Friday, 17 February 2012

A Trio of Trippy Tales

Probably a more accurate title would be a couple of trippy tales and a tale about a trip but that didn't have quite the same ring to it.  Three features I watched recently:

Kill List (Ben Wheatley, 2011)

Genre-bending low-budget British hit man horror with a twisted, trippy ending.  Like the genre-switching From Dusk Til Dawn but far better, this goes from social realist drama to crime flick to all out horror for the disturbing climax.  Filled with convincing performances that help ground the outrageous elements of the script, it won’t satisfy everyone with its unanswered questions and bleak outlook.  However it is an original film with tension that is ratcheted up to snapping point by the time the last kill on the list is ticked.  The less you know before you watch, the better it will be.

Rango (Gore Verbinski, 2011)

Pixar needs to watch their back.  Rango is a lizard thing stuck in the desert after falling out the back of a car.  Coming across a town in deperate need of water, inhabited by strange characters, Rango decides to reinvent himself as a hero and savior.  Featuring a great Fear and Loathing reference and a loony hero voiced by Depp, this one starts surreal and just gets weirder.  With film references a-plenty, stunning, trippy visuals and an incredibly weird bunch of characters but a surprisingly straight story by the end, this one will delight young and old viewers alike.

The Trip (Michael Winterbottom, 2010)

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon take a tour of the Peak District to sample fancy food and wine while one-upping each other with film star impersonations.  The over dinner conversations wear a little thin by the end while the scenery and the cinematography that captures it are spectacular.  However it’s the surely based on a bit of truth insights into the relationships of these two that really makes this a trip worth taking.  Brydon, the content family man, and Coogan, the aging lothario, improvise their way to a subdued but emotionally resonant resolution, with Coogan particularly shining in a self-deprecating and quite possibly, painfully honest role.  Their Michael Caine impersonations will leave you laughing intermittently but their self-impersonations throughout keep you invested in their journey of self-discovery. 

Trippiest of the bunch?  Definitely Rango.  Who's seen any of these?  Give us your thoughts...