Tag Archive: james marsh

Dir. Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, and Anand Tucker
(2010, Not Rated, 303 min)
★ ★

The Red Riding trilogy, consisting of three films spanning nine years of institutionalized corruption in Northern England, is like a David Fincher crime saga without the benefit of David Fincher. It’s as grim, chilly, and obsessive as Zodiac, but without the same creative discipline. Stylistically it’s overcooked, and its plot is a convoluted soup of absurd conspiracies and secrets; at one point, there’s a Cosa Nostra-style confab to announce the dastardly building of a shopping mall, and the conspirators raise their glasses for a toast: “To the North, where we do what we want!” In 2007, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg made Hot Fuzz, an inspired parody of police-movie clichés. Red Riding is what they were making fun of.

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Philippe Petit, in 'Man on Wire'

Dir. James Marsh
(PG-13) ★ ★ ★ ½

It is rare that I am as quickly absorbed by a film as I was during the opening minutes of Man on Wire. Using interviews and black-and-white re-enactments, director James Marsh recounts the fateful morning in 1974 when Philippe Petit and his accomplices made their way to the World Trade Center, where he would walk between the towers along a high wire. According to the friends who helped him, part of the appeal for Petit was getting away with it, like in the caper films he watched to psych himself up. It is appropriate, then, that Marsh makes it come alive like Ocean’s Eleven; after all, the real satisfaction of a caper film comes not from the money but from the act of pulling it off.

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