was

also attacked by her mother although

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the mother who is an award winner

Allison Janney, says for heaven's

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sake, show me a family that don't

have their ups and downs. It manages

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to balance, in my opinion, the

serious subject matter of domestic

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abuse, which it is about, with also

being filmed playing with post

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modern conventions in a way that

reminded me of the film 24-hour

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party people in which characters

will turn up and this didn't happen.

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It's a film about a story being told

from lots of different perspectives

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with a brilliant central

performance.

I found it hugely

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watchable, I'm not going to lie, and

the story is fascinating. It was

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that thing of turning to the camera

and being very jokey about something

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precisely at the moment when they

are talking about domestic abuse and

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he has just punched her. She marries

the first man who comes along and he

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beats her up for years.

Unfortunately that is not a subject

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for comedy.

Her mother says to her

at one point, you think you deserve

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to be beaten and she said I would

never be with a man who beat me and

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she says you beat up dad and she

says that's different. There is a

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scene when Tonya Harding had a

shotgun and she says this never

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happened. The triumph is it deals

with the serious issues were also

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being entertaining and funny and

sharp. Essentially it gives you a

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kaleidoscopic portrait and says, you

decide. Everyone watching it would

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come out with the same opinion that

she is a survivor. Whatever else you

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think she is a survivor.

Absolutely

and Allison Janney is a genius, that

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is the other thing you would come

out saying.

She eats that role for

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breakfast.

She is just fantastic.

The Shape of Water. Wonderful.

.

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River. -- Dark River. Easily

confused. It deals with abuse and if

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different way. Ruth Wilson plays a

character who returns to the tenant

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farm on which she grew up, she's

been away 15 years and her abusive

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father has died and she comes back

to the farm which she feels she has

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a right to take on the tenancy. Her

brother, however, is there

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disagrees. Here is a clip.

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I'm here now.

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What good is that?

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Really, I mean it's too

late now, isn't it?

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He's gone.

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I've been driving all night...

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Where's she gone?

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I've got to get my head down.

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I can't do this now.

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She broke her leg.

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She needs culling.

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Well, I'm not giving it mine.

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Well, you'd better get

up there, hadn't you?

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I haven't seen you for 15 years.

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I'll wait with her.

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Now, I am a huge fan of Clio

Barnard, it takes its title from a

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Ted Hughes poem and has a surface

similarity to the levelling, and yet

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it is absolutely Barnard's film.

It's about the way that trauma

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affects people's memories, about the

way trauma affects people's

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perceptions and it's about people

living with the ghost of an abusive

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past. It's very powerful not least

because the performances are very

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good which is something you expect

from Clio Barnard and also because

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it is a film located very much in

the landscape, like The Levelling

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Centres Like It Has The Feeling Of

Buried Family Secrets Coming Up From

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The Ground. It Is Very Atmospheric.

Although The Subject Matter Is Very

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Dark, The Tone Is Totally An

Exploitative, It Feels Like A Film

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Which Wants To Understand The

Psychology Of Its Characters, It Is

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A Very Sympathetic Film And Takes

This Complicated Situation Apart. I

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Saw It Twice, First On A Small

Screen A Second Time Projected And I

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Have To Say It Is A Film You Have To

See In The Cinema Because So Much Of

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It Is To Do With The Immersive

atmosphere of it. This is not a film

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you want to wait until it comes out

on DVD, you want to see it in the

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cinema, it is a cinematic experience

and she is a really brilliant

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film-maker and I thought it was a

very powerful piece dealing with

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difficult subject matter but dealing

with it very intelligently.

I can't

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wait and I love The Levelling and

God's Own Country. There is a whole

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theme going on.

The message seems to

be not to be a farmer can because it

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will be really tough. The Shape of

Water. This is my favourite film in

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the cinema at the moment. I love

this film, Guillermo del Toro's Best

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Film since pans Labyrinth, and I

think pans Labyrinth is the Best

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Film of the 21st century so far. The

Shape of Water is on one level the

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creature of the Black Lagoon meets

Splash, which sounds like it should

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work, and yet it does.

There is

something magical about it.

Super

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performance by Sally Hawkins, Doug

Jones brilliant as the creature, and

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the thing Guillermo del Toro always

does is he has this great love of

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what other people think of as

monsters. The real monster in this

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film is in the amphibious man, it's

a very human character, set against

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the backdrop of cold War paranoia

and the space race, there are

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moments when it bursts into song and

there is a song and dance routines

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suddenly in the middle of this. I

just loved it, it made me laugh, it

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made me cry, I thought it was

beautiful. I think Guillermo del

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Toro is a modern-day Orson Welles

and I love this film to pieces.

And

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to look at as well it is stunning.

You should see it on a big screen

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because it is such a treat visually.

How amazing that you could take a

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story that is apparently so bizarre

and strange, and yet give it such

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mainstream appeal. It is a film that

will work for pretty much everyone

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because it's a fairy tale but also

grounded in a strange reality. Sally

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Hawkins's performance is wonderful.

Terratec. Curious but fabulous. --

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terrific.

I will accept that.

I

liked your choice of DVD.

The Party.

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The party from hell, it has a

political backdrop, a group of

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people together where this political

thing is happening and they have

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secrets that suddenly get revealed.

What I love about it, it is a Sally

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Potter film, black and white,

stripped to the bone, it is 71

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minutes long, there isn't an ounce

of fat on it but it is sharp, the

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dialogue is very acerbic. Timothy

Spall who is in Finding Your Feet

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and terrific in all most everything.

It has a real brittle humour to it.

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I thought at the beginning I would

find it a bit insular and

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claustrophobic because it's pretty

much in one location. But it really

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made me laugh. I thought it found

its darkly comic tone.

Yes, it is a

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good watch. It is like a play for

today.

And so brief, literally,

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5-star running time.

Thank you,

Mark. It is a cracking week. A

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reminder that before you go you will

find the film News and reviews on

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the BBC online and all of our

previous programmes are on the

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iPlayer of course. It's a great

week. Enjoy your cinema going. Bye

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Bayer.

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