The vogue for monochrome continues with Alexander Payne’s Nebraska. And after Hawaii in The Descendants, Payne ups sticks to another overlooked state, this time on the Great Plains. It’s another comic tale of families with a money MacGuffin, but with a prizewinning performance from Bruce Dern (for Best Actor at Cannes) as well as great performances from his indulgent son (Will Forte) and blue-mouthed wife (June Squibb), it’s an enjoyably poignant and funny story on aging and the relationship between a father and son.
Tonight also sees Xavier Dolan take on a less intricate style with his psychological thriller Tom At The Farm. It’s a break from Dolan’s sophomore trilogy of impossible love and the start of a more mature filmmaking for the Canadian director. And what Tom At The Farm lacks in vitality and borrowed verve, it makes up for in spades with its dark sexuality of Stockholm Syndrome seduction.
Also from Canada, Denis Côté’s fabulous Vic + Flo Saw A Bear, with Romane Bohringer and Pierrette Robitaille as ex-con lesbian lovers living in the forests of Quebec, visited by their parole officer and jailbirds with a grudge. It’s fast, furious and stylish, with golf buggies and bear traps, and another glorious reminder not to go down to the woods today.
And finally, there’s also Erik Skjoldbjaerg’s Pioneer with Wes Bentley and the emminently watchable Aksel Hennie (Headhunter). It starts off in a pressurisation tank, with enough sweaty hallucinations and brain-squinting camera judders to drive you round the bends, but rather than a psychological thriller on the limits of the human body, Pioneer turns into a rather muddled corporate conspiracy thriller. But nevertheless raises a flag for the Europeans. Even if it is on the ocean floor.