Love & Mercy, 2014 – ★★★★

If you asked me if I’d like to see a film about Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, I’d have said ‘not likely’. Then I saw the trailer and it intrigued me. I like Paul Dano. I like Elizabeth Banks. And I was keen to see what has become of John Cusack. Just before arriving at the cinema, I almost changed my mind and went to see something else. I’m so glad I didn’t.

It doesn’t matter if you’re not a fan of the Beach Boys. The band, and their popularity and success, are kept largely in the background. If you’re a fan of music, of any kind, I’d encourage you to see this.

There’s a stand-out performance in each of the two threads of the story. In the early years it’s Dano – outwardly measured and inwardly chaotic. In the later years it’s Banks – whose facial expressions and body language convey such a range of emotions.

The film is as much about music and the process of making it as it is about the highs and lows in the life of Brian Wilson. It’s about creativity. And perhaps what’s best is it almost doesn’t feel like a biopic.

Vía Letterboxd – ekcragg

The Connection, 2014 – ★★★½

I didn’t know much about the film before going in to the cinema. Around half an hour in I thought it was shaping up to be a pretty standard police procedural.

As the plot develops and begins to twist and turn the hook is there – what is the price of justice?

Pierre Michel has an addictive personality. He’s beaten gambling, now he’s stuck on putting Gaëtan Zampa behind bars. But at what cost?

If you view this simply as a crime drama you’re going to be disappointed. Instead look at it as a character study, focusing on one man’s battle with himself. With a healthy dose of corruption and justice thrown in for good measure.

Vía Letterboxd – ekcragg