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Film reviews: In Darkness | Contraband| The Raven | The Devil Inside

  • by SIOBHAN SYNNOT
 

The rest of this week’s film reviews...

In Darkness (15) ****

A Polish sewage worker (Robert Wieckiewicz) strikes a bargain with a desperate group of Jews, agreeing to hide and feed them in the rat-infested drains underneath the Nazi-occupied city of Lvov in exchange for a weekly fee.

Agnieszka Holland’s dramatisation of real events in 1943 has common ground with other Holocaust stories, but its grimy authenticity is intense and gripping. Gradually the personalities in a large cast emerge, and especially effective is the evolution of an opportunistic anti-Semite into someone who strives to keep his dependants from being found and executed. A claustrophobic film that is dark in almost every sense, but the result is moving.

Glasgow Film Theatre from Friday; Dundee Contemporary Arts from 23 March

Contraband (15) **

Mark Wahlberg reluctantly returns to the crime world he swore he’d left behind in order to pull off one last job. Sound familiar? Of course it does, and not just because it’s a remake of the 2008 film Reykjavik-Rotterdam. At one point someone calls Wahlberg and his partner (Ben Foster) “the Lennon and McCartney of smuggling”, although they may just be referring to criminal records.

On general release from Friday

The Raven (15) **

John Cusack stars as Edgar Allan Poe in this re-imagining of the writer’s life in which he’s enlisted to help solve a series of murders based around his books. It’s shot in the mix-mastered style of the recent Sherlock Holmes TV series, but you’d still need to be pretty weak and weary to sit through this.

On general release

The Devil Inside (15) *

Another abysmal horror movie based around “found” documentary footage. Studded with clichéd Catholic iconography and rotten dialogue, this is what The Exorcist would look like if Madonna had been given another film to direct.

On general release from Friday

 

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