We Bought a Zoo
A widowed father played by Matt Damon moves to the South Californian country and purchases a zoo with his family
On Film4: 31 Aug 6:25PM
Oscar-nominated Belgian crime thriller. A cattle farmer (Matthias Schoenaerts), haunted by an emasculating childhood trauma, becomes embroiled with the local animal hormone mafia.
Marion Cotillard's Rust and Bone co-star, Matthias Schoenaerts, confirms his star quality and sports a similarly pumped-up physique in this earlier film, made in his native Belgium. The difference here is that his character's muscles are achieved not through a boxer's training, but with the help of a chemical cocktail – drugs he's been taking since a childhood attack robbed him of his testosterone-fuelled masculinity. Ironically, farmer Schoenaerts is also pumping his cattle full of drugs, in order to fatten them quicker. He's worried, however, that a proposed deal with a dodgy vet and a slimy beef trader will compromise his beastly business, especially given the unwelcome 'heat' generated by the recent shooting of an investigating policeman. In the meantime, a chance encounter with a childhood friend dredges up memories of the incident that robbed him of his manhood.
Played more nimbly, and with a sharper eye for its black comic elements, writer-director Michaël R. Roskam's over-plotted, over-cooked drama might have succeeded in blending human tragedy and oblique humour. Instead, its complicated skeletal frame has trouble supporting the dramatic weight imposed upon it. The parallels between the hormone-enhanced cattle and Schoenaerts' bullheaded beast are laboured, the storyline plods when it should gambol, and the sludgy brown and green palette – while appropriate to the bucolic setting – sucks the life out of the gloomy landscapes and murky crime drama. Worst of all are Schoenaerts' clumsy, ill-fated attempts to woo his childhood sweetheart and re-write the life-defining trauma of his lost masculinity, which utterly fails to tread the fine line between fatalistic inevitability and melodramatic predictability.
A bovine crime drama that confirms breakout Belgian Matthias Schoenaerts' star quality.
Jack Reynor is Richard, a star athlete who has just left secondary school when a drunken encounter threatens to ruin his future. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, What Richard Did marks Reynor as an extraordinary new talent as a young man who quickly becomes
A season of horror films to celebrate Film4's FrightFest
Room, High-Rise, The Lobster, Youth, 45 Years and Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story Of Dream Alliance have been selected for this year¿s Toronto International Film Festival, which runs from Septem
Check out the exquisite poster for Anton Corbijn's Film4-backed drama Life, starring Robert Pattinson & Dane DeHaan... Inspired by the true story of a friendship that developed between photogra
A summary of the critics and film professionals who voted for the top 50 Horror films of the 21st Century
As voted for by a panel of horror experts and friends of Film4 & FrightFest
@Film4 From 12.45pm, we're screening an Ice Age double bill: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs, followed by Continental Drift. http://t.co/x4nyTJ4aQZ
@Film4 @lovatoszac You're welcome!
@Film4 @lovatoszac Hello! Just to let you know, 17 Again's on today at 4.20pm.
@Film4 Fantastic Mr Fox starts very shortly at 11am. Just enough to watch director Wes Anderson's introduction: https://t.co/CmDKFY3RVu
@Film4 RT @Glinner: One of Anderson's best RT @Film4: We're starting #BankHolidayMonday at 11am with a stop-motion animated treat: Fantastic Mr Fo…