The films to look out for at London Film Festival
Cinema lovers rejoice: the start of autumn means the start of awards season countdown – and that means some seriously good films will soon start gracing our screens. Kicking it off on home turf is London Film Festival from 2-13 October, with over 300 movies, documentaries and shorts from around 50 countries on its packed schedule. Whether you can make it down to the BFI Southbank to watch one in situ, or you’ll catch up later in your local cinema, here’s the best films making an appearance at this year’s festival.
The one with the best cast – Knives Out
You’d be forgiven for thinking Knives Out originated from the pen of Agatha Christie. In the great tradition of golden age crime fiction, the film features an old English country house, an eclectic cast of characters, and one slightly eccentric detective. But don’t expect Miss Marple or Poirot to make an appearance here. The film actually comes courtesy of Rhian Johnson, the writer-director behind sci-fi behemoths Looper and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. So far, so unqualified, you might think. But Knives Out injects the long tradition of detective films with fresh energy and humour, and has a cast that features no less than Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Colette and Christopher Plummer. Think Christie with a dash of Hollywood pizzazz.
Where can I watch it? There are limited tickets left to the LFF screening on 11 October. Apart from that, it’ll be released nationwide on 29 November.
The one with the most expensive technology – The Irishman
Sure, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro have created a few classics in their time, but they’ve really pulled it out of the bag with this, their ninth collaboration. The Irishman sees them return to the genre they’re most comfortable in – the gangster thriller – and grind it up yet another notch. At three and a half hours it’s a whopper of a film, spanning the life of Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran (De Niro) from his twenties to his eighties, as jobs from his past catch up with him. For this, Scorsese has used a cutting edge, self-titled ‘youthification’ process that allows the actor to play the same character at every age – something that fans of young, Taxi Driver-era De Niro will be delighted by. Oh, and it cost a mere $159 million, making The Irishman one of the most expensive films ever made.
When can I watch it? The Irishman premieres on the closing night of LFF, and if you didn’t get tickets to the (now sold out) screenings it will also be streamed live to cinemas across the UK. It’ll also be available to stream on Netflix from 27 November.
The one that walks the good taste-bad taste line – Jojo Rabbit
Imagine if Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom met the Hitler Youth, and you’d get something akin to Jojo Rabbit. The latest film from Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Thor: Ragnarok), Jojo Rabbit is a black comedy that follows a young boy (Roman Griffin Davis) in Nazi Germany, who is a dedicated member of the Hitler Youth and has the Führer as his imaginary friend. However, when he discovers his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic, his convictions are tested. As well as a sharp satire on the Nazis, it’s also an incisive take on what fanaticism looks like – and how people get sucked in.
When can I watch it? It’s released in cinemas around the UK on 3 January 2020.
The one that’ll hit the headlines – The Report
In this age of whistleblowing and corruption scandals, The Report is almost too prescient. The film is written and directed by Scott Z Burns, and is based on the story of Daniel J Jones (Adam Driver) and the Senate Intelligence Committee as they investigate the CIA’s use of torture following the September 11 attacks. A hard-hitting docudrama, it builds on 1970s political thrillers to form a film that packs a real punch – and has the potential to make certain individuals in large white houses squirm even more than they already are.
Where can I watch it? You can still buy tickets to the two screenings at LFF on 5 and 6 October. It will be released in UK cinemas on 15 November, and on Amazon Prime on 29 November.
The one we’ve been waiting for – Le Mans ‘66
Fans of motor racing have been waiting for this film for a long time. Originally starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, it was redrafted and Academy Award-winners Matt Damon and Christian Bale were eventually brought on board instead. They play car designer Carroll Shelby (Damon) and driver Ken Miles (Bale), who were hired by Ford to build a car fast enough to beat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966. An old-school Hollywood blockbuster in the age of action movies, it’s a vehicle for Damon and Bale to dust off their extensive acting nous – and show everyone how it’s done.
Where can I watch it? There are still tickets available to LFF on 12 October for Amex card holders, or it’s released nationwide on 15 November.