Black Sheep (15) Feast of Love (15) Gypsy Caravan: When The Road Bends Day Watch (Dnevnoy dozor) (15)

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3:10 to Yuma (15)
A Mighty Heart (15)
As You Like It (12A)
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Day Watch (Dnevnoy dozor) (15)
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Feast of Love (15)
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Ghosts of Cité Soleil (15)
Gypsy Caravan: When The Road Bends
I for India
Lady Chatterley (Lady Chatterley et l’homme des bois) (18)
Last Tango in Paris (Ultimo tango a Parigi) (18)
Legacy (PG)
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Sparkle (15)
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Transylvania (15)
Waitress (12A)

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A FilmExposed Film Review

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (15)

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (15)

Dir: Wes Anderson, 2005, USA, 118 mins
Cast: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Angelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, Noah Taylor, Robyn Cohen

A high-seas adventure comedy, a tale of loss, self-rediscovery and redemption or perhaps a relationship movie; one thing is certain, that a Wes Anderson film is hard to pin down. At the heart of his fourth film is the story of Steve Zissou (Murray), a legendary Jacques Cousteau-esque oceanographic explorer/filmmaker facing the greatest aquatic challenge of his life. With his best friend recently eaten by a Jaguar Shark (which may or may not exist) he and his dysfunctional team of strays embark on a mission of revenge aboard their ship, The Belafonte. Joined by Ned Plimpton (Wilson) a man who may be Zissou's long lost son and an intrepid and pregnant reporter (Blanchett) Zissou is ready for what will be his most epic film yet.

In keeping with the style of Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic is not a laugh a minute comedy. Anderson and Baumbach's script - whilst hilarious - intertwines complex human relationships and issues of human weakness in with the laughter. The imperious and egotistical Zissou has to face the reality that he is a washed up oceanographer who is failing as a husband, a leader and potentially as a father. Murray is on top form again after Lost in Translation. Zissou is hilariously flawed and achingly vulnerable yet full of confident verve that never loses its momentum. Many of the film's best moments are delivered by Murray without even saying a word; the scene when he dances in his iridescent blue wetsuit to the cheap synthesiser music plumbed into his diving helmet is a classic that will ingrain itself on your memory for a long time.

There is so much to praise in this film, everything shines in its place; the incredible, imaginative and highly colourful stop motion sea creatures, the wonderfully funny Willem Dafoe in his first truly comic role as Klaus, and the haunting Portuguese renditions of David Bowie songs sung by Brazilian actor Seu Jorge (City of God) all threaten to steal the show. Anderson deserves the lion's portion (should that be Jaguar Shark's portion?) of the credit though in bringing together such a talented ensemble of ideas, crew and cast.

This film will make you laugh, but it might also make you cry; The Life Aquatic is perhaps best described as being a heavy-hearted comedy. There will be those who criticise the film for feeling disjointed and underdeveloped with some things left unexplained (like Anne-Marie's (Cohen) topless habit which suddenly stops for no reason?). But there is so much good to say about this original and imaginative film that can't be crammed into this review. All that can be said is it is one of the best films you'll see this year.


Chris Thornton

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