Star & Crescent film reviewer Zach Lockwood provides an exclusive guide to this week’s screenings at No. 6 cinema.
Thursday, 29th October: La Regle Du Jeu (PG)
The illusive French film La Regle Du Jeu (The Rules of the Game), which survived on 16mm prints for several decades, is coming to No.6. Make sure you catch it. A bourgeois family satire set in a pre-World War II chateau, it was despised on its initial release but, since 1956, has been heralded as one of the greatest films ever made. Director Jean Renoir addresses all facets of the class system here, offering a sharp dissection of human nature.
Other than the engrossing narrative, what stands out in this classic is Renoir’s direction. The camera is a constant observer in his characters’ lives, with the viewer treated as a voyeur peeking into the lives of several characters as they react and respond to each other in a nervy milieu. It’s a very unusual style of filmmaking, one which many directors have tried to emulate but rarely succeeded.
People may not have liked La Regle Du Jeu in 1939, but 85 years on it is easier to appreciate this as one of the gems of French cinema.
Zach’s rating: 9/10
Friday, 30th October: Legend (18)
Legend tells the story of the Kray twins, notorious East End gangsters of the 1960s. Tom Hardy plays both Ronnie and Reggie, imitating his performance in Bronson of the criminal Michael Peterson (Charles Bronson). The film contains the cream of British talent with fine performances from Christopher Eccleston, Paul Anderson, Colin Morgan, David Thewlis, Taron Edgerton and Paul Bettany.
The film is entertaining enough, especially when Tom Hardy turns the violence up to eleven in a scene where both Kray brothers brawl in a club. The direction is impressive and, for the most part, the filming of the dual characters works very well. It’s also funny in places, my fellow viewers bursting into raucous laughter several times.
But this is where the best parts of the film end. This is less a biopic and more a celebration of the titular legend, glamorising the excessive violence that made the Kray twins’ reputations. Notably (yet another) punch-up in a pub involving hammers and knuckle-dusters is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Whilst I would stop short of saying this film is unenjoyable, it lacks an element executed so well in other Kray biopics: most notably, the truth.
Zach’s rating: 6/10
Saturday, 31st October: The Wicker Man (15)
What better way to remember the life of a truly seminal actor while simultaneously celebrating Hallowe’en, than to watch Christopher Lee in arguably the best British film ever made?
A police sergeant (Edward Woodward) is sent to a Scottish island village to investigate the disappearance of a young girl whom the villagers claim never existed. He uncovers an island dominated by pagan rituals and locals who worship the Celtic gods of old. Forty-two years after its release, The Wicker Man still has the capacity to scare.
Playing island leader Lord Summerisle with verve, Christopher Lee’s booming voice will be reverberating in your ears many hours after the film has finished while Woodward’s character investigates the island with believable naivety. The direction is peerless and the slow-burning start makes for a truly triumphant third act.
Director Robin Hardy would have had a perfect back catalogue if he hadn’t followed this classic with a near unforgivable sequel, The Wicker Tree, which if you must see it, should be forgotten immediately after viewing. However, The Wicker Man is not just a great horror film, but a case study in the thriller genre. The suspense that surrounds Sergeant Howie’s every move on the island is nail-biting, with the audience completely unsure of what’s going to happen next.
The opportunity to watch this work of genius on the big screen – during the witching hour, no less – is one not to be missed. A masterpiece of British cinema.