Sunday 20 August 2017

Movie reviews: Snatched, In View and Inversion

  • Snatched (15A, 97mins) ★★★
  • In View (No Cert, 93mins) ★★★
  • Inversion (No Cert, 84mins) ★★★★
Holiday from hell: Goldie Hawn as Linda and Amy Schumer as Emily in Snatched
Holiday from hell: Goldie Hawn as Linda and Amy Schumer as Emily in Snatched

Paul Whitington

On the face of it, Snatched is yet another crass and crude Hollywood comedy of a kind that's become depressingly familiar. But there's one key difference - Amy Schumer. The irrepressible comedian has swept like a tornado through the American entertainment industry in recent years, moving from gigs in small clubs to her own TV show, stadium tours and a growing film career. She's the best thing about this rather dumb vehicle, and joins forces with comedy veteran Goldie Hawn to make a very ordinary comedy watchable.

When 30-something slacker Emily Middleton gets dumped by her boyfriend on the eve of a romantic trip she'd planned to Ecuador, she asks her mother to go instead. Linda Middleton (Goldie Hawn) is horrified by the idea of a South American holiday, and only agrees to go because she can't bear the thought of the ticket being wasted.

When they get to their resort, Linda warns her daughter against going drinking with strange men. But no one ever listens to their mother as much as they should, and soon a suave Englishman lures Emily into a trip, and she and Linda are kidnapped. It's just the beginning of a string of hair-raising adventures that takes them to the heart of the Amazon jungles, with cartoonish villains in hot pursuit.

It's predictable stuff for the most part, and the jokes thin out half way through, but Schumer and Hawn are great together, and Schumer wrings every last drop of laughter out of the script. Like Bob Hope, she has perfect comic timing, a rare and priceless gift.

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Sombre, well-made and relentlessly depressing, In View is an earnest study of crippling grief that features a very strong performance from Caoilfhoinn Dunne. She is Ruth, a desk-bound guard whose drinking is blighting her life. To the exasperation of her working partner Denis (Ciaran McMenamin) and immediate boss Donny (Stuart Graham), she refuses to contemplate treatment, and is on her final warning after a string of disastrous interactions with the public.

Ruth drinks, joylessly, compulsively, in pubs, at home, in her car, and slowly we find out why. The worst kind of tragedy lurks in her past, and she blames herself for a horrific incident she can never forget. Her colleagues are sympathetic, but some people don't want to be saved.

Creagh's previous films include the slight but thoughtful Parked, which starred Colm Meaney as a man who lives in a broken-down car. In View, I think, is better than that, partly because Creagh's screenplay refuses to pull its punches, but mainly because of Dunne's heartbreakingly intense performance. Surrounding characters might have been more convincingly fleshed out, but Ruth's despair is utterly convincing.

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The smog-laden skies of Tehran lower ominously throughout Inversion, Behnam Behzadi's moving tale of dashed dreams and societal indifference. Sahar Dwolatshahi is Niloofar, a single-minded, 30-something unmarried woman. She runs her own shop and looks after her ailing mother, Mahin (Shirin Yazdanbakhsh), who has chronic heart disease but insists on taking walks when Teheran's stifling smog is at its worst.

When she collapses in the street, Niloofar's extended family decide that Mahin will move to a holiday home in the country, and that Niloofar must accompany her. And as soon as she leaves, Niloofar discovers that her spiteful, misogynistic brother has sold the shop she spent 10 years building up, leaving her with nothing.

Those smothering skies denote a depressingly familiar theme in Iranian society: the side-lining of women by a bull-headed, retrograde theocracy. But Behzadi's direction, and Dwolatshahi's subtle, elegant performance, make Inversion a lot less dryly didactic than that.

Irish Independent

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