The Tale (2019): Drama / Mystery / Thriller

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When stories from her childhood years resurface, a woman starts questioning her memories of the summers she spent with her riding instructor and her running coach.

Feature debut from writer/director Jennifer Fox who… dares! She, non-linearly, unfolds her most sensitive part of her life and puts it out there for you and me to witness it. The Tale is a daring yet terrifying case study on memory and how and why it works the way it does. And even though you will not get a straight answer, it addresses age, its relation to the interpretation of time and space, and how everything affects, clouds, and intricately shapes the way we remember things. There have been amazing research topics out there on memory and existence and memory and personality if you want to retrospectively examine your life experiences or test how well you remember situations you claim you do.

Back to the film, Fox’s documentarian expertise shows straight away behind the camera and Laura Dern’s raw talent shines in front of it. Next to her, Common, Jason Ritter, Elizabeth Debicki, Ellen Burstyn and the fantastic Jessica Sarah Flaum create amazing chemistry amongst them. My only dissatisfaction was the somewhat anticlimactic ending, and I know it’s based on Fox’s actual experiences but it’s not a biography so, it could perpetuate the already existing dramatisation to the confrontation part. But that’s just me.

HBO and all cast and crew deserve a huge round of applause. I usually go with “I hope you enjoy it” but, in this instance, I hope you understand it, look back at your own life experiences and wonder from what it is that has driven you to become the person you are today to how many times you have caught yourselves lying to yourselves.

Next time someone asks you: “You know who I am?!”, ask them: “Who are you?”

Stay safe!

Widows (2018): Crime / Drama / Thriller

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Four women who are left with nothing but debt after their husbands died in a heist are pulling a heist of their own to reclaim their lives.

Based on the homonymous 1983 British series, Widows (2018) takes the fight from London to Chicago. Astonishing performances from the ensemble cast with Viola Davis and Robert Duvall standing out. Then, the powerful opening chase sequence promises an action-packed drama to keep you on the edge of your seats. A promise that doesn’t deliver though…

It is not first and certainly will not be the last when a European or an East Asian director goes to Hollywood. See, for example, actor/director Mathieu Kassovitz and Babylon A.D (2008) or Jee-woon Kim and The Last Stand (2013). One way ticket back… Even though “Widows” is nowhere near as bad as the aforementioned films (by brilliant directors) or the reviews surrounding it, it lacks the Steve McQueen, fine art training, personality, and idiosyncrasy.

It lacks the suffering of 12 Year a Slave (2013), Shame‘s (2011) internal struggle, and Hunger‘s (2008) brutal realism. Maybe his first cut (around 3 hours long) offered all of the above and more. Regardless, I really look forward to McQueen’s next film, European, American, or otherwise.