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DOWNHILL – Volker Bertelmann

March 6, 2020 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Downhill is an English-language remake of the Swedish film Force Majeure, which was written and directed by Ruben Östlund and was nominated for a Golden Globe for best foreign language film. The remake, which is directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, stars Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Pete and Billie, a married American couple on a skiing vacation in Austria with their children. One day, while the family is having lunch at an outdoor restaurant, a controlled avalanche takes place on a nearby mountain; the snow comes perilously close to their table, to such an extent that Billie genuinely believes she is going to die. Pete, however, grabs his phone and runs away, apparently abandoning his family to save himself. Everyone survives, but this one incident proves to be the trigger for a different kind of avalanche – where simmering tensions in the marriage suddenly come roaring the surface. The film is a perfect blend of comedy and drama, and is anchored by winning performances by both Ferrell and Louis-Dreyfus, who somehow manage to make the film’s potentially jarring tonal shifts seem natural. Read more…

LION – Dustin O’Halloran and Volker Bertelmann

January 30, 2017 3 comments

lionOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Director Garth Davis’s film Lion is a warm-hearted real life drama based on the non-fiction book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley and Larry Buttrose, which stars Dev Patel as a young Indian-Australian man caught between two cultures. As a child in rural India, 5-year old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) and his older brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) eke out a meager living, finding and selling rocks and cleaning trains. One day, Saroo accidentally finds himself stuck on a train bound for Calcutta; completely alone in a megalopolis of almost 15 million people, and with no way home, Saroo lives among the city’s homeless children until he is eventually taken in by an orphanage, who arrange for him to be adopted by an Australian couple, Sue and John Brierley (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham). Twenty years later, the adult Saroo has forgotten much of the detail about his childhood, but gradually becomes obsessed with finding his birth parents, spending all his time feverishly searching Google Earth, and alienating his girlfriend Lucy (Rooney Mara). What emerges is a moving story about cultural identity, family, and the strength and dedication Saroo shows in trying to discover the truth about his past. Read more…