Tag Archives: Rooney Mara

Una (Benedict Andrews, 2016)

A film adaptation of David Harrower’s play Blackbird has been in development for much of the decade plus since its premiere in 2005, but never quite got off the ground for various reasons. One of those may well concern the transition of a two-hander play, confined to one setting, into something more obviously ‘cinematic’. This is something Benedict Andrews, a Blackbird veteran of the stage, opens up considerably for Una, his directorial debut. There are new events, new locations, flashbacks, and new supporting characters…

Full review for VODzilla.co

Benedict Andrews on Rooney Mara’s powerful drama ‘Una’

“In retrospect, I understand what a motherfucker of a thing it is to get made.” We’re speaking to Adelaide-born, Reykjavik-based Benedict Andrews, who’s currently in London directing Sienna Miller and Jack O’Connell in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on the West End stage. The aforementioned “motherfucker” we’re here to discuss, though, is his filmmaking debut, Una, an adaptation of Scottish playwright David Harrower’s Blackbird, starring Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn…

Full interview for The Skinny

A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)

Following his breakthrough feature in 2013, the (sorta) neo-Western Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, director David Lowery took an unexpected career turn in helming a – very good – remake of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon last year. His next move after that is somehow even stranger. A Ghost Story confirms him as one of the trickier rising star American filmmakers to get a definitive hold on: bar recurring collaborators, one may struggle to find much in common with the filmmaking of A Ghost StoryAin’t Them Bodies Saints and Pete’s Dragon.

A Ghost Story is definitely an actual ghost story (no misleading title here), but, while it’s haunting, it’s certainly not a horror film. Instead, as its rather perfect poster tagline posits, it’s all about time…

Full review for The Skinny

The Secret Scripture (Jim Sheridan, 2016)

The most striking moment in Jim Sheridan’s The Secret Scripture occurs in the very first scene, as a soft Irish voice repeatedly states, “My name is Rose McNulty. I did not kill my child.”

Older and younger incarnations of Rose are played by Vanessa Redgrave and Rooney Mara respectively. The former dictates an account of her misfortunes to a psychologist, Dr Grene (Eric Bana), as documented in the graffitied bible she’s kept hidden during her plus 40-year stay in a psychiatric hospital. She’s been there since the waning days of World War Two, admitted under accusations of both infanticide and nymphomania. Convinced the son she had snatched away from her is still alive, the older Rose argues her case…

Full review for Little White Lies

The Discovery (Charlie McDowell, 2017)

Off the back of his generally well-received feature debut, 2014’s The One I Love, writer-director Charlie McDowell obtained full support from Netflix for his follow-up film. The Discovery (co-written with Justin Lader) is similarly concerned with sci-fi flirtations for a high-concept premise, although the tonal register is much less preppy than The One I Love, which was infused with a comedic streak alongside its darker explorations. The Discovery is dour for almost all of its running time, and the disappointing thing to, er, discover by its end is that it’s not really worth trudging through…

Full review for VODzilla.co

Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)

After an opening credits sequence in which we follow a male individual through the streets of 1950s New York and into an indoors encounter with a female acquaintance, director Todd Haynes drops a fairly explicit reference to another film in the beginning of his new movie, Carol, an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt. The film he references is David Lean’s 1945 effort Brief Encounter, oft-considered one of the great works about the intertwining of romance and repression. The reference comes through this male individual’s unfortunate interruption of a meeting between that female acquaintance, Therese (Rooney Mara), and the woman she has been listening to with such intent, Carol (Cate Blanchett). The male’s unbeknownst disturbance upon a most important meeting sees Carol make an early departure, touching the seated Therese on the shoulder as she leaves the public venue, just as Trevor Howard does to Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter.

Like in Lean’s film, there is a sense that this may be the last time the pair meets, and that their precious time together has been cruelly cut short by a frivolous link to their lives outside of each other (the male acquaintance is a friend of Therese’s male beau). In what’s also a similar structural conceit to Brief Encounter, this scene will repeat itself towards the end of Carol, as what’s in between fills in the blanks, revealing what this relationship is all about. It’s a bold move to so overtly bring to mind another major romantic work at the very beginning of your own, but it’s a gambit that doesn’t see Haynes’ efforts flounder. As premature as it might be to say in a review for an initial theatrical run, Carol more than earns the right of comparison to Brief Encounter in terms of quality. Frankly, it’s one of the new great romantic films…

Full review for Vague Visages