The Hangover Part III
The wolfpack is back in Todd Phillips' conclusion to the comedy trilogy
Vincent Gallo is Mohammed, an escaped terrorist in Jerzy Skolimowski's art-house pursuit thriller
Most of Essential Killing is simply footage of Vincent Gallo reeling around the snowy forests of Poland like a drunken department store Santa Claus who's taken a wrong turning into a hellish Eastern European hinterland. It's both powerful and absurd and almost entirely dialogue-free, being a visual account of the path taken by a terror suspect who escapes the clutches of his US guards and goes on the lam in the woods.
Mohammed is resourceful, always an attractive quality in characters on film, whether the hero or villain of the piece. In contrast, introspection and indecisiveness lend themselves to the internal monologues of novels. And yet Essential Killing would nevertheless make a compelling novel, because for all his tenacious will to survive, which results in some of the more surprising visual tableaux you'll see in cinemas this year, Gallo's speechless character is a moral blank who's head it would be interesting to get inside. We're keen to see what he'll face next, but you're neither rooting for him to escape nor for his capture, which places us in a strangely muted moral echo chamber. What are the repercussions of his actions? The question dies as you ask it; it's not relevant here.
This is a film that concerns itself more with how than why, painting a picture of desperation than invites neither sympathy nor condemnation, but a gaze non-judgemental to the point of callousness. Truth be told, this objectivity provokes occasional laughter as our detachment allows the absurdity of Mohammed's situation to drift free from normal humane prerogatives. It's a strange experience, but, being an unusual one in cinema, to be welcomed as a rare experiment.
An arresting snow-bound oddity concerning a character you can't care for and yet feel compelled to watch.
Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive, one of the final Competition entries to screen here at the festival, begins with stars rotating slowly in the sky. Then we see a single - Charlie Feathers' Can't
The Film4-backed The Selfish Giant, directed by Clio Barnard, wins Best European film in Directors¿ Fortnight at Cannes [caption id="attachment_2522" align="alignnone" width="600"] Clio Barnard's The