Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Cinema Category

Cartel Land

  • September 06, 2015
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I’m not sure if would recommend Matthew Heinemann’s dark and disturbing documentary Cartel Land, which I saw last night, because one thing you can say is that is not a pleasant or life-affirming evening at the movies.  But for those who believe that cinema should do more than entertain you or send you home with a warm glowing feeling, this is an unmissable and terrifying journey into the nightmare of violence and corruption that Mexico has become as a result of the cartels that feed America’s insatiable drug habit.

The film is on one...

Two Days, One Night

Two Days, One Night

  • June 03, 2015
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I’ve just seen the Dardenne brothers’ brilliant Two Days, One Night (2014)   It’s a film I’ve been looking forward to seeing for a long time, and it didn’t disappoint.     The premise is deceptively simple: Sandra Byas, played by Marion Cotillard,   is a worker in a Belgian solar panel factory who has...

Killing the Messenger

  • March 29, 2015
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I first came across the name Gary Webb some years ago, when I was researching a section about the Reagan administration’s first ‘war on terror’ in the 1980s for my book on terrorism.     Webb was a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, who stumbled on a story that the CIA-supported Contras were...

Kevin MacDonald’s Black Sea

Kevin MacDonald’s Black Sea

  • January 04, 2015
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Submarine films are always tense experiences, whether they consist of the black & white war films that I watched as a kid, Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or the   claustrophobic U-boat epic Das Boot.   Tension, anxiety and claustrophobia are intrinsic to the cinematic world of submarines, whose components are broadly similar...

Leviathan

  • November 17, 2014
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I’ve just seen Andrey Zvyagintsev’s extraordinary film Leviathan.   The movie got the best screenplay award at Cannes and has received ecstatic plaudits all round, and in my opinion it deserves them all.   It’s a bleak, troubling, and haunting piece of work, one of those rare films that lingers in the mind long after...

Through a Glass Bleakly: Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars

  • September 28, 2014
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I don’t watch many David Cronenberg movies.   This isn’t because I don’t think he’s good.   On the contrary,   it’s been obvious for many years that he is a   brilliant director with one of the most original and disturbing imaginations in world cinema.   It’s just that I don’t really do much...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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