Wednesday, 31 August 2016

THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE - Review By Greg Klymkiw - TIFF 2016 - Slicing and Dicing in the Morgue at TIFF's legendary Midnight Madness series and this Christmas in movie theatres from Raven Banner and IFC Midnight.

Father-son coroners discover that a little something
has been removed "non-surgically, crudely"
from the comely maw of Jane Doe.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) ****
Dir. André Øvredal
Scr. Ian Goldberg, Richard Naing
Starring: Brian Cox, Emile Hirsch, Ophelia Lovibond, Olwen Kelly

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Tommy Tilden (Brian Cox) and his son Austin (Emile Hirsch) deal in meat - dead meat, that is. Dad is a coroner and his son a skilled autopsy assistant. No corpse is too raw, decimated, burned and butchered for these men to slice and dice with skilled, stylish authority, often with a local FM radio station blaring rock n' roll amidst folksy chat and weather reports.

One especially dark night brings in the remains of a Jane Doe (Olwen Kelly), so named in the parlance of all matters dead as she has no identification, and weirdly, her body was discovered in the basement of a mysterious crime scene and even stranger still, appears unrelated to the grisly events within the home it's been extricated from.

The first order of business is an external examination. The beautiful young corpse has no outside signs of trauma, but closer inspection reveals internal shattering of the wrists and ankles, an uncommonly tiny waist (as if it had been corseted) and most alarmingly, within her pretty maw, the tongue has been sliced out - not surgically, but violently.

"I've seen something like this before," offers the wise, old Tommy. This is a line that comes out of his mouth like a veritable mantra. It's when he starts to say, "I've never seen anything like this before," that things get even creepier. (And believe me, the movie is plenty creepy from the get-go.)

Once the scalpels come out (and my favourite, the rib crackers), father and son discover a wealth of sickening items (yes, ITEMS!!!) and extremely distressing indignities within poor Jane Doe. When the radio keeps announcing an impending storm, flooding and power outages, there's plenty to add to the characters' (and audience's) increasingly queasy stomachs. When the radio begins to repeatedly blare out a cheesy song with the lyrics "open up your heart and let the sun shine in", we all know we're in for trouble.

Once the scalpels come out, father and son
discover a wealth of internal indignities.
When the movie forces us to go apoplectic is when we hear a bell tinkling. Tommy is an old school coroner, you see, and as such, affixes the big toe of each corpse with a bell (used in the "old days" in case a corpse is, well, not a corpse).

Now, just the thought of a movie starring Brian Cox (Manhunter, Adaptation) and Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild, Killer Joe) as father-son coroners is enough to tantalize the horror buds. That it's the first Engish-language film by the Norwegian Trollhunter director André Øvredal should send all horror aficionados into conniption fits of joy.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe is one of the creepiest, scariest horror films of the year. It does not disappoint. The screenplay by Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing is both original and intelligent, but not without a few familiar horror tropes and frissons to keep everyone on the edge of their seats. With the uber-talented Øvredal at the helm, brilliantly utilizing the astonishingly designed set to maximum impact, we are drawn into a gloriously terrifying and happ-happ-happily sickening cesspool of sheer terror.

Cox and Hirsch are great actors to be sure and acquit themselves beautifully, but the really amazing performance comes from Olwen Kelly as the corpse. Playing dead might be one of the hardest things actors have to do, but given that Jane Doe is a corpse that begins to take on the chilling properties of an entity infused with the spirit of life, or afterlife, Olwen's command of both her body and face throughout the entire proceedings is thespian artistry of the highest order.

There is much I could further reveal about this terrific picture, but frankly, audiences owe it to themselves to experience every clever, shocking turn of the plot amidst an atmosphere of mounting doom, all on their lonesome. Well, preferably not on their own. It's worth seeing with someone you love, or for that matter, just someone.



The Autopsy of Jane Doe plays in the Midnight Madness section of TIFF 2016. It will be released theatrically for Christmas via Raven Banner and IFC Midnight.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

AMERICAN HONEY - Review By Greg Klymkiw - TIFF 2016 - More Arnold Dogme-Style Dross

American Honey (2016)
Dir. Andrea Arnold
Starring: Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough

Review By Greg Klymkiw

If self-flagellation is your idea of a good time, then you might enjoy sitting through Andrea Arnold's meandering, 163-minute Dogme-style wallow through White Trash America. The rest of us might prefer a less pretentious way to blow precious moments of life on Earth, but there are plenty of pseuds out there who might get off on this. Like all of Arnold's personal work, American Honey is a dour, humourless slog. This time around, she manages to retch up a picture that's much longer than either Red Road and Fish Tank and worst of all, feels about twice its already-interminable length.

This latest Arnold schlepp through Von-Trier-Vinterberg-Cassavetes-Wannabe-Land focuses upon Star (Sasha Lane), a gorgeously grubby, dreadlocked, tattooed teen drifter on the run from a troubled childhood who finds herself caring for the kids of an abusive loser dad and a line-dancing miscreant mommy. When we first find our heroine, she and the kids are rummaging for food in a trash bin. Scoring a rancid chicken, they wander over to the local K-Mart parking lot to hitch a ride. It's here she encounters the slimily handsome Jake (Shia LaBeouf), a charismatic Pied Piper leading a group of unkempt young people as they cavort across the tarmac and into the fluorescent-light-flooded discount store.

Jake is a recruiter for his chief paramour Krystal (Riley Keough), a sexy tough-talking hustler who runs a crew of millennial magazine subscription salespeople. Star and Jake make an immediate connection and it doesn't take too long for our heroine to join the ragtag group of damaged kids in their trek across America. Sex, drugs and partying are the order of the night and by day, they wander a variety of burbs to sell their wares. Needless to say that when magazine sales are slow, there are plenty of opportunities to whore themselves out - something Star appears to be particularly adept at.

Tensions rise and fall, loyalties are challenged and by the end of the journey, Star frees a tortoise in a pond before taking a cleansing dip in it herself. This, I trust, is meant to mean something.

There's nothing especially wrong with a movie focusing upon aimless youth in a crazy, empty America and Arnold certainly serves up more than a few evocative images and elicits a clutch of fresh performances. Unfortunately, she lets scenes run on forever and we're all supposed to be enamoured with the improvisational yammering and activities - most of which is captured in glorious (not) shaky-cam.

One wants to give points to any filmmaker that takes us out of our comfort zone as viewers, but so much of what transpires feels egregiously willy-nilly and though the intent is to provide considerable food for thought, most everything that transpires is as wispy and forgettable as the empty lives of its characters.

The picture is finally forgettable, save for the boils on our butts from sitting though it in the first place. For an experiential picture to work its magic and veer beyond the ephemeral, it requires some formal control and a clear sense of what it really wants to be. Alas, the movie has very little idea of anything other than letting the camera roll interminably, resulting in the kind of psuedo-Neo-realist floundering that titillates critics, film festival programmers and all other hoity-toity granola bars who need to suffer in order to feel like what they're watching is art.

Suffering is one thing, but suffering through a wank is something else altogether. It's nice to feel like the wanking comes from a place of genuine skill, designed to generate the kind of orgasmic blast that allows its wanker and wank-watching audience to feel something. You see, no matter how deep the chasm of humanity we're plunged into is, it's no crime for the filmmaking itself to be joyous.


American Honey is TIFF 2016 Special Presentation.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Turgid Tedium Rules Romance

The Light Between Oceans (2016)
Dir. Derek Cianfrance
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander,
Rachel Weisz, Bryan Brown, Jack Thompson

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Early into this historical romance, the two lovers-to-be (Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander) go for an extra-long picnic, walking and talking ad nauseum through hilly, seemingly treeless and wide-open Aussie wilderness until, settling several hours later on a cliff overlooking a gorgeous sunset on the ocean, they kiss and profess their love for each other. As Alexandre Desplat's ludicrously lush score throbs over cinematographer Adam Arkapaw's dull picture-postcard images, all I could think about was when, where and for how long did our lovebirds relieve themselves of waste matter. Worse yet, I wondered about how the two deposited heavier loads with no apparent evidence of toilet paper.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the last thing one should be thinking about in any romance are bowel movements, but think about them, I did - long and hard. And as the film plodded along, I thought about my own need to relieve myself. Thank heaven for tender mercies.

The Light Between Oceans had plenty of potential to be a weepy in the 40s Warner Bros. tradition, but alas it suffers from a horrendously miscast leading lady and worse yet, plods along to a relatively safe denouement.

Fassbender and Vikander play a newly married couple living an Eden-like existence on a remote island - its only practical reason for being is to provide a lighthouse to guide ships from its rocky shores and towards the safe harbours about 100 miles away. We watch them boink like minks, but their attempts to generate progeny result in not one, but two - count 'em - still births. Vikander takes it especially badly. When a small boat washes ashore with a dead man and a living, breathing newborn baby, she petulantly, selfishly insists that Fassbender bury the evidence of the obviously real Daddy and keep the child for themselves.

For what seems like several hours of running time, we watch our couple raise the child as if it were their own. Alas, back on shore, there is the baby's real grieving mother. Rachel Weisz suffers quite magnificently in this role - so much so that occasional sojourns to the mainland by our baby-napping couple inspire Fassbender's guilt to overwhelm him.

Needless to say, things will probably not turn out too well. Unfortunately, instead of some really unbearable suffering, we're dealt the unkindest cut of all, a relatively happy ending tinged with bittersweetness. Some of the melodramatic elements in the movie do indeed work in a rudimentary sledgehammer fashion, but neither the screenplay nor the direction take brave enough steps into completely ludicrous tear-wrenching territory - it's all eventually so bloody tasteful.

Under the circumstances, Fassbender and Weisz acquit themselves nicely and it's great seeing Aussie stalwarts like Bryan Brown and Jack Thompson in top form, but the ubiquitous Alicia Vikander pretty much upends the whole picture. She seldom wipes the dimple-inducing smile from her face and even when she expresses sadness or desperation, there's more giddiness in her visage than anything remotely real or harrowing. In fact, her dimples become so bothersome, one wants to pave them over with cement. Most embarrassing are her line-readings which seem oddly anachronistic. Ultimately, Vikander galumphs her way through the proceedings with such misplaced intensity that the movie galumphs alongside her.


The Light Between Oceans opened the 2016 Venice Film Festival and is now in wide release via Disney.

Friday, 26 August 2016

I, OLGA HEPNAROVA ***** 5-Star Contemporary Masterpiece - Revised Fantasia 2016 Review By Greg Klymkiw at Electric Sheep Magazine

The astonishing young actress Michalina Olzanska delivers one of the great screen performances of the new millennium.
Dir. Petr Kazda, Tomas Weinreb
Starring: Michalina Olszanska

Review By Greg Klymkiw

A grim, superbly realized feature-length dramatic biography about the last person ever executed in Czechoslovakia. Writer-directors Petr Kazda and Tomas Weinreb have crafted a compulsive, moving and shocking film about mental illness as a genuine affliction. It can result in evil actions, but the perpetrators are, more often than not, sick in mind, body and soul. Healing and caring has escaped them. I, Olga Hepnarová speaks not just for one, but all of them.


Read the full review at Electric Sheep HERE.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Revised and Expanded review of SHE'S ALLERGIC TO CATS - Fantasia 2016 Review By Greg Klymkiw at Electric Sheep Magazine - Link to new review enclosed below

She's Allergic To Cats (2016)
Dir. Michael Reich
Starring: Mike Pinkney, Sophia Kinski

Review By Greg Klymkiw

An all-new expanded review at Electric Sheep Magazine of this endlessly dazzling, deliriously perverse and rapturously romantic comedy about a part time dog groomer who dreams of being a filmmaker by remaking Brian De Palma's Carrie with cats.

Read the full expanded review HERE.


She's Allergic To Cats enjoyed its World Premier at Fantasia 2016

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Greg Klymkiw and CFC Media Lab's Ana Serrano flap jaws on VR in Montreal - Virtual Reality at Fantasia 2016 - Includes Magic LINK to Interview by Greg Klymkiw at CFC website

Montreal = FANTASIA, MEAT & VR

CFC MEDIA LAB - VR @ Fantasia 2016

By Greg Klymkiw
With the assistance, sponsorship and programming expertise of the CFC Media Lab at Uncle Norman (In the Heat of the Night, Moonstruck) Jewison's Canadian Film Centre, the 2016 edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal hosted The Samsung Fantasia Virtual Reality Experience.

Several of the films in the series proved to be first-rate stand-alone pieces: Remember by Australia’s George Kacevski was a chilling experiential piece involving a woman’s conversation with a computer that is erasing all her memories; Anthony C. Ferrante, famed director of Sharknado 1, 2, 3 and 4 delivered the best of the VR pieces - Killer Deal, a grimly hilarious bloodbath set in a hotel room during a machete salesman convention; and Australia’s Nathan Anderson gave us the wholly immersive and interactive reinvention of the great genre of the 40s and 50s with the post-modern VR NOIR. The Samsung Fantasia Virtual Reality Experience also featured two terrific new productions from the CFC Media Lab: Body Mind Change Redux Teaser and The Closet (both produced by CFC Media Lab Topper Ana Serrano).

As cool as VR is, the technology to deliver the product to its viewers, still needs some modification. The Samsung headsets are comfortable enough, but they are not especially conducive to people who wear glasses, nor are they ideal for those (like me) who sweat like pigs. To the former, I chucked my eyeglasses and used the headset focus to bring the picture into view. This seemed to work fine, only I was seeing a strange mesh-like backdrop which I assume was there because I couldn’t focus to my ideal vision.

To the latter, I was often sweating under the headset and this caused fogging.

Needless to say, this was a tad annoying, especially when immersive interaction was required. The fogging issue is not the end of the world, though. I suggest Samsung build in a de-fogger/defrost system within the viewers. Gentle cold air pumping in would not only clear the screen, but provide a sensual experience for the viewer. This would also add a fetishistic element for those so inclined. After all, who doesn’t enjoy having their eyelids caressed by someone gently blowing upon them?

Ah, but this is mere technology and I suspect the bugs will be worked out (if they haven’t already been). VR is the future and then some. To say the experience was inspirational, wildly entertaining and at times, almost heart stopping, would be an understatement. Participation in the films was to participate on the ground floor of the future and I was mega excited to discuss VR in all its glory with Serrano.

My interview with her can be found on the CFC website HERE.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

It makes sense that the GREAT city of Montreal hosts the FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. Find the MAGIC LINK to Greg Klymkiw's Fantasia 2016 Reviews of KILLER DEAL, THE UNSEEN, KIDNAP CAPITAL and more at the CFC website.


The Joys of Montreal and Fantasia 2016

By Greg Klymkiw

Montreal is the perfect setting for Fantasia. Just down the street from the festival's de Maisonneuve headquarters at Concordia University, one will often stumble into the Irish Embassy, the fest's main post-screening hangout on Rue Bishop.

Eventually, when one is in search of late-night comestibles to soak up all the Celtic Brew, what, pray tell, do cinephiles encounter on Rue Metcalfe? Two blazing blood-red signs, which share the same towering, grey wall. 

One announces the availability of "Dunn's Famous Smoked Meat". 

The other, ever-so quaintly beckons with the simple word "Massage".

This is Montreal.

This is Fantasia.

THIS IS Genre Cinema which smacks you in the face with a two-by-four of brilliance, all manner of brew to consider said cinema over, peppercorn-and‐fatdrenched slabs of meat (for sobering thoughts) whence one discusses tres cinema guignol with Fest Co-Topper Mitch Davis and for dessert, the tender touch of a masseuse (who may or may not offer added, shall we say, services).

The Film Corner's Greg Klymkiw recently sallied forth across Cyberland Street to the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) website where he reviewed a whack of celluloid delights from this year's edition of FANTASIA.

Friday, 19 August 2016

WAR DOGS - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Lame Arms Dealer Shenanigans Lacks Focus

War Dogs (2016)
Dir. Todd Phillips
Scr. Phillips, Jason Smilovic, Stephen Chin
Starring: Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Ana de Armas, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Pollak

Review By Greg Klymkiw

War Dogs is about assholes. That the picture is based upon real-life assholes certainly takes it out of the usual territory of male mayhem director Todd (The Hangover) Phillips has specialized in to date. Alas, aside from a knockout performance from Jonah Hill and superb support courtesy of Bradley Cooper and Kevin Pollak, the picture never quite lives up to its potential to explore the savagery of international arms dealers.

From an article, then full length book ("Arms and the Dudes") by investigative reporter Guy Lawson, the screenplay cobbled together by Phillips and his co-scribes Jason Smilovic and Stephen Chin never takes flight into the territory of black humour and/or outright satire that might have been its saving grace, especially since it never really works as a straight-up drama, nor a comedy.

Charting the story of old school chums Efraim Diveroli (Hill) and David Packouz (Teller) who team up to secure government contracts to provide arms to the U.S. military, the film reduces most of their actions to cliches. Packouz is a loser facing the responsibilities of being a husband and father who is swept up by his flamboyant buddy into the legal, but morally dubious world of supplying implements of destruction. When the temptation of riches beyond their wildest dreams dangles before them, they acquiesce to illegal activities which will ultimately lead to their downfall. Though fact-based, we've seen stories like this before and a movie like War Dogs needed far more than the derivative bargain-basement Scorsese-like voiceovers and montages driving it.

The film required genuine savagery. Perhaps it even needed to go into Robert Altman-like M*A*S*H territory to make its protagonists even vaguely understandable. If anything, the film seems like bargain-basement Todd Phillips. A lame fact-based version of The Hangover films with arms dealers replacing the hapless clowns of the aforementioned comedy trilogy just isn't very compelling.

Jonah Hill, however, continues to dazzle and display his remarkable range and gifts as an actor. He attacks his role with ferocious, maniacal and nasty glee that injects considerable life into the otherwise blah proceedings. Bradley Cooper pops up as a slime ball arms dealer infused with an oddly friendly malevolence and Kevin Pollak lights the screen up with both humour and slime whenever the dry cleaning mogul he plays shows up.

The entire domestic subplot involving Packouz's wife (Ana de Armas) is a drag, sucking the life out of the proceedings and once the story takes genuinely dark turns, the movie continues to go through the motions, doing very little to shock or move us.

By the end of the film, we're left with a perfunctory wrap-up of the actual events, but never do we feel like we've waded in the utter hell of the world these two men crawled through. They're ultimately less than assholes, they're slugs and vipers and how we're supposed to feel about either of them is finally one big question mark. We don't have to "relate" to them or even empathize with them. It might have been nice if we could have even mildly revelled in their sheer scumbaggery, but the movie doesn't even afford us that one meagre pleasure.


War Dogs is in wide release via Warner Brothers.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

WHITE COFFIN - Fantasia 2016 Review By Greg Klymkiw at Electric Sheep Magazine

Argentinian Shocker with babes and blood.

White Coffin (2016)
Dir. Daniel de la Vega
Scr. Bogliano Brothers
Starring: Julieta Cardinali, Rafa Ferro,
Fiorela Duranda, Damián Dreizik, Veronica Intile

Review By Greg Klymkiw at Electric Sheep - a deviant view of cinema

Imagine a strangely perverse reworking of George Sluizer's classic 1988 shocker The Vanishing, wherein a smelly guy searching for his mysteriously missing girlfriend is substituted with a mega-hot babe searching for her sweet little girl amongst a sect of evil-infused torture-hounds. Add plenty of supernatural frissons, a wham-bam no-nonsense 70-minute running time and some to-die-for action and you get the rich cocktail of powerful 100-proof homebrew that is White Coffin.



White Coffin enjoyed its world premiere at Fantasia 2016.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

SUICIDE SQUAD - Review By Greg Klymkiw - David Ayer Delivers Pure Comic Book Joy

Suicide Squad (2016)
Dir. David Ayer
Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, Cara Delevingne,
Karen Fukuhara, Jay Hernandez, Jai Courtney, Joel Kinnaman,
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Adam Beach, Aidan Devine

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Oh, to be a kid again! What pure, unadulterated joy! And I have writer-director David Ayer to thank for this happy blast into my past. Having discovered both DC and Marvel in the 60s, their true golden age, my memories were tweaked by Ayer's snappy, colourful, darkly funny, occasionally nasty and wholly exuberant dive into everything that made comics so special for me.

Suicide Squad has cool heroes, even cooler villains, high stakes for the world of the film (and its characters) and most of all, it's infused with sacrifice, sentiment and a big heart. It's also gorgeously shot, snappily edited, overflowing with a great selection of immortal classic songs, an original score that pounds with power and replete with a juicy ensemble cast.


What's not to like? Or, for that matter, love?

We all remember that Superman died like a Jesus made of steel at the end of Zack Snyder's epic Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and this is the milieu greeting the American government at the beginning of Ayer's film. Sans Christ Kent's powerful alter-ego, the powers-that-be are quaking in their boots that alien hordes and super villains will wreak havoc upon the earth.

Tough military strategist babe Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) has an answer - collect the nastiest incarcerated super villains and offer them reduced prison sentences in exchange for fighting on the side of all that is good. The Pentagon balks, but eventually, even the most vocal balking General (Aidan Devine) has his mind changed with the advent of annihilation at the hands of an ancient witch.

It doesn't take long before we get a comic book remake of The Dirty Dozen - one that still manages to resonate with freshness and originality. The simple idea of villains/criminals being used to fight evil drives the picture and Ayer's wonkily wonderful script offers up a fun first third which provides lively origins for the various criminals who will make up the suicide squad of super heroes.

What a team!

Will Smith's Deadshot is a hit man with a conscience, Boomerang (Jai Courtney) is an Aussie psychopath handy with blades and the Down Under implement he's named after, Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) the mutant half-man, half crocodile has a mordant wit to match his massive appetite for humans and crocodiles, El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) turns into a human flame thrower when he gets riled up, Katana (Karen Fukuhara) is the lethal samurai with a sword which holds her late husband's spirit within it, the very cool SlipKnot (a great Adam Beach, but sadly underused) and last, but not least:

Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie).

Harley via Robbie's nutzoid performance comes close to stealing the show, but that honour is ultimately reserved for Jared Leto as the suave, giggling madman the Joker - Harley's lover and the man responsible for transforming her (via shock treatment no less) from a prison psychiatrist into a highly skilled and dangerous psychopath. Together, this loving couple of wackos rival Mickey and Mallory Knox, Sailor Ripley and Lula Fortune and, lest we forget, Bonnie and Clyde - all rolled into one.

Have I mentioned how to-the-heavens sexy she is? A deadly sexpot with a potty mouth who's handy with firearms and a baseball bat - she's as sex-drenched a film character as they come. The one rival in the ultra-sexy department is June Moone (Cara Delevingne), the honey-glazed archeologist babe who becomes possessed by the arch-villainess The Enchantress, an ages-old evil superpower bent upon the world's destruction. (Seeing The Enchantress writhe in front of her technicolor doomsday machine like some Paul Verhoeven-imagined pole dancer will inspire erections and/or love-juice-drenched putty-tats to rival those that Robbie inspires as Harley.) And no wonder the squad's team leader, the "mortal" ace soldier Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) is all hot and bothered. He's madly in love with June Moone, but sickened he'll have to kill her when she's in witch enchantress mode.

Given the insane number of characters the film must juggle, Ayer pulls off the impossible and creates individuals we like, love and care about. Damn, even The Joker is pretty goddamn loveable. (Oh, and bothering to compare Leto with the late Heath Ledger is a mug's game. They're both great and different enough that comparing the characters/performances is virtually in apples and oranges territory.)

The action scenes are skilfully staged - perhaps a few too many closeups and rapid-fire cuts for my taste - but there isn't a single shot less than perfect thanks to one of my favourite contemporary cinematographers Roman Vasyanov. He's obviously one of Ayer's favourites since this is the third film they've worked on together.

David Ayer is one of contemporary cinema's great treasures. He directed one of the new century's best crime pictures (Harsh Times), one of the best cop pictures since the 70s (End of Watch) and one of the best war pictures in decades (Fury). With Suicide Squad, he's made a superhero picture that's up there with the best of the best (all three Sam Raimi Spiderman pictures, plus Zack Snyder's Man of Steel and Batman v Superman).

Ayer's also a great screenwriter. Lest we forget he delivered scripts for Training Day, Dark Blue and The Fast and the Furious. His writing is tough, uncompromising and often gritty to the max. He's also got a terrific sense of humour which serves him well. Most of all, he's got considerable heart. There's a sequence towards the film's final bloody climax when the heroes assemble in a bar to assess their lives and situation. Reminiscent of the great moments in the Mexican whorehouse followed by the bloodbath in Peckinpah's western masterpiece The Wild Bunch, Ayer plumbs the humanity of criminality in the face of evil.

It's here where we realize that David Ayer is the real thing and so is his movie.


Suicide Squad is in wide release via Warner Brothers.