Sunday 27 September 2015

BREAKER MORANT - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Aussie Anti-War Favourite on Criterion

Bryan Brown and Edward Woodward await British "justice".

Breaker Morant (1980)
Dir. Bruce Beresford
Starring: Edward Woodward, Bryan Brown, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Jack Thompson

Review By Greg Klymkiw
We'll do our best when crucified
To finish off in style, sir!
- "Butchered to Make a Dutchman's Holiday",
a poem written by Harry "Breaker" Morant just prior to his execution.
Stories about nations executing their own soldiers are pretty much guaranteed to generate climaxes inspiring sheer, unbridled emotion, often resulting in copious tears from an audience, or at the very least, producing more than a few a catches in more than a few throats. Feelings of mounting anger and frustration are also par for the course since the executions are always a result of politics, petty bureaucratic manoeuvring, colonialism and major league ass-covering.

The greatest of them all is, of course, Stanley Kubrick's 1957 Paths of Glory with Kirk Douglas attempting to save a group of innocent soldiers from execution at the hands of a cold-hearted martinet. Some of my other favourites include: the great, near-forgotten 1974 NBC Television Movie The Execution of Private Slovik, written by legendary scribes Richard Levinson and William Link, directed by Lamont Johnson and starring Martin Sheen in one of his greatest performances; the recent 2015/2016 release of the heartbreaking Terence Davies picture Sunset Song, about a shell shocked soldier wishing to leave the front to be with his wife; And though there is no literal execution in it, the fate facing a shy young sailor in Hal Ashby's The Last Detail might as well be a death sentence.

Then there is Bruce Beresford's Breaker Morant from 1980, one of the many films to lead the Australian charge of internationally acclaimed box office hits. (The film was an especially huge grosser Down Under and eventually had an excellent shelf life in North America after initially soft openings).

This finely wrought courtroom (court martial) drama details the true story of commanding officer Lt. Harry "Breaker" Morant (Edward Woodward) and two of his men, Peter Handcock (Bryan Brown) and George Witton (Lewis Fitz-Gerald), all standing trial for the murder of (supposed) civilians in the fields of battle during the Boer War. The narrative is recounted in flashbacks during the tribunal presided over by pole-up-the-ass British military martinets. Director Beresford ably commandeers his superb cast through a compelling recounting of their actions in the field.

In spite of the fact that they've been handed a lawyer skilled only in corporate law, Maj. J.F. Thomas (Jack Thompson) offers a brilliant defence, and though history tells us otherwise, we're expecting either a full acquittal or, at the very least, no firing squad death sentences. Thomas throws everything, including the kitchen sink at the martinets, ranging from the trial being illegal as the men are Australian, not British, the very real facts that the enemy during the Boer War waged guerrilla warfare (wherein anyone could be the enemy), plus the astonishing facts that orders were given to Morant and his men to spare nobody (including an order to avenge an Australian soldier tortured to death by the Boers).

A Good Defence Means Nothing When
Brits Have Decided to Nail Aussies to a CROSS!

There is no question that Morant and his men have committed the wholesale slaughter of "civilians", but these are clearly not civilians. This is war, and as such, the most horrible things occur. This is not the case of Nazi-style genocide - it is warfare under impossible circumstances - period.

We're with the men to the tragic end of the film and the clear villains are the colonial imperialist British military. Oddly, director Bruce Beresford expressed shock over interpretations such as these. In a 2012 interview with Peter Malone, he said:

"I read an article about it recently in the LA times and the writer said it's the story of these guys who were railroaded by the British. But that's not what it's about at all. . . I always get amazed when people say to me that this is a film about poor Australians who were framed by the Brits."

Reading this, my immediate response is to assume Beresford's gone completely insane. Now sure, that might not be the entire story, but how can one deny that the overriding attitude of the movie towards the British is clearly anti-Colonialist. In the film's final few minutes, we're even treated to some choice, heartbreaking melancholy and exquisite sentimentality. Perhaps anti-colonialism within the historical context of this story wasn't Beresford's intention after all, but if not, then I'd have to assume he brought an innate Australian attitude towards the British. In fairness to Beresford, he does offer the following in the same interview:

"[The film] analysed why men in this situation would behave as they had never behaved before in their lives. It's the pressures that are put to bear on people in war time… "

Yes, I'm willing to accept this. It's one of the powerful anti-war elements of the picture, but the defence provided within the context of the court martial itself, within the very narrative of the film, does offer food for thought along these lines, but finally we can only react emotionally to what we see and experience, and that is: the men were subjected to an unfair trial in spite of a persuasive defence and it's clear that all the tea-and-crumpet-ingesting Brits have their minds made up from the beginning.

I watched the film again after reading Beresford's comments. I was still angered by the Brits and still deeply moved by the plight of the accused men. This did not change. I concluded that Beresford flipped his lid. This was the same film I saw in 1980, then several times over the next 35 years. It's the same movie millions of people have seen and loved.

It's a stirring film and an important one. And yeah, it still has me shuddering and spewing tears when Morant, just before being executed screams out: "Shoot straight, you bastards! Don't make a mess of it!"

War is cruel and unfair, but one cannot deny that honour and bravery exist amongst those men so savagely treated by it and who, in turn, have reduced themselves to killing machines for king and country.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: **** 4-Stars

The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray/DVD edition of Breaker Morant is gorgeously transferred and includes a solid audio commentary featuring Bruce Beresford in 2004, new interviews with Beresford, cinematographer Donald McAlpine and actor Bryan Brown, an interview with actor Edward Woodward from 2004, a superb new short piece about the Boer War with historian Stephen Miller, an interesting 1974 documentary The Breaker, profiling the real Harry “Breaker” Morant, (with a 2010 statement by its director, Frank Shields), the theatrical trailer and an essay by scholar Neil Sinyard.

Order these films directly from the links below and contribute to the maintenance of the Film Corner

USA and the rest of the world: Amazon.com









Canada: Amazon.ca









U.K. Amazon.co.uk



Saturday 26 September 2015

DRESSED TO KILL - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Antonin Artaud, Meet Brian De Palma. Mr. De Palma, Meet Monsieur Artaud. Rejoice! The Gloriously Cruel 1980 Slice n' Dice Classic is now available on a gorgeous Criterion Collection Blu-Ray.


Dressed To Kill (1980)
Dir. Brian De Palma
Starring: Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen,
Keith Gordon, Dennis Franz, David Margulies, William Finley

Review By Greg Klymkiw

If Antonin Artaud's theories behind the Theatre of Cruelty carry any weight at all, they are rooted in the notion that an artist must force an audience to feel unconscious emotions by assaulting the senses of said audience. Though moviegoers are closer to the passive audiences Artaud despised, the fact remains that many of the greatest works of cinema reflect leading Artaud egghead Nathan Gorelick's assertion that cruelty is "the unrelenting agitation of a life that has become unnecessary, lazy, or removed from a compelling force."

It's possible that filmmaker Brian De Palma might not even be conscious of his Artaud-like use of cruelty in so many of his films, but I'd slap a few C-notes agin it with the ferocity of a hardened gee-gaw tout. Both referential to Alfred Hitchcock and furthermore, self-referential, De Palma's pictures nail our kneecaps into our seats, forcing us, with such tantalizingly, disturbingly beautiful images that we can do little but become active engagers in the spectacle of "unrelenting agitation" on the silver screen. Unlike Alex in A Clockwork Orange, we do not require our eyelids to be pinned back. Our eyes have no choice but to remain open as we engage in the truculent indignities tossed at the characters populating De Palma's works themselves.

As is my won't, I find myself drawn to fresh screenings of movies that were originally released during my youth in their initial theatrical releases. The viewing experiences from those halcyon days are so fresh and vivid in my mind that it's hard to believe the movies themselves are, in fact, decades-old.

(By extension I'm distressingly reminded that I am decades-older.)

This phenomenon of the "old" feeling "new" could, I suspect, be tossed off as the simple process of aging. No matter how many years pass, the art we tuned-in to so long ago feels like yesterday because it was part of what formed us as individuals and hopefully, if we have not changed too much with the times, we are who we are and the movies are what they are (and not so much were, but again, undoubtedly are).

Most of all, though, they are works that are as fresh today as when we first saw them. This is no mere pre-dementia-riddled shaking of the things-were-better-back-then-Shillelaghs. In many instances they felt ahead of their time when first seen decades ago and even now, they feel ahead of their time. They're usually far more fresh and vital than those works released literally just yesterday.

It probably has most to do with the fact that movies from our distant past, the ones that really counted at the time (like so many of De Palma's did), are imbued with the universal qualities one attributes to work that was made and exists beyond the mere ephemeral. They are classics, masterpieces which will live long after we and their filmmakers are dead and buried.

Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill is such a movie.

And, it is cruel beyond all belief.


In 1980, this terrifying, darkly hilarious and creepy thriller caused audiences to alternately howl with laughter, shudder with gooseflesh and jump out of their seats. It still performs these dutiful tasks every single time we see it and in those periods between laying our eyes upon it, the picture creeps into our consciousness whenever incidents in the real world remind us of its prescience, or when we see contemporary films of a similar nature that are clearly without the same style and intelligence or simply, because we're alone with our thoughts, dreams and/or fetishes and memories of the picture - all this is enough to infuse us with the frissons necessary to keep us alive. (Frissons rooted, of course, in the abject cruelty with which De Palma lavishes upon his characters and, by extension, we, the audience.)

The central arc of De Palma's original screenplay yields a work of seeming simplicity. A hot middle-aged babe (Angie Dickinson) cuckolds her cold, reserved second husband and is brutally murdered after a leisurely afternoon tryst with a hunk she's met earlier that day in an art gallery. The killer is a vicious blonde wearing shades who hacks Dickinson to pieces with a razor blade in an apartment elevator.

The killing is witnessed by a beautiful young hooker (Nancy Allen), who teams up with the dead woman's nerdy teenage son (Keith Gordon) to solve the crime. The woman's psychiatrist (Michael Caine) is concerned that one of his wacko clients is the killer, a transgendered young fella called Bobbie (voiced by William Finley, The Phantom of the Paradise himself). The hooker is stalked by the killer, resulting in a number of hair-raising set pieces (including an astonishing sequence on a subway platform and then, a moving train).


She's then meanly strong-armed by a coarse police detective (Dennis Franz) into filching an appointment book from the psychiatrist in order to circumvent the legal ramifications of client-doctor privacy. (This sequence is boner-inducingly sexy AND mind-fuckingly suspenseful.) And it's here that the picture barrels full steam ahead towards a climax so scary, it borders (for some) on multiple orgasmic spewing and shudders. AND, as per the De Palma we all know and love, we're blessed with an anti-climactic climax (a la Carrie), designed to tear more than a few new assholes out of the audience, sending them a-leapin' like frogs with firecrackers up their butts.

If Dressed To Kill was merely a tartly effective thriller, it might have been enough to solidify its place in film history, but the fact that it goes so much further is what keeps it to the forefront, where all great cinema deserves to be.

The fact of the matter is that cruelty is the driving engine of the film - not just cruelty for cruelty's sake, but to expose our own need to wallow in richly delineated sadism, especially as it's perpetrated upon others (those characters in the film who are all examples of lives that have "become unnecessary" - lives, perhaps, not unlike those belonging to most all of miserable humanity).


Dickinson's character is put through a veritable wringer of cruelty. It's not enough that De Palma lavishes his camera upon her lithe form in a steamy shower in the film's opening shots, but that he invades her privacy as she lathers herself, deep into her nether regions, giving herself physical pleasure through masturbation fuelled by fantasies of the gent outside the shower who lathers his face with shaving cream.

That her hands find their way to her genitals, caressing and cleansing them whilst harbouring "filthy" libidinous thoughts, are simply not cruel enough either: a muscular male hand must clutch Dickinson's mouth and smother her, while the other hairy paw finds its way down to her genitals to literally lift her up off the ground, the man's pelvis grinding into her backdoor regions and finally, the whole nasty, sexy affair climaxes, revealing itself to be an early morning dirty fantasy. The camera eye breaks through the steamy haze and upon the clear reality of Angie's brutish husband ploughing her, pronging her, skewering her with his coital missionary position thrusts as she barks out yips, yelps and moans, as convincing as an actress in a porn film or a $50 street whore hoping her screams of pleasure will get the john to dump his load and roll off. These fake utterances are to fulfil her husband's needs and not her own. Nice though the fantasy which precedes it.


The cruelty does not let up. De Palma teases us with an extended sequence in an art gallery where we see Dickinson lazily sauntering through, admiring the art, but also noticing a handsome gentleman ogling her. It's a gloriously dreamy, sexy dance between two people attracted to each other physically, but after so much tantalizing teasing, both she and the audience are ripped out of the reality of the seduction, until, that is, she's whisked into the back of a cab by the gentleman who proceeds to go down on her during the ride to his apartment.

Here De Palma allows the beleaguered housewife, a mere sperm receptacle for her husband, to experience full-on, full-blown passion. We feel for her. We're happy for her - so much so that we delight in the moments when she opens her afternoon lover's desk drawer to retrieve a note pad in which she can write some tender sweet nothings for the first man to give her multiple orgasms in God knows how long.

Here is where the cruelty lavished upon Dickinson is both horrifying and knee-slappingly hilarious. In lover-boy's desk drawer she discovers a letter from the NYC Dept. of Health which orders him to contact the city bureaucrats immediately. He has a VENEREAL DISEASE, a venereal disease which, of course, Dickinson will now have - little something to take home to her cuckolded hubbles.

Oh, and if you think this cruelty is going to let up, you're going to be sorely mistaken. Angie flees the apartment and into an awaiting elevator. A Mother and her weird daughter join the trip down and the rotten little brat keeps staring at Dickinson, ACCUSINGLY. The kid's face seems to read: "I KNOW YOU'RE A SLUT." It's at this point, our philandering housewife realizes she's left her WEDDING RING behind in lover-boy's apartment.

Once the Mommy and horrid child exit, she now needs to go back up to the love nest of venereal infection to retrieve the symbol of her marriage to cuckolded hubby. Alone on the slow ride up, the elevator stops, the doors open and she meets a grotesque looking blonde with a straight razor.

Her demise at this point is utterly relentless.

I'd also like to suggest that it's hilarious. Each step of Dickinson's traumas are hilarious. Not tongue-in-cheek, either. They're so grotesque, yet played so straight, we can't help but guffaw and whack our knees repeatedly like some corn-holing mountain-cracker-barrel hillbillies with missing teeth and dirty bare feet.

Because, of course, it is what we ALL are in the eyes of Master Artaudian puppeteer, Brian De Palma. We're all piles of shit who deserve to have our worst fears and pain drawn out. He lets us look into the mirror of his camera lens.


And make no mistake - poor Angie Dickinson's delicate dance into cruelty - is simply one of an ongoing series of characters in Dressed To Kill who undergo the scarily sadistic Loony Tunes hilarity which De Palma drags them (and us) through.

He places his characters under a magnifying glass, allowing the sun to slowly sear off chunks of their bodies and souls. The act of participating in this cruelty, however, means that we ourselves are under the magnifying glass.

The light, the visions of light which comprise cinema itself, are like the rays of the sun which De Palma turns on us, with considerable glee.

Ooooooh, he's such a nasty little boy.

But I love him all the more because of it.

Dressed To Kill is available on an all new restored 4K digital transfer of the unrated version, supervised by Brian De Palma on a gorgeous Criterion Collection Blu-Ray. The bevy of extras includes a new conversation between De Palma and filmmaker Noah Baumbach, new interviews with actor Nancy Allen, producer George Litto, composer Pino Donaggio, shower-scene body double Victoria Lynn Johnson, and poster photographic art director Stephen Sayadian, The Making of “Dressed to Kill,” a 2001 documentary, a new profile of cinematographer Ralf Bode, featuring filmmaker Michael Apted, an interview with actor-director Keith Gordon from 2001, a documentary from 2001 about the different versions of the film and the cuts made to avoid an X rating and amongst the trailer and essay, storyboards by De Palma. Feel free to order directly from the links below and contribute to the maintenance of The Film Corner.







Friday 25 September 2015

THE HONEYMOON KILLERS - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Lurid Crime: Glorious Criterion


The Honeymoon Killers (1969)
Dir. Leonard Kastle
Starring: Shirley Stoler, Tony Lo Bianco, Doris Roberts,
Dortha Duckworth, Marilyn Chris, Barbara Cason,
Mary Jane Higby, Kip McArdle, Mary Breen

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Though one wishes to imagine the movie Martin Scorsese might have made from Leonard Kastle's screenplay of The Honeymoon Killers, it's probably best left unimagined. Scorsese was quickly fired by the producer for being too pokey on the shoestring $150K budget, whereupon Kastle was selected to replace him.

What remains is still one of the most mouthwateringly lurid films of the 20th century. Not that Kastle's approach to this take on the true-crime drama of the "lonelyhearts killers" was exploitative, but it derives its layers of scum quite honestly due to the realistic, monochrome and almost documentary-like approach to the material. Yet, in spite of the neo-realist flavour infusing the picture, Kastle also bathes the material in a perverse romanticism and we get, first and foremost, a love story - albeit one in which its lovers are psychopaths.


Spring boarding from events which originally took place during the post-war years of the 40s and setting them in the 60s when the film was shot, we're told the tale of Martha Beck (Shirley Stoler), a morbidly obese nurse from Mobile, Alabama who meets the sexy, charming conman Ray Fernandez (Tony Lo Bianco) from a lonely hearts club correspondence. Long before internet dating sites, those in need of love would write good, old fashioned love letters to each other via clubs which advertised their services in sleazy "women's" magazines and tabloid newspapers.

The flowery correspondence twixt the two leads Ray to make a trip down to Mobile from New York. Martha lives with her dementia-addled mother (Dortha Duckworth) and has only one real friend, the libidinous Bunny. Ray has come to dupe Martha into emptying her bank account, but instead, he falls madly in love with her, and she with him.

Eventually he reveals his "business" to Martha and the two of them carry on as lovers, but pose as brother and sister, which makes them an ideal team to perpetrate fraud upon lonely spinsters. In no time, however, simple fraud turns to murder and the pair begin to kill their victims. Committing murder seems to spark their libidos even more. After Martha gruesomely, brutally and repeatedly smashes a seventy year old woman's head to a pulp with a hammer, the two retire to the boudoir as Ray, hard-on raging, orders Martha to keep the lights on. "I want to make love," he coos.


Their love knows no bounds, it seems. However, the scams they're perpetrating often place Ray in positions where the "lonely hearts" are demanding sex from him. Worse yet, Ray even seems attracted to some of the women which only causes Martha to become both jealous and even more brutally murderous.

It's only a matter of time until they're caught and as in the real-life case, both of them are put to death in Sing Sing Prison's electric chairs. Kastle, as writer and director, never lets up on the romantic connection between Ray and Martha. Sacrifices are made for love and in spite of the horrific nature of their crimes, the film actually moves us during its final moments. In fact, we're moved quite deeply.

One of the interesting aspects of creating a borderline melodrama of this love is the brilliant notion to use Gustav Mahler's alternately heart-wrenching and sweetly beautiful 6th Symphony as the only score. Written by Mahler during a period of considerable strife in his marriage to Alma Mahler, the work has often been referred to as "The Death of Love" symphony. What makes it work so beautifully is that it needs to convey deep love in order to detail the death of love and used as score in The Honeymoon Killers, it carries us along with as much joyous emotion as it does with its disturbing, dissonant riffs.


There isn't a performance in the film that ever seems out of place. but ultimately, it's Stoler (she played the concentration camp commandant in Lina Wertmuler's Seven Beauties) and Lo Bianco (oft cast as a gangster and cop who transcended the cliches he was forced to inhabit and delivered the brilliantly complex performance in Larry Cohen's God Told Me To) who both keep our eyes glued to the screen. In another time and place, these two render performances that would at least have garnered major nominations and possibly even awards, but in 1969, were relegated to a few decent critical notices and little else.

There have, of course, been a number of film versions of this story, but none of them have the power of Kastle's version to both horrify and move us. It's an extraordinary work and one which continues to live on as a genuine classic.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: ***** 5-Stars

The Honeymoon Killers is available on a gorgeously transferred Criterion Collection Blu-Ray which comes complete with an all new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray, a detailed interview with writer-director Leonard Kastle from 2003, interviews with actors Tony Lo Bianco and Marilyn Chris and editor Stan Warnow and a genuinely great new video essay, “Dear Martha . . . ,” by writer Scott Christianson, author of "Condemned: Inside the Sing Sing Death House". Feel free to order the film directly from the Amazon links below and contribute to the ongoing maintenance of The Film Corner:

Thursday 24 September 2015

Kino Classics: British Noir, 5 DVD Set - Reviews By Greg Klymkiw of THEY MET IN THE DARK, THE OCTOBER MAN, SNOWBOUND, GOLDEN SALAMANDER, THE ASSASSIN (aka THE VENETIAN BIRD)

One of the best Home Viewing releases of 2015 is this Kino Classics 5 movie set of British Film Noir from the 40s and 50s. There are no frilly extras, but the films, representing the darkness of Dear Old Blighty are more than enough for any fan of war-time and post-war crime cinema.

They Met in the Dark (1943)
Dir. Carl Lamac
Scr. Anatole de Grunwald, Miles Malleson,
Basil Bartlett, Victor MacClure, James Seymour
Nvl. "The Vanished Corpse" by Anthony Gilbert
Starring: James Mason, Joyce Howard, Tom Walls, Phyllis Stanley, Edward Rigby

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Debonair Mason and babe Howard
seek, romance, redemption and
some good old-fashioned Nazi-busting.

A terrific cast, ace Czech expat Otto Heller's (Peeping Tom, The Ladykillers, Richard III) moody cinematography and the sprightly editing of Terence Fisher (the eventual director of such legendary Hammer films as The Curse of Frankenstein, Horror of Dracula, Brides of Dracula), all contribute to making this otherwise routine wartime spy thriller, well worth seeing. Even in 1943, They Met in the Dark would have fallen into the been-there-done-that chasm of propaganda-rooted noir pictures, but it's a well produced effort that still manages to yield considerable entertainment value.

A youthful (and bearded) James Mason as a dashing and sexy naval commander, imbued with the tortured Mason-ian ennui (as per usual), is duped by a babe (secretly working for the Krauts) into delivering erroneous information which jeopardizes the lives of Brit sailors and their ship. He receives a court martial which forces him into deeper depression, but also provides the resolve he needs to tomcat his way into the heart of a plucky Canadian babe (Joyce Howard). With the Canuck lassie'e assistance, he seeks to clear his name and bring down the Nazi spies.

Thankfully, he also turfs the facial hair for the final two-thirds of the picture.

Plenty of intrigue abounds, including a nice set piece within a dark old house which yields a surprise corpse that spirals into even more seemingly insurmountable odds for our hero. The romantic chemistry twixt the debonair Mason and the luscious Howard crackles with major sex appeal and the main villain of the film is a deliciously dastardly, though (on the surface) antithetically refined Tom Walls as the show business agent Christopher Child, a Nazi pig in Savile Row finery.

The screenplay, cobbled together by no less than five credited writers, not including an unofficial sixth, the author of the original novel upon which the film is based, yields (not surprisingly) a somewhat generic work. Though the writing is strictly minor key, it's not without proficiency. Finally though, it is the fine cast and production value which render a calorically rich, though nutritionally empty appetizer to the other titles in this Box Set of Brit Noir delights.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: ***½ 3-and-a-half Stars

There's nothing more entertaining than
an amnesiac considering suicide, especially
when played by the magnificent John Mills.

The October Man (1947)
Dir. Roy Ward Baker
Scr. Eric Ambler
Starring: John Mills, Joan Greenwood, Edward Chapman,
Kay Walsh, Jack Melford, Frederick Piper, Joyce Carey

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Take a solid screenplay by Eric Ambler, the directorial debut of Roy Ward Baker (A Night To Remember and several great Hammer Horror classics), an atmosphere of amnesiac ennui resembling that of Mervyn LeRoy's Random Harvest and an astounding performance by John Mills (replete with joy, suffering, kindness, bravery and romantic yearning) and you get The October Man, a terrific British post-war offering that's ripe for re-discovery.

Mills is Jim, a chemist with a big industrial corporation who suffers a horrible head injury in a bus accident - one in which he's been entrusted with the care of a friend's child (played by Mills' real life daughter Juliet) and who dies horribly (through no fault of his own) in the crash. Jim spends a year in an asylum, wracked with amnesia, save for the recurring memories of the child's death.

Though released into the world, all is not right with our hero. His firm arranges a job for him at one of their plants in London and puts him up in a strange old rooming house. Here he tries to build his life back to what it once was, but it's not easy, especially being surrounded by a wide variety of provincially-minded fellow boarders including the horrible, old gossip Mrs. Vinton (Joyce Carey) and an extremely risible snoop and travelling salesman Peachey (Edward Chapman).

Jim eventually meets Jenny (Joan Greenwood), a sweet young woman who takes a shine to his gentle demeanour. The two begin dating and quickly fall in love. Alas, life keeps throwing curve balls at our sad-eyed hero. He befriends the doomed Molly (Kay Walsh), a fellow border who aspires to be an actress, practises lay-astrology and is the kept woman of a married rich businessman. Though she's obviously attracted to the kindness of Jim, she also sees a mark that she might be able to play for a sucker.

One night, Molly is brutally murdered and the prejudicial views against mental illness rear their ugly heads and Jim becomes the prime suspect. Jenny sticks by his side, but the odds of him being railroaded for Molly's murder increase exponentially, as do his deep suicidal tendencies.

The real killer must be found, but is Jim up to the task? The late Molly would have thought so. She dubbed him an October Man due to his astrological sign, but will the inherent qualities she saw in him be enough to avenge her death and save Jim?

I highly suggest you watch this wonderful melodramatic post-war bit of Blighty darkness to find out.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: **** 4-Stars

One can never go wrong with Herbert Lom
as a greedy, villanous NAZI!

Snowbound (1948)
Dir. David MacDonald
Starring: Dennis Price, Robert Newton,
Stanley Holloway, Herbert Lom, Mila Parély, Marcel Dalio

Review By Greg Klymkiw

A motley crew of disparate personalities converges upon an isolated ski resort in the Italian Alps wherein, it is said, the Nazis hid a fortune in stolen valuables. A screenwriter (Dennis Price), a director (Robert Newton) a cameraman (Stanley Holloway), a courtesan (Mila Parély) and a Nazi (Herbert Lom) are amongst those who are all there to find the buried treasure. Much intrigue and double crosses ensue in this snowbound locale, building to a thrilling climax in which true colours are revealed and death, for some, will be imminent.

The performances, especially Herbert Lom as the villainous Hun hellbent on financing a Fourth Reich, are all delightful and the intrigue clips along at a supremely entertaining pace. There are elements of post-war darkness to be sure, but for the most part, the picture doesn't take itself too seriously and offers up plenty of fun.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: *** 3-Stars

Wilfred Hyde-White as Hoagy Carmichael.

Golden Salamander (1950)
Dir. Ronald Neame
Nvl. Victor Canning
Scr. Lesley Storm, Canning, Neame
Starring: Trevor Howard, Wildred Hyde-White, Herbert Lom, Anouk Aimee

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Doing the math on this one, we come up with more than a few tasty post-war morsels tucked into a tale of greed and shady shenanigans. Based upon a Victor Canning novel, we're introduced to an archeologist (Trevor Howard) in Tunis. Attempting to track down some rare Etruscan items, his official visit turns into a nightmare. Amidst a group of nasty gunrunners, a sleazy local crime chieftain and corrupt constabulary, our eggheaded hero gets himself into a whole heap of trouble. He also falls in love with the gorgeous teenage proprietress (Anouk Aimee) of the hotel-bar he stays in.

It is here where we're blessed with the inimitable Wilfred Hyde-White doing his own rendition of Hoagy Carmichael as the bar's butt-puffing piano player - with divided loyalties, 'natch.

There are more double crosses than you can shake a stick at and at the centre of it all is the always-welcome presence of the dastardly Herbert Lom, here playing a big game hunter, strong-arm sharpshooter for the bad guys and general miscreant. Plenty of suspense is to be had in this nicely directed (by Ronald Neame of The Poseidon Adventure fame) thriller with a stellar blend of gorgeously shot location footage matched to studio interiors (courtesy of the legendary DoP Oswald Morris).

And for those who can't watch any thriller without one, there is, I kid you not, a wild boar hunt during the nail biting climax. Boar hunting and Herbert Lom is what one might best call, a "win-win" situation.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: *** 3-Stars

Eva Bartok and Richard Todd in post-war Venice

The Assassin (aka The Venetian Bird) (1952)
Dir. Ralph Thomas
Scr. Victor Canning
Starring: Richard Todd, Eva Bartok, John Gregson, George Coulouris, Sidney James

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Director Ralph Nelson ably steers Victor Canning's screenplay (from his novel) about a private detective (Richard Todd) who is sent to Venice to track down an Italian freedom fighter to reward him for his stellar work during war time. Gorgeous location photography and a haunting score by Nino Rota add up to a fine post-war noir thriller with plenty of double-crosses and a gorgeous femme fatale (Eva Bartok) to keep things delectably dark. Nelson's brother Gerald (eventual director of the "Carry On" series) handles the editing with aplomb - especially given the convolutions of the stirring plot line.

This is standard, but stirring post-war Brit suspense which keeps one on the edge of the seat thanks to a great cast and superb production value all round. Plenty of Hitchcockian touches and a Third Man-like flavour all round.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: ***½ 3-and-a-half-stars

The Kino Classics Brit Noir 5 DVD set is available via Kino-Lorber. Purchas directly from the Amazon links below and contribute to the ongoing maintenance of The Film Corner:

Wednesday 23 September 2015

FEBRUARY - Review By Greg Klymkiw at "ELECTRIC SHEEP - a deviant view of cinema" - TIFF 2015: Atmospheric Babes in Peril Thriller with Lewton-like touches.

Read Greg Klymkiw's TIFF 2015 *** review of FEBRUARY at "Electric Sheep - a deviant view  of cinema" by clicking HERE.

Tuesday 22 September 2015

THE WITCH - Review By Greg Klymkiw at "Electric Sheep - a deviant view of cinema" - TIFF 2015: Decent Cinematography not enough to save pretentious, dull, bargain-basement late-career Terence Malick rip-off crossed with Roman Polanski aspirations and dollops of half-baked Bergman. Worse yet, pic is not unlike lower-drawer M. Night Shyamalan. That's truly chilling!

Read Greg Klymkiw's ** TIFF 2015 review of THE WITCH at "Electric Sheep - a deviant view of cinema" by clicking HERE.

BREAKER MORANT - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Aussie Anti-War Favourite on Criterion

Bryan Brown and Edward Woodward await British "justice".

Breaker Morant (1980)
Dir. Bruce Beresford
Starring: Edward Woodward, Bryan Brown, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Jack Thompson

Review By Greg Klymkiw
We'll do our best when crucified
To finish off in style, sir!
- "Butchered to Make a Dutchman's Holiday",
a poem written by Harry "Breaker" Morant just prior to his execution.
Stories about nations executing their own soldiers are pretty much guaranteed to generate climaxes inspiring sheer, unbridled emotion, often resulting in copious tears from an audience, or at the very least, producing more than a few a catches in more than a few throats. Feelings of mounting anger and frustration are also par for the course since the executions are always a result of politics, petty bureaucratic manoeuvring, colonialism and major league ass-covering.

The greatest of them all is, of course, Stanley Kubrick's 1957 Paths of Glory with Kirk Douglas attempting to save a group of innocent soldiers from execution at the hands of a cold-hearted martinet. Some of my other favourites include: the great, near-forgotten 1974 NBC Television Movie The Execution of Private Slovik, written by legendary scribes Richard Levinson and William Link, directed by Lamont Johnson and starring Martin Sheen in one of his greatest performances; the recent 2015/2016 release of the heartbreaking Terence Davies picture Sunset Song, about a shell shocked soldier wishing to leave the front to be with his wife; And though there is no literal execution in it, the fate facing a shy young sailor in Hal Ashby's The Last Detail might as well be a death sentence.

Then there is Bruce Beresford's Breaker Morant from 1980, one of the many films to lead the Australian charge of internationally acclaimed box office hits. (The film was an especially huge grosser Down Under and eventually had an excellent shelf life in North America after initially soft openings).

This finely wrought courtroom (court martial) drama details the true story of commanding officer Lt. Harry "Breaker" Morant (Edward Woodward) and two of his men, Peter Handcock (Bryan Brown) and George Witton (Lewis Fitz-Gerald), all standing trial for the murder of (supposed) civilians in the fields of battle during the Boer War. The narrative is recounted in flashbacks during the tribunal presided over by pole-up-the-ass British military martinets. Director Beresford ably commandeers his superb cast through a compelling recounting of their actions in the field.

In spite of the fact that they've been handed a lawyer skilled only in corporate law, Maj. J.F. Thomas (Jack Thompson) offers a brilliant defence, and though history tells us otherwise, we're expecting either a full acquittal or, at the very least, no firing squad death sentences. Thomas throws everything, including the kitchen sink at the martinets, ranging from the trial being illegal as the men are Australian, not British, the very real facts that the enemy during the Boer War waged guerrilla warfare (wherein anyone could be the enemy), plus the astonishing facts that orders were given to Morant and his men to spare nobody (including an order to avenge an Australian soldier tortured to death by the Boers).

A Good Defence Means Nothing When
Brits Have Decided to Nail Aussies to a CROSS!

There is no question that Morant and his men have committed the wholesale slaughter of "civilians", but these are clearly not civilians. This is war, and as such, the most horrible things occur. This is not the case of Nazi-style genocide - it is warfare under impossible circumstances - period.

We're with the men to the tragic end of the film and the clear villains are the colonial imperialist British military. Oddly, director Bruce Beresford expressed shock over interpretations such as these. In a 2012 interview with Peter Malone, he said:

"I read an article about it recently in the LA times and the writer said it's the story of these guys who were railroaded by the British. But that's not what it's about at all. . . I always get amazed when people say to me that this is a film about poor Australians who were framed by the Brits."

Reading this, my immediate response is to assume Beresford's gone completely insane. Now sure, that might not be the entire story, but how can one deny that the overriding attitude of the movie towards the British is clearly anti-Colonialist. In the film's final few minutes, we're even treated to some choice, heartbreaking melancholy and exquisite sentimentality. Perhaps anti-colonialism within the historical context of this story wasn't Beresford's intention after all, but if not, then I'd have to assume he brought an innate Australian attitude towards the British. In fairness to Beresford, he does offer the following in the same interview:

"[The film] analysed why men in this situation would behave as they had never behaved before in their lives. It's the pressures that are put to bear on people in war time… "

Yes, I'm willing to accept this. It's one of the powerful anti-war elements of the picture, but the defence provided within the context of the court martial itself, within the very narrative of the film, does offer food for thought along these lines, but finally we can only react emotionally to what we see and experience, and that is: the men were subjected to an unfair trial in spite of a persuasive defence and it's clear that all the tea-and-crumpet-ingesting Brits have their minds made up from the beginning.

I watched the film again after reading Beresford's comments. I was still angered by the Brits and still deeply moved by the plight of the accused men. This did not change. I concluded that Beresford flipped his lid. This was the same film I saw in 1980, then several times over the next 35 years. It's the same movie millions of people have seen and loved.

It's a stirring film and an important one. And yeah, it still has me shuddering and spewing tears when Morant, just before being executed screams out: "Shoot straight, you bastards! Don't make a mess of it!"

War is cruel and unfair, but one cannot deny that honour and bravery exist amongst those men so savagely treated by it and who, in turn, have reduced themselves to killing machines for king and country.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: **** 4-Stars

The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray/DVD edition of Breaker Morant is gorgeously transferred and includes a solid audio commentary featuring Bruce Beresford in 2004, new interviews with Beresford, cinematographer Donald McAlpine and actor Bryan Brown, an interview with actor Edward Woodward from 2004, a superb new short piece about the Boer War with historian Stephen Miller, an interesting 1974 documentary The Breaker, profiling the real Harry “Breaker” Morant, (with a 2010 statement by its director, Frank Shields), the theatrical trailer and an essay by scholar Neil Sinyard.

Order these films directly from the links below and contribute to the maintenance of the Film Corner

USA and the rest of the world: Amazon.com









Canada: Amazon.ca









U.K. Amazon.co.uk



Monday 21 September 2015

BASKIN - Review By Greg Klymkiw at "ELECTRIC SHEEP - a deviant view of cinema" - TIFF 2015: Turkish Tarantino-esque Cops Meet Satan during Black Mass investigation

Read Greg Klymkiw's **** review of BASKIN, a TIFF 2015 Midnight Madness wad of depravity. Just visit "Electric Sheep - a deviant view of cinema" by clicking HERE.

Sunday 20 September 2015

DEMON - Review By Greg Klymkiw at "ELECTRIC SHEEP - a deviant view of cinema" TIFF 2015: Chilling Polish Dybbuk Horror Thriller by 42-year-old Director who died one week after World Premiere at TIFF


Marcin Wrona, the brilliant young Polish filmmaker presented the World Premiere of his chilling horror film DEMON in the Vanguard Series at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2015) one week before his sudden death in Poland on September 18, 2015. My **** 4-Star review can be read at Electric Sheep by clicking HERE.

Saturday 19 September 2015

NINTH FLOOR - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Racism, Civil Disobedience & Canada TIFF 2015


NINTH FLOOR (2015)
Dir. Mina Shum

Review By Greg Klymkiw

There's much about Canada that's wonderful and has earned the country a reputation worldwide as a paradise of caring, culture and tolerance. Führer Stevie Harper eroded that view, but in spite of his evil and his fascist government presiding over us for far too long, there is still much about Canada that remains wonderful. Even that fact, though, is a bit of a smokescreen.

In reality - Harper or not - Canada can be downright creepy. It's a country where the War Measures Act was applied against its own citizens and treated innocent people like criminals and terrorists. It's a country where the military has repeatedly been used to bully our indigenous people when they've even moderately protested exploitation at the hands of big business and government. "The Fruit Machine", anyone? This All-Canadian invention was used to identify homosexuals in the civil service and provide the necessary grounds to turf them.

What's creepy about Canada is just how sneaky, nastily backstabbing and "polite" it is when it chooses to fuck people over. A Canadian is just as likely to spit in your face, then immediately apologize for soiling you with their sputum. Because of the country's mask of benevolence, it makes them very good spies, infiltrators and deceivers.

In 1969, one of the most horrendous examples of this Canadian creepiness was perpetrated in Montreal. Its effects resonate to this very day - even though MOST Canadians do not know, care and/or do not remember the events which precipitated a justifiable act of civil disobedience - one in which its participants brought institutional racism in academia to the attention of the world.

Thankfully, the National Film Board of Canada (an equally creepy government agency with its own fair share of blood on its hands - Arthur Lipsett, anyone?) has allowed Mina Shum (Double Happiness) one of Canada's finest filmmakers the opportunity to bring the aforementioned events of 1969 to light in the powerful, superbly crafted Ninth Floor.


In the shadow of Canada's Expo '67 in Montreal, an international celebration of multicultural achievements, a group of Black students enrolled in Sir George Williams University were shocked to learn that their Biology professor was intentionally grading them at far lower levels than the White students. Though he was charged with racism, the university's administration pretty much did nothing about it. The students had only one choice - to take matters into their own hands. They occupied the ninth floor computer lab and brought this shameful incident to the attention of the world - not, however, without consequences and most certainly not without scary police-state-like machinations.

Shum brilliantly uses archival footage, current interviews and effective re-enactments to piece together this story fraught with the sheer evil of Canada's oh-so subtle and, uh, creepy, surveillance. Further presenting the aforementioned materials through the eyes of surveillance cameras adds immeasurably to the creep factor.

Ninth Floor might well be a documentary, but its sizzling storytelling and mise-en-scene places it squarely in the tradition of such brilliant 70s thrillers of paranoia like Alan J. Pakula's The Parallax View and Haskell Wexler's immortal Medium Cool. In addition to being creepy and often downright chilling, Shum also infuses the picture with considerable humanity and emotion, placing her work squarely in the tradition of Michel Brault's Les Ordres, the astounding dramatic expose of the War Measures Act during the FLQ crisis.


Canadians are especially good at following orders. They're nice, polite bureaucrats who have borrowed from the centuries-old history of British Colonialism, espionage and backstabbing. Shum rightly provides justification for the civil disobedience in the film and canonizes those who fought against one of the most insidious evils in the world.

Canada has always been a world leader at masking hatred against its citizens. Shum's film harrowingly and effectively lifts the veil upon one of this country's most shameful acts of terror and subterfuge.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: **** Four Stars

Ninth Floor enjoys its World Premiere in TIFF DOCS at TIFF 2015.

Friday 18 September 2015

SPOTLIGHT - Review By Greg Klymkiw ****TIFF 2015**** MUST-SEE


Spotlight (2015)
Dir. Tom McCarthy
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Brian d'Arcy James, Liev Schreiber, Billy Crudup, Len Cariou

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Organized religion has always had about as much to do with genuine faith in God as the Corleones' Genco Oil Co. had to do with selling olives. In both cases, neither parties are what they seem on the surface. The Catholic Church is probably more insidiously evil than the Mafia.

Built on secrecy, shame and corruption of the highest order, the Church has always been the perfect hiding place for sadists, psychopaths and pedophiles. Catholicism is so powerful that it's been almost impossible to break through their fortresses of protection. Too occasionally, through dogged determination, commitment and bravery on the part of its victims and valiant supporters, the Church has occasionally been exposed.

Where there is a Catholic Church…
there are Child Rapists!

The movie Spotlight takes deadly aim upon Catholic corruption and is so terrific, the picture easily takes its place with a handful of classic films featuring journalists as crusading detectives under the yoke of dark forces. Director Tom Mcarthy expertly lays out the proceedings in such a clear, precise fashion that his picture knocks us on our asses as mightily as 70s stalwarts All The President's Men and The Parallax View managed to do.

Telling the true story of a team of Boston Globe investigative reporters, the film powerfully and breathlessly details the eventual discovery and exposure of not one, not two, nor even a handful of Catholic Church pedophiles, but hundreds of them. In fact, this was one of the most significant takedowns of Catholic proclivities towards sexual abuse in recent decades.

McCarthy serves up one of the most astonishing casts in recent American cinema to lead us into the labyrinthine evil that plagued Boston as horrifically as Whitey Bulger. We follow Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), a newly appointed Globe editor who pushes the long-respected "Spotlight" team to drop everything and pursue the story behind the story and yet, behind the story, on Catholic pedophiles.

Robby Robinson (Michael Keaton), the team leader, initially complies under duress, but as he comes to know and respect his new boss and discover the twisted truth, he drives his crack reporters to dig deeper than they've ever dug before. The reporters are all Catholics, albeit of the lapsed variety, but even their "lapses" descend into pits of outright indignation as they realize how many children have been sexually abused by priests how both the Catholic Church and the legal system have buried the truth.

Mark Ruffalo - Lapsed Catholic Reporter

Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo) takes on Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci), a lawyer representing ninety victims. The attorney wants to help, but can only do so surreptitiously. He also has knowledge of documents that can only be secured legally by suing the Catrholic Church. Matt Carroll (Brian D’Arcy James) discovers pedophile priests who are merely reassigned to new parishes to rape anew (with the full knowledge and blessing of the Archdiocese of Boston), while Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) discovers even more victims than the aforementioned ninety - hundreds more. She also goes after slime bucket lawyer Eric MacLeish (Billy Crudup) whose collusion only protects the Catholic pederasts further.

Collusion, of course, is the key, and as the film progresses it seems the entire city of Boston is protecting this Confederacy of Holy Child Rapists: the rich and famous, the captains of finance/industry, the Crown, the cops and even the parents of victims (one victim describes his mother putting out cookies for his rapist). Oh, and just so the Globe doesn't come off completely lily-white in all this, McCarthy and co-writer Josh Singer make sure to nail the local media also - especially The Globe and its early collusion with the Church.

McCarthy's mise-en-scene is intelligently, tastefully un-fettered by overwrought visual excess. He spins the yarn by allowing the terrific script and first-rate cast do their business within well-blocked scenes that play-out in longer takes with punch-ins occurring only when they're necessary to genuinely tell the story and move the picture ever-forward. This is not to suggest McCarthy's work is by-the-numbers - instead he subtly creates three primary looks which assist in terms of tone - garish, fluorescent lights in office settings, dark interiors punctuated with glowing warmth when in the presence of the denizens of the Church and finally, a kind of drab, grey quality to most of the daytime exteriors as the reporters go about their business.

Stanley Tucci - a lawyer holds the truth

The entire film grips you by the throat and its impossible to shake free of its grasp - ever-maddening, ever-frustrating, ever-creepy and at times, even downright scary. In addition to the corruption and collusion, the film doesn't avoid exposing the Catholic Church's virulent anti-semitism (especially when blame is placed on the Jewish editor of the Globe). There's also an unbelievably creepy performance from legendary Canadian actor Len Cariou as Cardinal Bernard Law, Boston's prime pervert priest apologist/protector.

The Catholic Church has never looked quite so evil as it does here, and for good reason. It's the sheer paper-pushing bureaucracy at all levels that is used to hide these rapists and then put them back into situations where they can rape again. The movie is so dazzlingly structured that in its final minutes we're not only on the edge of our seats, but are eventually dealt a mighty cathartic blow.

To expose the Church is one piece of the delicate process of healing for its victims - all of whom were children when they were repeatedly raped by supposed men of God, who in turn were protected by the Church itself. The Church should have been protecting the children, not the rapists of the Cloth. In a sense, it would be wonderful if the children had the final word on this. They're the future, not the Catholic Church. As Spotlight stirringly demonstrates, it's the Catholic Church and its legacy of shame that needs to be exposed, but also, placed in a coffin.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: ***** 5-Stars

Spotlight is a TIFF Special Presentation at TIFF 2015 via Open Road Films

Thursday 17 September 2015

MEKKO - Review By Greg Klymkiw - TIFF 2015 - Urban Rez on the mean streets of Tulsa


Mekko (2015)
Dir. Sterlin Harjo
Starring: Rod Rondeaux, Zahn McClarnon, Wotko Long, Sarah Podemski, Scott Mason

Review By Greg Klymkiw

They're living ghosts on the dirty, mean streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma, looking for a patch of turf to rest their weary bones, quaff cheap booze and await death whilst clinging desperately to life so they can numb the pain.

Far from home, family and dignity, they're Native Americans reduced to poverty at its lowest rung on this makeshift Indian Reservation in the heart of a flat, grey city on the open plains of the dust bowl state. Life is hard, but death without redemption will be harder. One pain will be replaced with yet another, only this time, it will last an eternity if the loose ends aren't tied up.

Not every man will be up to the task, but in the hands of one man, there exists the power of salvation for his community of homeless indigenous people.


For many of us and certainly within the context of both this film and life itself, the blood and violence that eventually explode in answer to a brutal, cowardly assault and murder, will seem like cold, calculating vengeance, but the writer-director Sterlin Harjo knows better. In his third extraordinary feature film, Harjo takes us deep into the life and spirit of one man to expose a truth we must all face and come to know.

His film Mekko bears the name of its protagonist, a quiet lean, gentle giant played by longtime stuntman Rod Rondeaux (a la such immortals as Ben Johnson and Richard Farnsworth); a man who still has enough of a spark left in him to conjure the memories emblazoned upon his soul in childhood by the words of his long-dead grandmother.

In the tradition of Lionel Rogosin's searing docudramas on America's post-war homeless and the early years of South African apartheid in On the Bowery and Come Back, Africa respectively, in addition to the neo-realist visions of Vittorio De Sica (Bicycle Thieves, Shoeshine, Umberto D), Harjo has created a contemporary masterpiece in Mekko, one which indelibly presents a portrait of Native Americans that's as much a harrowing slice-of-life drama as it is a piece rooted in the folklore of our indigenous peoples.


Harjo hangs his raw cinematic engraving upon the simple tale of a man recently released from a 19-year prison stint for murder who winds up homeless on the streets of Tulsa. He reconnects with an old friend from his youth who's also on the streets, is then befriended by a kind-hearted Native American waitress in a local greasy spoon and eventually confronts his nemesis, an odious street goon who keeps his own people hooked on booze and drugs to extort, bully and eke what cash he can out of them.

As in his grandmother's legends, Mekko and his people are always followed by a malevolent witch-spirit who will haunt them to their graves and beyond unless someone bravely takes action to rip the evil heart and soul out of this scourge, this blight upon humanity. It's ultimately all about looking inward to expose one's own demons and eradicate them with extreme prejudice in order to make the world pure again.

Mekko is an extraordinary work, gorgeously crafted, beautifully acted and even utilizing real indigenous street people in the cast. It's sad, shocking, profoundly moving and ultimately uplifting. The journey to elation is, however, fraught with danger and suffering. It's not cheaply and easily earned, but it's a journey you'll never forget, one with the power to fill you with the kind of truth that not only exposes the lives of real people, but the potential to inspire change within yourself.

Yes, this is what they indeed do. Masterpieces, that is.

THE FILM CORNER RATING: ***** 5-Stars

Mekko enjoys its international premiere in the Contemporary World Cinema section of TIFF 2015. For further info, visit the TIFF website HERE.