In an era when film is being taken hostage by popularity, it’s hard to find titles that although entertaining, still engage our mental capabilities and offer us a slice of life that represents an adequate critique of the human condition. If you’ve already seen Marvel’s latest action-fest, here are three films that will offer you a very different cinematic experience.
Granted, most of us don’t go to the movies to analyse or relive the problems that plague our daily lives; quite the opposite actually. Sometimes however, watching films that keep us thinking long after the credits have finished rolling can be a unique and refreshing experience.
Release Date: April 4th 2014
Directed by Richard Ayoade of The IT Crowd and adapted from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novella of the same name, this Kafkaesque adaptation stars Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland).
[Image – Dean Rogers]
Eisenberg’s character Simon James is a cog in the corporate machine, working long hours and getting little recognition under a mysterious and absent leader simply called The Colonel. Things go awry when one day he comes to work to find that the company has a new employee, a doppelganger by the name of James Simon, who slowly starts to take over his life. Providing both a commentary on the existentialist crises of the working class and a deliciously humorous look at being the deer in the corporate jungle, The Double is a must-see.
Under The Skin
Release Date: March 14th 2014
Another adaptation, this time by Jonathan Glazier (Sexy Beast, Birth), from a novel by Michel Faber, and starring Scarlett Johansson as an alien who inhabits the body of a beautiful woman to prey on men.
Set in Scotland, the film is visually stunning and does exactly what the title suggests: leaves you feeling disturbed and on-edge. After her gorgeous vocal performance in Spike Jonze’s Her, Scarlett Johansson continues to thrive within a role that is sophisticated in its undertaking and hard-hitting in its execution.
Release Date: March 21st 2014
Starring Jack O’Connell (Skins), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises) and Rupert Friend (Homeland), this David Mackenzie film features exceptional performances from its cast coupled with fast-paced writing that leaves the atmosphere pulsating with intensity.
[Image – Aidan Monaghan]
It tells the story of a high-risk young offender, Eric Love, who has been ‘starred up’ to go to an adult prison. Inside, Eric finds himself caught between the two senior figures of Oliver, a therapist who wishes to treat his anger and free him of his past, and incidentally, Neville Love, his father, life-weary and full of seemingly wise advice.
Films offer a sense of escapism – which releases such as Noah and The Muppets: Most Wanted will no doubt offer, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take a break from the endless high-speed chases and the slapstick comedy to indulge in a more thought-provoking and self-conscious discussion with yourself and others.