Anarchy within the united kingdom! Tom Hiddleston and the solid and workforce of Ben Wheatley’s JG Ballard edition High-Rise speak type and identity—and we discover the increase of cinema’s Ballardian worldview.
Plus: down the rabbit gap of Golden-Age Hollywood with the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar!; Pablo Larraín on his hushed fantasy of twilit deviant clergymen, The Club; Patricio Guzmán at the outstanding nonfiction metaphors of his newest memento mori, The Pearl Button; Sebastian Schipper on his one-take commando movie feat Victoria; and coming complete circle, we take an in-depth examine the uncompromising and anarchic paintings of Alan Clarke, a prophet extra sung than obvious.
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Extra resources for Sight & Sound [UK] (April 2016)
I have a feeling if you try to corner time, it’s just going to get more crazy. We did corner time – everything you see happened in two hours, 14 minutes. I can’t rationalise that. JR: As a long-take ﬁlm, Victoria doesn’t come across like, say, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman , which has amazing tricks of synchronisation, things happening in exactly the right spot at the right moment. You create more of a sense of chance and looseness. ’” Which I thought was so funny – for the ﬁrst time in my life, there’s some conspiracy thing.
The reward for bowing down before the altar of Hollywood is made clear when Hobie Doyle goes on a night out with a Carmen Miranda type called Carlotta Valdez (an audacious piece of namecraft, straight out of Vertigo). It’s a studio-arranged date, the sort considered the enemy of true romance, designed to reﬁne each star’s image and provide some innocent distraction for the gossip columns. In Hail, Caesar! those columns are written by a formidable pair of twins called Thora and Thessaly Thacker (played by Tilda Swinton): duelling journalists Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper distilled into a two-headed monster.
A similarly accessible television trio of Made in Britain (1982), Elephant (1988) and The Firm (1989) does at least show him at full creative tilt, but they still barely scratch the surface: the BFI’s upcoming box-set spans two full decades and 30 television works in total (20 running over an hour apiece), revealing not just a far wider range of subjects than the too easy caricature of Clarke as an ultra-masculine social realist might suggest, but also a conﬁdence and consistency that dates from the dawn of his career.