I saw this wonderfully witty film yesterday afternoon at the State Theatre on Sunday 19th June 2022 at 3pm as part of the last day of the Sydney Film Festival and going in I had no clue about the film’s narrative. 

Something about rich people, that’s literally it. 

Charlbi Dean and Harris Dickinson

This is always the best way for me to watch a film, the less I know, the less I can pre-judge and the cleaner the experience can be. Going in unadorned by my sometimes partly informed opinions I don’t allow my brain to make 2 and 2 equal 5 as it is wont to do. 

I did know that it was directed by Ruben Östlund, the Swedish director whose last two films I enjoyed very much, Force Majeure (2014) and The Square (2017) and also that it had just won the Palme D’Or at Cannes. It was probably going to be pretty decent.

The festival director, Nashen Moodley introduced the film and told us that we were one of the first audiences in the world to view the film off the back of it’s Cannes success.
He said that it was a wild film and were in for a wild ride. 

He wasn’t wrong. 

One of the great things about being in a darkened room with a bunch of strangers is the collective experience. This was an audience of cinema lovers and consequently they were all there out of a shared love for the art. The excitement was palpable.

From left: Vicki Berlin, Henrik Dorsen, Zlatco Buric, director Ruben Östlund, Charlbi Dean, Harris Dickinson and Carolina Gynning

A searing indictment of the discrepancies between the have too much and the rest of the world.
The film is told in 3 chapters.
The first is about the expected usual male/female roles that are played out in society, the second is set on a luxury cruise ship and the third is set on a beach.
Each chapter delves intelligently and very humorously about various topics including capitalism, socialism, taxes, power, masculine and feminine roles, and ultimately the usefulness and capabilities of the individual.

The less that is said about plot, the better for the unsuspecting audience.

1-There will be models

2-There will be a cruise

3-There will be an island.

The actors; Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, Dolly De Leon, Vicki Berlin, Henrik Dorsen, Jean-Christophe Folly, Iris Berben, Woody Harrelson and Zlatko Buric are all brilliant in this. Special shout out to Zlatko Buric who I last saw as Milo in the Pusher trilogy years ago and he is superb here.
Check him out in the clip below playing drunk magnificently.

Ruben Östlund continues his successful run of films with biting social observations in this absolutely brilliant, unapologetic satire on the rich and privileged. 

I highly recommend you seek out this very funny film when it is released near you.

A well deserved Palme D’Or winner.

147 minutes.




That’s the way to do it.

There are many reasons why this film works but the main one is the casting of our main protagonist.
The glue that binds.

I’m not gonna go into it but Kristen Stewart she ain’t.

Jennifer Lawrence really is something else. She was the most interesting part in American Hustle, even though she may have been a little young for the part, you always know that she will bring something real, rooted and emotionally honest and that’s one of the main reasons why this film works.

She is present in all her scenes and gets to the heart of the complex character of Katniss Everdeen.

If you have a great lead and an intelligent story then you can put into place all the other elements with relative ease, as long as you are not an idiot (there are a few out there in the wonderful world of cinema).
The other actors, the soundtrack, the direction all blend into each other in equal parts to make the whole. A beautiful composition has all these elements and while Catching Fire is no Tchaikovsky Piano concerto in B Flat minor it is definitely way above the formula that is applied to most modern music or movies.

I equate all art to this composition theory, all elements in their perfect places complementing each other to make the whole a beautiful piece of art.

Hats off to the new director, Francis Lawrence for taking the reins off Gary Ross and running hard, fast and daring with them.
Lawrence’s previous work was I Am Legend (above average) and Constantine (what a waste) but was also interestingly involved in Kings, an alternate reality version of David and Goliath that showed some serious promise but was axed after one series.
Kings dealt with the internal power struggles and political motivations of the leaders as does Catching Fire. This is what elevates Hunger Games far above any other films aimed at tweens.
It’s not The West Wing but it intelligently deals with hierarchical structures and what they do in order to maintain their power.

It was a treat to see Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his final performances being just brilliant again; a bittersweet moment when he entered the screen.

By the end of it you are most definitely left with the desire to get Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2 on the go as soon as is possible.
A lot happens in this film and it is testament to the director that he is able to fit it all in without the loss of quality.

Lastly props have to go to Suzanne Collins for creating a very interesting dystopia.
My brother put me onto the books a few years back when I had written them off as some Twilight meets Battle Royale bullshit, I read the first one and was more than pleasantly surprised.

Goes to show you that what you think ain’t always right.

Bring. On. The. Mockingjays.