The Lives of Others – 8/10.

Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe) bei seiner Arbeit.


Germany. 1984. A fastidious and committed member of the secret police begins surveillance of a writer and an actress.

Strong themes of betrayal, guilt but mostly sacrifice run through The Lives of Others and make it a powerful and compelling masterpiece. The story and the controlled performance of Ulrich Muhe reminded me of Equilibrium and Christian Bale. Both actors masterfully portray the sight of a man feeling for the first time. Writer/director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck would probably not appreciate the comparison to such low brow Hollywood fare but I found both movies to be excellent in their own way. Another message to be found here is that, as with The Pianist, art conquers all. Definitely not a popcorn flick but as an Oscar for Best Foreign film and a high position in the IMDB top 250 (#52) will attest to, The Lives of Others is well worth watching if you are looking for classic film making.

Silent Hill – 7.5/10

Mother and daughter have a road accident and find themselves in the hellish ghost town of Silent Hill.


This must be the fifth or sixth time I have seen Silent Hill and my enjoyment of it has not lessened at all. It had to overcome some significant disadvantages, people get a bit sniffy about Hollywood horror, particularly one that is a video game adaptation (read the critics reviews of the Resident Evil series for example). Silent Hill also had to survive Sean Bean wandering around, confused, speaking in a thousand accents.

Despite these setbacks, Silent Hill is a modern horror gem. The scenes where ‘the darkness’ comes are some of the most nightmarish and imaginative stuff in recent years and whilst the ending toes the line between ingenuity and just plain daft it just about pulls it off. If this had been done for a lesser budget and was South Korean, people would be raving over it. Shame about the sequel though.

Glastonbury – 4/10.

Distinctly average documentary reinforces all negative stereotypes about Glastonbury…
Renowned music documentary maker Julien Temple (Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten, The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle) brings us this floating turd about the legendary music festival.
What a missed opportunity Glastonbury is. Anyone who thinks that Glastonbury festival is populated by hippy cunts and 40 year old Levellers fans will feel totally vindicated at watching this documentary. We get extensive and mostly pretty boring interviews with festival organizer Michael Eavis but no interviews with any of the artists who have played there.
Some decent performances from Faithless, David Bowie, and Pulp but other bands are massively overlooked (Radiohead get about the same amount of screen time as Stereo fucking MC’s). There is no real narrative to this sprawling, messy 138 minute documentary, it doesn’t tell the story of Glastonbury as such, it is mostly raw footage of drunken tossers trying to be funny for the camera. Not worth anyone’s time, download a band you likes set from Glasto and watch that instead.