Johnny Depp takes on one of his increasingly rare serious roles here as Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger. While seeing him play a light-eyed repeat killer is thrilling – Bulger may have run most of Boston’s organised crime, but this film is only interested in the moments where he murdered people – the meat of this film lies in his relationship with FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton).
In 2008, director James Marsh’s documentary Man on Wire thrillingly re-created French high-wire walker Philippe Petit’s greatest feat: walking between the tops of New York’s then brand-new Twin Towers in 1974. Now with The Walk, director Robert Zemeckis’ re-creates it all over again, with less charm, a more muddled sense of drama, but – and this is pretty much the point of the exercise – a whole lot of vertigo-inducing camerawork during the high-wire work.
In London during the Swinging ’60s, the Kray brothers were the public face of crime, but there was tension in the ranks. Slick charmer Reggie (Tom Hardy) wanted to take their protection racket legit, while his somewhat mentally unbalanced twin Ronnie (Hardy again) wanted to stay true to their violent gangster roots.
With Snowtown, director Justin Kurzel proved he could create a grim and foreboding mood; now with Macbeth he doubles down on that with an adaptation that’s visually stunning even as it whittles the text down to a point well past the bare essentials.
Never having met their grandparents due to a falling out with their mother (Kathryn Hahn) before they were born, Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (a realistically annoying Ed Oxenbould) are thrilled when she agrees to let them go on a holiday visit to the family farm.
Charming but lightweight films in which single dads struggle to balance bringing up their adorable kids with the demands of their creative side aren’t exactly thin on the ground – we’ve already had Infinitely Polar Bear this year – and it’s often hard to avoid the impression that simply seeing a single dad at work is mean to be quirky enough to make their story worth telling.
As a photographer himself, who better than Anton Corbijin to tell the story behind the iconic photo of James Dean in Times Square? Well… maybe someone who’s not a photographer? There’s a lot to enjoy in Life – especially the performances – but it’s hard not to come away from this feeling like it flatters the (usually ignored) man behind the camera at the expense of his subject.