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- Eddie The Eagle
Eddie The Eagle 3 stars
Since he was a boy, Eddie Edwards has driven his father Terry to distraction with his burning dream to compete in the Olympics. He discovers a loophole in the rulebook that would allow him to become Britain's only representative in the ski jump. Aided and abetted by his mother Janette, Eddie heads to Germany to a ski jumping training centre run by hard-drinking former ski jumper Bronson Peary. The veteran takes pity on Eddie and helps the newcomer to master the basics so he can compete.
- GenreBiography, Comedy, Drama, Family
- CastHugh Jackman, Taron Egerton, Keith Allen, Jo Hartley, Iris Berben, Tom Costello Jr.
- DirectorDexter Fletcher.
- WriterSean Macaulay, Simon Kelton.
- Duration106 mins
- Official sitewww.foxmovies.com/movies/eddie-the-eagle
When Baron Pierre de Coubertin kindled interest in the modern Olympic movement at the end of the 19th century, he proposed a series of ideals to epitomise the spirit of the sporting contest. "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well," he professed. That mantra of fearless yet honest participation was perfectly exemplified by Cheltenham-born athlete Eddie Edwards, who became a media sensation in 1988 when he represented Great Britain in the ski jump in Calgary. His remarkable story of triumph against gravity, which swelled the patriotic hearts of a nation, provides the creative spark for Dexter Fletcher's silver medal-winning comedy drama. Screenwriters Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton don't let the truth get in the way of telling a good yarn, slaloming between historical fact and humorous artistic licence to ensure their film remains giddily airborne. Fletcher's light touch behind the lens concentrates on the camaraderie between a remarkable underdog and his fictional trainer, who defied the snooty naysayers to prove that anything is possible when you take a leap of faith. Since he was a boy, Eddie (Taron Egerton) has driven his father Terry (Keith Allen) to distraction with a burning dream to compete in the Olympics. The young man struggles to find a sport that suits him, so he switches attention to the Winter Olympics and discovers a loophole in the rulebook that would allow him to become Britain's first representative in the ski jump since 1929. Aided and abetted by his mother Janette (Jo Hartley), Eddie heads to Germany to a ski jumping training centre run by hard-drinking former competitor Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), who was booted off the US team by legendary coach Warren Sharp (Christopher Walken). Bronson takes pity on Eddie and helps the newcomer to master the basics. However, Dustin Target (Tim McInnerny), chairman of the British Olympic Committee, refuses to let Eddie compete on a technicality and adds a qualifying standard of 61m to the rulebook at the last minute. With time running out before the Calgary games, Eddie hits the European ski jumping tour with Bronson, determined to soar to break records rather than bones in his quest for Olympic qualification. Eddie The Eagle is an unabashedly crowd-pleasing delight for all ages. Egerton brings a sweetness and steely resolve to his plucky fish out of water, who defiantly tells a crowded news conference: "I did not come here as a novelty act... and I will not be going home as one." Jackman offers robust support, rabble-rousing from the sidelines as effects sequences allow his younger co-star to take flight. In real life, Edwards never climbed atop the Olympic winner's podium, but this charming film is champion.
High-Rise 3 stars
Dr Robert Laing arrives on the 25th floor of a 40-storey monolith brutally forged in concrete and steel. The medic is granted a private audience with the building's architect, Anthony Royal, who lives in the penthouse with his emotionally brittle wife, Ann. "I conceived this building as a crucible for change," Royal informs Robert. Power outages, which affect the lower floors, stoke resentment, eventually sparking civil war which claims the life of one beloved pet and a number of the residents.
- GenreAction, Adaptation, Drama, Science Fiction, Thriller
- CastTom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons, Keeley Hawes, Luke Evans.
- DirectorBen Wheatley.
- WriterAmy Jump.
- Duration119 mins
- Official site
JG Ballard's chilling 1975 novel makes an awkward, yet stylistically sumptuous, transition to the big screen in the hands of Essex-born director Ben Wheatley. Set almost entirely within a 40-storey monolith brutally forged in concrete and steel, High-Rise charts the disintegration of society by pitting the lower, middle and upper classes against each other on their respective floors of the building.
Screenwriter Amy Jump retains the original setting, providing production designer Mark Tildesley with a blank canvas for cool and immaculate retro aesthetics that suggest a brave new world teetering on the brink of anarchy.
Explosions of violence spatter the lens as morality is cast aside, including one startling sequence of a man committing suicide by flinging himself off the building. Costumes also perfectly evoke the swinging era, accompanied by a soundtrack composed by Clint Mansell (Black Swan, Requiem For A Dream) that teases out notes of simmering discord.
A tone of jet black humour is injected in the opening frames as Dr Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) sits on the balcony of his flat, roasting the remains of a dog on a spit. Man's best friend has become sizzling sustenance in a once pristine idyll that has degenerated into a battleground across the class divide.
The narrative rewinds three months to Robert's arrival on the 25th floor. He sunbathes naked and catches the eye of single mother Charlotte Melville (Sienna Miller), who lives upstairs with her precocious son, Toby (Louis Suc).
She introduces Robert to some of the other residents, including officious busybody Nathan (Reece Shearsmith) and documentary filmmaker Richard Wilder (Luke Evans), who neglects his heavily pregnant wife Helen (Elisabeth Moss) to chase other women.
The medic is granted a private audience with the building's architect, Anthony Royal (Jeremy Irons), who lives in the penthouse with his emotionally brittle wife, Ann (Keeley Hawes).
"I conceived this building as a crucible for change," Royal informs Robert, who takes advantage of the amenities including a fully stocked supermarket on floor 15 and a swimming pool on floor 30. Power outages, which affect the lower floors, stoke resentment, eventually sparking civil war which claims the life of one beloved pet and a number of the residents.
High-Rise revels in the debauchery of the era, with orgiastic scenes of group sex and consumer greed. Hiddleston is an engaging lead character, pandering to his fans with nudity and a dancing sequence that sees him frottering a gaggle of uniform air hostesses in lustrous slow-motion.
As a coherent narrative that sustains interest for two hours, Wheatley's film has some structural weaknesses and his impeccably tailored vision will infuriate and bemuse as many people as it intoxicates. I'm firmly in the former camp, still scratching my head.
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Wednesday 25th May 2016