Here you can find reviews for our favourite films!

Is there a film you’d like to review? Feel free to get in touch via Social Media or through our website!

Sam Allport

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ★★★★

Following Alfonso Cuaron’s dark, brooding reimagining of the Wizarding World in The Prisoner of Azkaban, the fourth film in the Harry Potter franchise takes the adolescent tribulations of the trio to new heights. In fact, while the brooding new direction for the series is most evident through the male characters’ sporting of hair too long to have been grown over a summer holiday, the entire cast is retrofitted with attitudes fitting for their fourteen-year-old plights. The Goblet of Fire adopts a rapidity so far unseen in the series (best exemplified by a particularly shouty Dumbledore’s ever-quotable outburst ‘Did you put your name into the Goblet of Fire, Harry!!?’), as the Boy Who Lived undertakes the violent trials of the TriWizard Cup. This brought new internationality to the films, and further expands the scope of the incredible world thus far established, not least with the inclusion of Robert Pattinson’s Cedric Diggory, who delivers a nuanced performance in his limited screen-time. The Goblet of Fire is a feast for the eyes, with some of the most glorious cinematography and exciting action setpieces the series has to boast, and without a doubt the perfect film to kick off the next academic year.

Sam Allport

1917 ★★★★

In one of the most ambitious films of 2019, Sam Mendes assembles a star-studded cast, a handful of hefty cameramen and some fields in Surrey to recreate the dreary, tetanus-laden, rat-infested trenches of Kaiser-invaded France. Following in the footsteps of Alejandro Gonzalez-Innaritu’s Best Picture-winning Birdman, the film simulates the illusion that its two-hour runtime occurs within a single camera take. This is largely achieved to great effect, with only the occasional obvious cut or cleverly stitched-together sequence, but this by no means detracts from the film’s heart-wrenching profundity and adrenaline-inducing rapidity. The camaraderie between George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman’s young Lance Corporals gives the perfect backdrop to the film’s unrelenting action; a beating heart in an otherwise devastating depiction of the brutality of war.

Corran Gourlay

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Written by: Corran Gourlay

Special mention to Madeleine Cooke for the editing

Directed by Aaron Sorkin, Starring Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. This is writer-director Aaron Sorkin’s second stab at the directing gig since earning worldwide acclaim for his work as a screenwriter on projects such as The Social Network, Steve Jobs and the long-running television series The West Wing. In a similar way to somebody like Roger Deakins, though he has worked in the film industry for decades now, it was not until recently that he entered the zeitgeist of cinema crewmen. After this delayed acknowledgement he took advantage of the platform he now had and made the step up to the much more glamorous and decorated role of director (something which he has been proven to be more than capable as).

This new Sorkin flick is a depiction of the trial held against the organizers of the peaceful protest (turned violent riot) of the Vietnam War at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. If you do not know much about the Vietnam war and its timeline then I would strongly advise that you watch a YouTube video summary of what happened to gain at least some knowledge of what lead to the events of this film. I think that going in with no prior knowledge would leave you lost within the first 15 minutes as this movie does not hold your hand on that front.

Almost the whole film is set within the courtroom, with brief flashback scenes depicting the events being discussed and it is not until the very end of the trial, just as if we were members of the jury ourselves, that the exact chronology and truth of the riots are revealed. This slow, trickling release of information does a fantastic job of keeping the audience engaged.

Whilst Sorkin has begun directing, he has not stopped writing. And rightly so. He is still an excellent writer, using his trademark sharp, fast and witty dialogue to keep the pace of the film up the whole way through. He also utilises a fantastic soundtrack to which it feels like the scenes often dance along to. The best example of this is the opening sequence before the title-card which grabs your attention from the off.

The film is very well shot and the production behind it is clearly well-funded. I really appreciated the appropriate casting of politicians, judges and any people of power. Sorkin and co. make no attempts to diversify the cast because that is how it was (and still is). Though it is not always explicitly said, there is a thick atmosphere of class prejudice within this film, generated by the lack of ethnic minorities in positions of power.

The casting of this film is very good for the most part, however Cohen’s accent is questionable to say the least and Redmayne puts on the same performance he has been doing for a decade but other than that I had no issues. The stand-outs were Mark Rylance, who plays the defendant’s lawyer, William Kunstler, and Frank Langella, who plays the judge and who is an extremely underrated performer. Watch him in Frost vs. Nixon where he plays the disgraced President in one of the most memorable roles I’ve seen in the past year.

I was engaged in this film the whole way through and I have no complaints about its entertainment value. My biggest gripe is with the ending which was nowhere near a satisfying enough conclusion. It felt very empty and it left so many questions unanswered. I actually wish the film were 20 minutes longer! Despite this, I would highly recommend The Trial of the Chicago 7 if you have

enjoyed Sorkin’s past work or if you just want to see one of the better films released this year. It is on Netflix and hasn’t been advertised well enough so go show it some love!