No Hollywood big-hitters, but Venice shines still, thanks to some five-star treats: BRIAN VINER reviews Poor Things and Hit Man at the Venice Film Festival

  • Post category:news
  • Reading time:3 min(s) read

Poor Things (141 mins)

Rating:

Hit Man (113 mins)

Rating:

Coup de Chance (93 mins)

Rating:

The Killer (118 mins)

Rating:

There has been a little less glamour than usual at this year’s Venice Film Festival, as a consequence of the Hollywood actors’ strike. But there’s been no shortage of talking points and a few really wonderful movies.

Poor Things by Yorgos Lanthimos, is my tip for the festival’s main prize, the Golden Lion. Anyone who has seen the Greek director’s previous films, such as The Favourite (2018), will not be surprised to learn that this one is bizarre in the extreme.

Set in Victorian London it stars Emma Stone, absolutely superb as Bella, a woman with what appears to be the mind of an infant, who shares the home of a famous surgeon, Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe). It turns out that it really is the mind of an infant. After she drowned herself in the Thames, Baxter re-animated her by giving her the brain of her own unborn child.

So when we first meet her she is very simple-minded, but the film chronicles her development into an independent adult, a process that is hastened, somewhat graphically, by her discovery of sex. It’s a remarkable film, shot in Lanthimos’s trademark wacky style, with an uproarious performance from Mark Ruffalo as the bounder who tries to exploit Bella’s childlike naivety and ends up paying a heavy price.

I also loved Hit Man, Richard Linklater’s new film. It’s a rom-com, a thriller and a black comedy, all marvellously rolled into one, with a delightful turn by Linklater’s co-writer Glen Powell in the title role of a mild philosophy professor who works part-time for the New Orleans police and pretends to be an assassin to entrap those hiring him.

Poor Things by Yorgos Lanthimos, is my tip for the festival's main prize, the Golden Lion. Anyone who has seen the Greek director's previous films, such as The Favourite (2018), will not be surprised to learn that this one is bizarre in the extreme, writes BRIAN VINER

Poor Things by Yorgos Lanthimos, is my tip for the festival’s main prize, the Golden Lion. Anyone who has seen the Greek director’s previous films, such as The Favourite (2018), will not be surprised to learn that this one is bizarre in the extreme, writes BRIAN VINER

Mark Ruffalo and Emma Stone in Poor Things

Mark Ruffalo and Emma Stone in Poor Things

Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn attending a red carpet for his film Coup de Chance

Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn attending a red carpet for his film Coup de Chance

Woody Allen’s Coup de Chance is fun. It’s his first picture in French as well as his 50th and quite possibly final feature overall. Set in Paris, with a mellow jazz soundtrack, it stars Lou de Laage as Fanny, whose apparently blissful marriage to a wealthy businessman is undermined when she starts an affair with an old schoolfriend, Alain (Niels Schneider).

From there it becomes an Allen-esque souffle of adultery, jealousy and murder. It’s very nicely done, his best film in years.

Speaking of murder I quite liked the Netflix film The Killer with Michael Fassbender in the title role as an international assassin. It’s moody, stylish and pretty preposterous, but thoroughly watchable, with a cherishable cameo from Tilda Swinton.




#Hollywood #bighitters #Venice #shines #fivestar #treats #BRIAN #VINER #reviews #Poor #Hit #Man #Venice #Film #Festival