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Film Review: Luce

“If You Don’t Conform To What She Wants Then Suddenly You’re The Enemy…”

Debuting at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to an overwhelmingly positive critical reception, Luce is the latest from Nigerian-born filmmaker, Julius Onah, whose previous high profile release in the form of Netflix’s, The Cloverfield Paradox, immediately branded him as a cinematic fish out of water, with the big budget sequel undoubtedly one of the silliest and most misjudged so-called science fiction movies in recent memory. Moving away from nonsensical space stories for the time being and into the realm of Hitchcockian-esque drama, Onah’s latest is a deliciously directed and incredibly well crafted step in the right direction, an absorbing and beautifully looking low-key mystery which finely balances cutting familial tensions, a contemporary social commentary and a Twin Peaks style small-town uncertainty revolving around the film’s titular character, one brought to life thanks to a gripping central performance from Kelvin Harrison Jr. who continues to impress after his work on the underrated 2017 horror, It Comes at Night. 

With it being difficult to explain the central plot of the film without moving into spoiler territory, Luce primarily follows Harrison Jr.’s model all-star student, years after he was adopted away from his war-torn homeland of Eritrea and into the white-picket fenced household of Amy and Peter Edgar, portrayed superbly by Naomi Watts and Tim Roth respectively who reunite after their work together on Michael Haneke’s English language shot-for-shot remake of Funny Games. After concerns regarding Luce’s beliefs are raised by Octavia Spencer’s (The Shape of Water) overbearing teacher, a battle of wills and words soon begins between both professor and student as certain mysteries surrounding Luce’s personal life and agenda soon materialise, much to the dismay of Watts’ Amy who begins to wonder whether her beloved adopted son is actually who she thinks he is. With the the film managing to expertly handle that fine line between exposition and intelligent storytelling, Luce works thanks to a narrative approach which begs the audience to make up its’ mind regarding what they are observing on screen, and in an era in which cinema annoyingly finds the need to spoon feed the plot to cater for everyone in the audience, Onah’s second high profile release is an absorbing redemptive piece which will make you contemplate events long after the closing credits.

Overall Score: 8/10

Film Review: Gemini Man

“When I Saw Him, It Was Like I Was Seeing A Ghost. Like Every Trigger I’ve Ever Pulled…”

When it comes to my own personal opinion of Ang Lee, a director who still seems to be riding off of the critical success of the multi award winning and completely overrated, Life of Pi, the Chinese born filmmaker never really settles on a steady production line of impressive body of cinematic works, with his best work, such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain, sandwiched between the disastrous, Hulk, highlighting that whilst Lee isn’t afraid to push new boundaries in the world of film, not every decision seems to be one which works to a successful degree. With no one on the planet managing to catch up with Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Lee returns to the world of mainstream blockbusters in the form of Gemini Man, a ridiculously preposterous science fiction action flick which sees Will Smith (Suicide Squad) as Henry Brogan, a highly skilled government assassin who upon hitting the ripe age of his early fifties, decides that retirement is the best way forward after a life full of murder finally takes its toll.

As per the spoiler-heavy nature of trailers nowadays, the main crux of the narrative then focuses on a very out-there government conspiracy to eradicate Brogan after he is determined to be a threat to natural security, resulting in the discovery of Brogan’s clone, a younger, more agile and apparently less emotional version of himself who is sent to hunt his elder counterpart down by the slick-haired figure of Clive Owen (The Informer). Part Looper, The Matrix and every other science fiction classic known to man, Lee’s movie is inherently messy, stupid and unengaging, one which features a screenplay from Game of Thrones creator, David Benioff, and the type of straight-to-DVD B-movie which makes you wonder how on earth films like this manage to get widespread release when films like Dragged Across Concrete and Burning are harder to find than the Bermuda Triangle. Want an answer? Will Smith, and whilst the Fresh Prince tries his hardest to put some meat on the bones of a very stagnant plot, the truth is that Lee’s baffling love of all things technical means that Gemini Man looks absolutely terrible, with the de-aging effect used on Smith creating a very disturbing uncanny valley vortex which makes half the movie look like a third-rate video game, and whilst Lee’s latest isn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen, it is clearly his weakest film to date and proves that some filmmakers only have one or two good films in them for the entirety of their careers.

Overall Score: 4/10

Film Review: Joker

“I Used To Think My Life Was A Tragedy, But Now I Realise, It’s A Comedy…”

Suitably utilising the effects of the famous saying, “there is no such thing as bad publicity”, War Dogs and The Hangover director, Todd Phillips, returns to cinemas this week with Joker, a movie which brings with it an a-typical example of contemporary social media carnage involving a movie which manages to have the official double stamp of both early critical plaudits and volcanic audience expectation. Benefitting from early calls of being given “masterpiece” status after its’ debut at this year’s Venice International Film Festival back in late August, Phillips’ movie famously has been through sensational, La La Land-esque levels of backlash from many across the globe even before any form of general release, with particular avenues of spectators arguing the negative impact the film may have on the wider populous due to its’ oppressive and disturbing themes, a particularly nonsensical argument which harks back to the age-old sociological theory that violent media turns the lay person into sadistic, sociopathic serial killers. Putting such nonsense aside, Joker as a film is a surprisingly nihilistic and hauntingly effective character study, a movie which is designed with such freedom and disregard for the opinions of the masses that for it to be classed as just another “comic book movie” would be a disservice of the highest order, and in an era where the Marvel Cinematic Universe is clearly the holy bible of what audiences have come to expect from superhero movies, Joker is a satanic, incendiary work of madness which is by far the most original and boldly constructed so called “mainstream” movie in many a good year.

With the influences on Phillips’ movie wide ranging to say the least, the movie of course predominantly relies on its’ central character’s source material, particularly the grittier end of the comic book world including Alan Moore’s critically lauded graphic novel, The Killing Joke, which also served as a basis for Christopher Nolan’s and Heath Ledger’s depiction of the character within The Dark Knight, and whilst Ledger’s approach to the infamous villain was the darkest and most complex incarnation cinema audiences had seen at the time, the masterstroke casting of the brilliant Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) means that in the form of Arthur Fleck, the world bears witness to a Joker who takes the term, “sociopath”, to an entire new level. With many already comparing Phillips’ movie to the sheer isolation and hopelessness of Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, the smokey, industrial wasteland of an early 1980’s era Gotham means that tonally, Joker does owe Scorsese’s classic a huge amount of debt, with the central narrative of Phillips’ movie closely mirroring Paul Schrader’s original script as we see Phoenix’s Fleck slowly embrace the hatefulness and disillusioned hatred he has for his own world by being constantly subjected to violence, abuse and high profile ridicule at the hand of Robert De Niro’s (Goodfellas) Murray Franklin, a popular talk-show host who in the eyes of Fleck, embodies everything that is wrong with a society which is determined to keep the rich intact and the poor struggling to survive.

Whilst the movie does of course have an overarching social commentary regarding issues of capitalism and societal breakdown, albeit in a way which could have done with a slightly more subtle approach, Phillips rightly is more interested in using his chance to utilise the breathtaking acting skills of Phoenix as much as possible, an actor who in return offers up the most dedicated and physical performance to be seen this year as he beefs up his character with a skeletal physicality and an interesting condition which sees him laugh hysterically for extended periods without the ability to prevent himself from doing so. With another influence being Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, an equally stark and stylish work of brilliance with Phoenix on top form, the similarities involving each film’s leading character’s relationship with their mother, their relationship with the outside world and their relationship with their own personal mental health issues does offer up an interesting double feature, and whilst Joker is of course the more mainstream of the two movies, the darkness and violent nature at the heart of it never gives away for the sake of appeasing happily paying audiences, resulting in jaw-dropping explosions of violence which reminded me of Drive and the infamous curb-stomp scene from American History X, and as the movie progresses into its’ final act in which the narrative plays into a crescendo of Fight Club meets V for Vendetta, all the subplots in the two hours previous come to a mightily radical end, one which physically made me jolt at the bravery of a film which stuck to its’ guns completely and became the better for it. Comedic and heartwarming Joker is not, and in an era when filmmakers need to break ground in the comic book genre to truly stand out among the money making behemoth’s, Phillips has created the best DC movie since The Dark Knight and the most radical interpretation of any comic book character I can remember, and if you can stomach the violence and handle the sheer darkness at the heart of it, Joker is mightily impressive and rewarding in equal measure.

Overall Score: 9/10

Film Review: Rambo: Last Blood

“I Want Revenge. I Want Them To Know That Death Is Coming, And There Is Nothing They Can Do To Stop It…”

Seemingly taking the most out of his latter career surge after impressive performances within the likes of Creed, Creed II and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Sylvester Stallone returns to his second most iconic cinematic role in the form of the rugged Vietnam veteran, John Rambo, for the aptly named, Rambo: Last Blood, an impressively ultra-violent revenge flick which takes the central plot of Taken and attempts to mix it with the rugged, nihilistic and contemplative nature of something like James Mangold’s thoroughly impressive and similarly gruesome, Logan. Co-written by Stallone but directed by Adrian Grunberg, famous so far for directing the Mel Gibson starring, Get the Gringo, alongside credits on the likes of the incredibly memorable, Apocalypto, Last Blood sees Stallone’s retired Rambo now content with seeing out the remainder of his peaceful days on a dusty ranch in the outskirts of Arizona, U.S, until his beloved niece is of course captured by sadistic Mexican human traffickers when she pops across the border in order to catch up with her long lost father, a decision of which her knife-loving Uncle tells her to disregard from the outset.

Whilst I can admit to not seeing every release in the Rambo franchise, let alone remember anything about them, Last Blood doesn’t really “feel” like the typical Rambo film, with the central revenge narrative conforming to every single cliche and stereotype ever created in the history of cinema, and whilst most audience members don’t exactly head into a Rambo movie ready for two hours of heavy contemplations and art-house stylisms, Last Blood does eventually get to the set pieces which action fans will either lap up with gleeful joy or turn their heads at in disgust at how simply sadistic Mr. Rambo’s latest human cull actually is. With more knife-welding murders than most slasher flicks and some overly disturbing kills which I think even John Wick would admit to going slightly too far, First Blood is the most violent big screen film I can remember since Overlord, but with an overly wacky and absurdist sensibility, Stallone’s latest is a good old fashioned carnival of carnage which passes the time nicely and shouldn’t be taken seriously at all in the ilk of the good old fashioned 80’s action flicks of which the character of John Rambo helped build in the first place.

Overall Score: 5/10

Film Review: The Farewell

“Chinese People Have A Saying; When People Get Cancer, They Die…”

First released to the public at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to overly positive critical and audience reviews, The Farewell comes to British cinemas this week with an impressively widespread general release, particularly for a movie which predominantly relies on the use of subtitles, an art of which the lay cinema fan still seems to strangely shy away from. Directed and written by Beijing born filmmaker, Lulu Wang, The Farewell is a comedic drama based in-part on her own experience involving her elderly grandmother who was hidden from the truth of her terminal cancer diagnosis by her own family, a decision of which in Chinese culture is apparently relatively common and surprisingly lawful. Portrayed as a sort of indie inspired, heartfelt comedy from its’ supporting trailer, Wang’s movie is indeed an interesting, minimal and contemplative piece, one which takes much pleasure in exploring a particular culture completely alien to that of most Westerners including myself, but with a strangely flat pacing and a onenote idea which runs out of steam come the hour mark, The Farewell is clearly a project made with an abundance of passion, but as a film, failed to completely draw me in on an emotional level and thus come the final hurdle, becomes slightly benign and immediately forgettable.

Following up from interesting supporting performances in the likes of Ocean’s 8 and the vastly superior cultural comedy, Crazy Rich Asians, Awkwafina this time takes the lead role as Billi, the supposed fictional stand-in for Wang who upon hearing about her family’s decision to hide the traumatic news from her grandmother, Nai Nai, played in a rather excellent form by Zhao Shuzhen, takes the long trip over to China in order to engage in a makeshift family wedding, a particular event used as an excuse for the family to reunite in order to see their beloved matriarch for potentially the final time. With the comedic quips minimal in favour of long, drawn-out shots of contemplative nothingness, the pace of the movie does feel bafflingly lifeless, and even when at the heart of the story is a plot device which should naturally woo the hearts of even the sturnest audience member, the truth is that at no time did I really care about anyone on-screen throughout the course of a hundred minutes which in all honesty, felt closer to the two hour mark, a negative aspect if ever there was one. With my mind not fully engaged therefore, the excellent performances do sort of become taken for granted, whilst the interesting cultural examinations don’t really make any real difference, and with a concluding act which doesn’t make any narrative sense and sort of makes the entire point of the movie completely pointless, Wang’s movie is clearly made with a lot of heart, but it still lacked that key ingredient you need from a drama; drama.

Overall Score: 6/10

Film Review: Crawl

“Grab Your Families, Your Loved Ones, And Get Out. We Won’t Be Able To Come For You…”

With a related trailer which highlights Sam Raimi as a “producer” on Evil Dead and Alexandre Aja as “director” of The Hills Have Eyes, it’s fair to say that whilst such claims from the spin merchants of Crawl are indeed factually accurate, it also reinstates how fundamentally messed up the genre of horror has become thanks to the way in which every classic horror movie has been chopped up and churned out thanks to the wonderful notion of remakes and spin-offs in recent years. With Raimi of course being the mastermind and director of the original, and better, The Evil Dead in 1981and producer on the 2013 Fede Álvarez directed remake, a film of which I can admit to actually enjoying, to say that Aja is best known for his work on the rehash of The Hills Have Eyes in 2006 is generally rather aggravating, when the mighty Wes Craven, director of the 1977 grindhouse original classic, seems to be the subject of a Stalinesque mind-wipe towards younger audiences who may not even be aware of Craven or his impact on the genre of horror. Moan aside, Aja and Raimi this week team up for a rather familiar B-movie creature-feature in the form of Crawl, an overly generic work of nonsense which in some ways is quite enjoyable due to the sheer fact that it’s the type of movie which seems to be released at least thirty years too late.

With a very basic, genre-literate set-up, Crawl sees Kaya Scodelario (Extremely Wicked…) as Haley, a swimming obsessed student athlete who stupidly returns to her hometown in the heart of Florida in order to check on the welfare of her father after a Category five hurricane begins to make its’ way towards the mainland. Upon arriving at her deserted childhood home, Haley finds father Dave, as played by Barry Pepper (Saving Private Ryan), unconscious within the crawl space of their home for no immediate apparent reason until soon discovering the amidst decaying childhood homes, a ridiculously overblown natural threat and unnecessary daddy issues, ravenous alligators have decided to take over the house and are happy to eat anything that gets in their way. With Aja beginning his career with the enjoyably nonsensical, Switchblade Romance, and making his way into Hollywood with unnecessary remakes, Crawl does seem like an attempt to appease as mass an audience as possible, and whilst the exploitation violence within the movie is highly enjoyable in places, the screenplay isn’t exactly one to be desired as it attempts to blend into the carnage meaningless narrative tangents such as reserved family issues without any real point to it whatsoever. When it comes to a film such as Crawl, the violence and the silliness should always be the primary focus and be capped off within a harmless eighty minutes, but with Aja’s latest so predictable and lifeless, the lack of threat and lack of bite, pun intended, means Crawl is a glorified bargain bucket B-movie which just happens to be allowed on the big screen for no real apparent reason whatsoever.

Overall Score: 5/10

Film Review: Ma

“What You Did To Me, It Never Goes Away…”

With Blumhouse Productions essentially proclaiming themselves as the second reincarnation of Hammer Horror Studios, the likes of the excellent, Get Out, and the financially successful, Happy Death Day, have allowed the company to pretty much make anything they want with a guaranteed box office reward. Enter Ma, a completely barmy, over-the-top stalker horror which takes hints from pretty much every single B-movie ever, one which sees Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water, Instant Family) as the titular mother figure, Sue Ann, a lonely veterinary technician who soon begins a middling friendship with town newcomer, Maggie Thompson, as played by rising star, Diane Silvers,(Booksmart) and her own freshly found group of friends who quickly become attracted to Sue Ann’s willingness to both provide an abundance of alcohol and a safe place to party. Directed by the steady hand of Tate Taylor, a filmmaker who reunites with Spencer after their work together on the Academy Award winning, The Help, Ma is a solid and well made addition into the Blumhouse repertoire which just happens to have a particularly talented actress in the lead role of a genuinely unnerving and creepy genuine psychopath.

Bearing a very similar narrative to that of Greta earlier this year, a stalker movie which too featured a prominent and well regarded actor/actress in the lead role of a movie which was undoubtedly too schlocky and mad for mainstream audiences, Ma basically swaps Isabelle Huppert for Spencer and Chloe Grace Moretz for Silvers whilst adding a slightly more audience-friendly filmic texture. Whilst the movie never really evokes any sense of longing dread or threat to our laddish, alcohol and sex obsessed leading group of rebellious teenages, Ma instead balances nicely the absurdity of its’ narrative with a hefty streak of black comedy as you giggle your way through a ninety minute picture which allows Spencer to not only chew the scenery, but devour it. With the most menacing on-screen haircut since Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men and a personality which mixes Annie Wilkes from Misery with Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Spencer is undoubtedly the star turn within the movie, and with a couple of truly nasty, sadistic and memorable set pieces, Ma is not exactly groundbreaking, but with enough positive elements to make genre fans happy, the latest Blumhouse chapter is cheap, giggle-inducing fun.

Overall Score: 6/10

Film Review: Vox Lux

“One For The Money, Two For The Show, Three To Get Ready, And Four We Go…”

Directed and written by actor-turned-director, Brady Corbet, Vox Lux sees the American return to the big screen after the critical success of 2015’s, The Childhood of a Leader, for a bizarre, sometimes masterful, ideas-heavy drama which blends a whole catalogue of themes and satirical subtexts around a central narrative which focuses entirely upon the character of Celeste Montgomery, the survivor of a brutal mass shooting at her school at the turn of the twentieth century who soon finds worldwide fame and fortune in the musical industry after the song she writes for her fellow fallen students goes viral. Boldly coined by the marketing team as Black Swan meets A Star is Born, Corbet’s movie does indeed have incidental flashes of familiarity from both, but with its’ own individual identity and a strange and overly knowing holier-than-thou, art-house sensibility, Vox Lux is that type of auterish, pretentious work of boldness which tends to divide both audiences and critics alike, and whilst Corbet’s movie does indeed suffer at times from choosing to rely more on it’s very flashy and expertly designed surface over meaningful plot or characterisation, the American’s second big screen venture is a highly original and memorable work of nonsense which grabbed my attention from the offset and never let go.

Split into two very different narrative halves, the first act of Vox Lux begins with a Sunset Boulevard style voiceover, helmed of course by the dulcet and very familiar tones of Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man) as we are dropped into the early life of Celeste, as played in younger form by the excellent Raffey Cassidy (The Killing of a Sacred Deer) as we see her attempt to reason with her fellow student who goes through with his plan to carry out a mass school shooting, an opening set piece so expertly and horrifically orchestrated I sat jaw-dropped for a good five minutes through the opening credit roll. As we progress through Celeste’s sudden rise to fame in the pop world, we are introduced to Jude Law’s (Captain Marvel) passionate music manager and Celeste’s close relationship with her older sister, Ellie, as played by Stacey Martin (High Rise) who both play a part in the doe-eyed victim slowly becoming less and less innocent as she opens her eyes to the wider and more glamorous side of the world in which she lives. Cue a significant time jump and the second act of the movie sees Natalie Portman (Black Swan) take on the role as the elder Celeste, a now world famous, significant figurehead in the music industry suffering from a steady blend of alcoholism, narcissism and broken relationships including that of her sister and young daughter, Albertine, also played in excellent fashion once again by the impressive Cassidy. Whilst I understand the commentary regarding the effects of fame and social pressures wholly evident in the film’s second act, Portman’s performance is so vile and infuriating (in a good sense) that come the final act, Corbet’s movie becomes more and more agitating, and whilst I expect that this is undoubtedly the effect Vox Lux attempts to evoke upon the audience, it’s jarring sensibility is both intriguing and detracting, resulting in a movie which is one of the more original works of the year so far, but boy, is it hard work.

Overall Score: 7/10

Film Review: Long Shot

“I’m Going To Try And Conduct Myself In Such A Way That Does Not Risk Global Humiliation…”

Mixing together the almighty and Oscar winning talent of Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road) with erm, Seth Rogen, (The InterviewLong Shot is the latest from American filmmaker, Jonathan Levine, who reunites with Rogen after their work together on the 2011 comedy drama, 50/50, for a romantic comedy which attempts to balance political and social satire with a well-worn tale of unlikely and improbable love. Based around a screenplay from the double-act of Liz Hannah and Dan Sterling, famous for their individual work on the likes of The Post and The Interview respectively, Long Shot is that rare sight in contemporary cinema, an American comedy which actually works, and whilst the central romance at the heart of the story does indeed venture into gargantuan levels of cliche come the end of the almost two hour runtime, Levine’s movie works predominantly elsewhere, with a mix of knowing, and at times, strikingly unintentional, modern-day satire, pleasantly supplementing a likeable and utterly charming core relationship, one which gleefully bursts with volcanic levels of chemistry and pushes the final product into something which although might not be at all memorable, is rather enjoyable.

Coined in the trailer by one of the film’s supporting actors, the one and only, O’Shea Jackson Jr., (Straight Outta Compton) as having a very familiar central narrative to that of Garry Marshall’s 1990 classic, Pretty Woman, Levine’s movie at least jumbles up the profession of the leading characters, with Seth Rogen’s Fred Flarsky not exactly the first person to come to mind when it comes to the prostitution business, with him instead being landed with the role of an idealistic, rough-edged journalist with a penchant for thinking out loud, a character trait of which soon finds him unemployed and penniless. Enter Theron’s Charlotte Field, the highly popular Secretary of State with eyes for the presidency who in her earlier teenage years used to babysit a young and lovestruck Flarsky, and the two suddenly reconnect after Field utilises Flarsky’s innovative written word to boost her appeal to the American public. With worldwide trips on the menu, the two suddenly become attached to each other by the hip, resulting in the film’s central and heartwarming romance, and with an abundance of hilarious set pieces, including one of the best inverted sex scenes in cinema history and a heavy night on the town which results in a majorly mistimed hostage negotiation, Long Shot goes along way to make you care for the film’s characters, and even with a runtime which does slightly drag come the final act, Levine’s movie is a solid slice of American comedy cheese with added Charlize Theron.

Overall Score: 6/10

Film Review: Mid90s

“A Lot Of The Time We Feel That Our Lives The Worst, But I Think That If You Looked In Anybody Else’s Closet, You Wouldn’t Trade Your Shit For Their Shit…”

Acting as the first of two independently released coming-of-age dramas this month under the umbrella of the increasingly impressive A24 Films, a film company responsible for backing recent cinematic classics including Moonlight, Under the Skin and Hereditary to name a few, Mid90s sees Hollywood star, Jonah Hill (21 Jump Street, The Wolf of Wall Street) move from in front of the camera to behind it, working off of his own personalised script which sees Sunny Suljic (The Killing of a Sacred Deer) as thirteen year old, Stevie, a repressed, overly quiet teenage inbetweener who finds solace away from his violent and complex home-life in a group of skateboard loving misfits with a tendency for underage parties, drinking and other anti-social discrepancies. With Greta Gerwig’s masterful, Lady Bird, a film also released under the banner of A24 Films, the contemporary benchmark for the modern coming-of-age story on film, Mid90s takes a very familiar if surprisingly low-key approach to the age-old tale of troubled youth, but with a convincing sense of grungy realism and a superb central performance from one of Hollywood’s rising stars, Hill’s movie is a thoroughly engaging and emotionally stimulating ninety minute character piece which acts as an excellent kickstarter to Hill’s career as a director.

Shot entirely with a 1.33:1 aspect ratio and on 16mm film, a cinematic technique used also on Darren Aronofsky’s, mother!, Hill’s movie takes the bold approach to come across as the most nineties inflicted movie ever, at least on an aesthetic level, with the letterbox framing and grainy cinematography actually quite startling and jarringly retro when it first appears on screen, but once the fancy gimmicks are taken in their stride, the drama takes its time to expand Stevie’s character, offering glimpses into his abusive relationship with both his fitness obsessed older brother and emotionally complex and very young single mother, with the only way out in the form of his newly found band of slackish outsiders led by the charming and morally conflicted figure of Na-Kel Smith’s Ray. With a variety of set pieces which tap into the self-destructive nature of a young boy’s journey into adulthood, Hill ultimately chooses to portray his own coming-of-age tale as one of extreme hardship and cruelty, tackling a variety of issues including loneliness, jealousy and despair, and whilst the script does feature elements of seething darkness, the optimism and sentiment you would expect from this sort of movie does eventually fall into place come the final act, and with added excellent supporting performances from the likes of Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts) and the A24 acting staple, Lucas Hedges (Lady Bird), Mid90s is a realist portrayal of youth in crisis with enough dedication from its’ creator to win me over completely. Plus, the soundtrack is freakin’ awesome.

Overall Score: 8/10