Y’s resident movie critic, Kevin McIndoe, gives his verdict on A United Kingdom, The Hollow Point, Sleepless and Going In Style.
A United Kingdom
Any film that plunders the UK’s vaults of history-not-so-long-ago will do one of two things: it will either wallow in nauseating (and inaccurate) nostalgia or attempt to convey how things really were.
As the UK becomes deeply divided with every passing year (with Brexit and the inevitability of Scottish independence), any film with a take on what it means (or meant) to be British is going to find an audience.
It’s 1947 and Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike) is an ordinary, industrious girl earning her living at Lloyd’s of London. But when she meets law student Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) she has no idea he is really an African king in waiting, in Beucuanaland (later Botswana), the British Protectorate to which he will return on finishing his degree.
When Seretse asks for Ruth’s hand, he tells her who he really is, and that’s when the problems start.
While he assures her they will take them on one step at a time, the impending mixed-marriage causes a political storm in both his county and hers. In a post-war UK that is flat broke, officials are worried about losing trade with apartheid-era South Africa, Botswana’s neighbour. Meantime, Seretse’s uncle fears his people aren’t quite ready for a white queen.
But this true story is handled intelligently by director Amma Asante, who tautly interweaves the couple’s romance with the tumultuous political fall-out it causes.
The film is a visual feast of an authentic, almost sepia-tinted portrayal of post-war London contrasted by the expansive, lush vistas of the Kalahari desert. See and enjoy.
Review by Kevin McIndoe
The Hollow Point
Is it my imagination or has there been a trickle of recent releases set on the US-Mexico border? No matter, wall or no wall, this is a bit of a hackneyed yarn in which an over-zealous small-town sheriff Wallace (Patrick Wilson) is called in to investigate how a straight-forward ammo delivery ended up in an all-out crossfire. There are more cardboard cutout characters here than in your average box of cereal. And while Ian McShane’s rather OTT performance as the retiring sheriff is wonderful fun, he can’t save this from having straight-to-video written all over it. It’s a good, old-fashioned western-style romp to enjoy if you don’t take it too seriously.
The good cop/bad cop routine has been done to death. And here is another average effort in that often commendable or occasionally cringeworthy canon. When cop Vincent Downs (Jamie Foxx) is as bent as a three-bob note and ends up crossing the Mafia in a drug deal gone wrong, you know he is going to be in a bit of a pickle. After the Mob kidnaps his teenaged son, Vincent is going to have to rescue his son, avoid an internal affairs investigation, and nab the kidnappers. Well, that’s what you get for dipping your hand in the cookie jar. And Foxx’s Oscar-winning turn in Ray seems a very long time ago now.
Going In Style
Three broke pensioners have to resort to desperate measures to leave their loved ones something when they check out. So it seems only fair that they should rip off the bank that ripped them off. The idea all seems fine and dandy until the three realise that none of them has ever handled a firearm. What’s not to like about a film starring the venerable Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin? All of whom are most certainly not poor but have the acting chops to play three elderly gentlemen who are. This is sure to be a delight for all ages while making a not exactly subtle point about what it means to be old and poor in corporate America.
Oman Release Date: April 6