CE Films - Part 10 - 2001 A



2 Aug 2001
Film | Dir. & wr. Alejandro AmenĂ¡bar
Role: Charles Stewart (soldier).

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Alex: "This is a film about a woman and her two children who live in an isolated house on the island. Strange events take place, and the family starts believing they might not be alone."

Chiclit: "Chris appears about two thirds of the way through the film as Nicole Kidman's husband (a soldier returning from the war). I like this one, because it's a very quiet, gentle, less physical, subdued role – something very different for Chris, both in terms of the acting and genre."

A: "Tiny, borderline encapsulated appearance, soft and muted it's almost unbearable. It comes just before the culmination in the film, providing additional information – not really answers, just ideas, some misguiding, some – shoving you in the proper direction. The words he says in the fog might be one of the strongest one-liners in the psychological horror films. Despite the briefness, this is a fully-fledged, impossible to forget character."

Conclusion: An outstanding cameo role. 'The Others' is one of the films that I'd recommend to watch – even if you strongly doubt it's your bowl of tea – just to experience the scenes with CE.

DVD Notes:
'A Miramax films release' Region 2 (2-disc). English & English HOH subtitles. Extras bonus disc: 'A Look Inside The Others'; Visual EFX piece; Info on Xeroderma Pigmentosum; Feature on director A. Amenabar; Still gallery; Theatrical trailer.

23 Aug 2001 (Edinburgh Film Festival)
TV film | Dir. Danny Boyle | Wr. Jim Cartwright
Role: Strayman (poet).

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Chiclit: "'Strumpet' is another Danny Boyle film – and I am noticing that Boyle appears to be drawn to scripts that tell the story of misfits in a difficult situation forming 'family' units. In 'Strumpet', Chris plays a nearly feral, possibly mentally disordered man, squatting in a run-down flat who takes in strays. Mostly dogs, but then he takes in a young woman.

"Chris's choices in this film are interesting: Normal societal type reactions are stripped bare, and he growls and bares his teeth like his dogs, has trouble communicating in normal fashion, although his song lyrics, usually written only on walls, are stunning and political, and he can express a free, unselfconscious child-like delight in music. I especially enjoyed his dancing on the dirt pile while Strumpet sang – his body language while dancing was free and loose and enthusiastic – also he sings with all his heart. Moreover, he does the famous recitation of 'Evidently Chickentown', not for the faint of heart or those who do not like the f word."

Alex: "This poetry attack in the very beginning of the film immediately captured me when I first saw it. Delivered with emotion, but without descending into simple shouting, plus the surroundings – provides the whole context in a nutshell. Despite quite simple formula, this is a film that respects its viewers and their ability to think.

"Because of defunct social relations, Strayman is child-like in his understanding of hospitality, friendship and loyalty; adult in his anarchistic attitude and relationship with his surroundings, based on function and not artificial value; degenerate with his mind stripped, existing here and now; very intelligent, a body that has become a word, a word that has become 'razor blades in the air'. Strayman and Strumpet – ill-housed and ill-advised – will show you the side of the world that you'd prefer only to skim over – and yet the grime isn't oppressing."

C: "The film struck me as a comment on both society and the state of the music business and ends on a very upbeat note – despite some difficult messages about those who are barely making it in society, it's a fun movie. Part of that is the script and part of that is down to Chris making a character who initially appears slightly inaccessible to the audience, sympathetic – warm and real. And honestly the song Strumpet and Strayman sing 'Get Out' threatens to become a bit of earworm – a song you cannot get out of your head."

A: "And although the end of the film is bright, it's not saccharine happy. I can easily imagine a card saying: 'And they lived in squalor ever after.' A must see, not least because it's rather similar to its main character, and there's unassuming honesty with a bit of old-world fantasy feel, unmistakeably a Boyle film."

Conclusion: Recommended, absolutely.

DVD Notes:
2006 "2 entertain" Region 2. English HOH subtitles. No extras.