•   Event Reports - Thurs 13 Nov, 2014


    How do I frame Paddington? Do I talk anecdotally about my history with Michael Bond's much loved bear? Or do I jump in with ... read more

  •   In Conversation - Thurs 16 Oct, 2014


    Last week Director Susanne Bier and Screenwriter Christopher Kyle were in London to preview their latest film... read more

  •   Event Report - Thurs 11 Sep, 2014


    Earlier this week I was fortunate to go along with several Establishing Shot readers to a gala screening of... read more

  •   In Conversation - Weds 13 Aug, 2014


    The first thing that struck me when watching David Michôd's The Rover is the chilling bleak, edge of your seat ... read more

  •   EVENT REPORT - Thurs 17 April, 2014


    My 3 part report on the Bond in Motion launch event and walk through of the London Film museum Bond in Motion exhibition ... read more


I am blown away by Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES FILM REVIEW PART 1

Dawn of The Planet of The Apes ReviewAcouple of weeks ago I was extremely privileged to go along to a BAFTA screening of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes AND chat with Mr. Andy Serkis conducted by Empire's Don Jolin.

I say extremely privileged as the evening turned out to be one of my most memorable in a

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Ten years after a pandemic disease, apes who have survived it are drawn into battle with a group of human survivors.

Matt Reeves


Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Pierre Boulle

Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis

UK Release:
On Blu-ray, DVD on 24th November 2014

Rise of The Planet of The Apes Review Rise of The Planet of The Apes Review
The Establishing Shots Top Films of 2011 The Establishing Shots Top Films of 2011
The Secrets of WETA Presentation The Secrets of WETA Presentation
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Review Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Review

while. The event was held at the Ham Yard Hotel, this was my first visit to the Ham Yard and WOW! What a hotel. Belying its very central London location The Ham Yard makes incredible use of its enormous double volume space to create an experience - not just another London boutique hotel. Any future hotels being developed in London Central would do well to take a leaf out of the Ham Yard's concept book. Their screening room doing justice to both the crisp, beautiful cinematography as well as the rumbling sound and Michael Giacchino's score which gives the whole film a backbone on which to stand.

This was my first viewing of the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and I had been careful to stay away from anything that might be considered a spoiler as it was I had been looking forward to seeing it for ages, since Rupert Wyatt's absolutely marvellous Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I loved Rise of the Planet of the Apes it hit me right where it should and thankfully many others felt the same way as it won over the masses looking for blockbuster style fare, those looking for a film with substance and even the doubters wary of a another remake of Pierre Boulle's cautionary tale of a future society gone wrong.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Poster
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Poster (ZOOM)

Taschen announce The MARVEL MAGNUM OPUS - 75 Years of Marvel Comics. From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen Book - BOOK RELEASE

Taschen 75 Years of Marvel ComicsIf Taschen are not already your favourite publishing house they should be after this. Somewhere between form and substance lies perfection - and that must be what Taschen aim for when it comes to creating their tomes. Full of glossy high resolution pictures to keep your left side of your brain occupied whilst the right side absorbs the meaningful insight and passion they impart for their subject.

I am lucky enough to posses a couple of these Objet d'art (as they are) which are indispensable reference books particular their recent Film Noir. 100 All-Time Favorites which goes beyond the image on screen to enhance and inform your viewing experience. I dare not open my gorgeous edition of The Stanley Kubrick Archives as I get as much joy knowing that it sits on my bookshelf holding onto its secrets as I would pouring over it and sating my curiosity

Sadly this quality comes at a cost as Taschen's limited print runs, sell out all too quickly, blink and they are gone. I still have two posts in the cylinder about the absolutely astounding The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s '2oo1: A Space Odyssey' which sold out in days (fortunately there are some "pigment print" editions still available) and for the last couple of months I have been poring over Taschen's Film Noir. 100 All-Time Favorites for review only to discover that within weeks it too was sold out.


Unsurprising as Taschen's books are highly sought after collectors pieces beyond their academic value. To get a sense of books as art, pop in to Taschen's Philippe Starck designed Duke of York Square store, just off the Kings Road (right next to the new Saatchi Gallery) and head downstairs to their gallery space - it's like a museum of awesomeness and you can browse their oversize SUMO editions as well as view some of their hard to find prints.


So this morning when I noticed Taschen had announced the  release of an XXL format 75 Years of Marvel Comics book with Stan Lee's endorsement in an uncharacteristic flurry I thought I would get a post up about it asap.

Taschen 75 Years of Marvel Comics. Stan Lee
Taschen 75 Years of Marvel Comics. Stan Lee
A Hulk-sized tome spanning eight decades of the heroic rise of Marvel as it magically mutated from 1939’s four-color upstart to a 1960s pop-culture dynamo to current Hollywood heavy hitter. With essays by comics historian Roy Thomas and a huge fold-out timeline that chronicles the entire Marvel history.
75 Years of Marvel is a volume for and by the truest of ‘True Believers!’ ’Nuff Said.” —Stan Lee 

The Drop a Michaël R. Roskam Film – or welcome to Cousin Marv’s Bar where the fine tradition of watching the American dream die has been keeping a stool warm since the 50s – THE DROP FILM REVIEW

The Drop Film ReviewMichaël R. Roskam's The Drop is an excellent film but I can’t help but think it could have been a great film.

In the opening shots of The Drop we see shadowy figures walking in a night lit Brooklyn street, we pan down to a puddle of darkened water to watch their reflections head towards Marv’s Bar.

This Establishing Shot warns us of the dark underworld, where like a mirror reflection the things we see are reversed, this is the world we have just crossed over to along with with The Drop's Cousin Marv played by James Gandolfini and Bob Saginowski, played by Tom Hardy.

At a high level the eternal struggle between good and bad, light and dark has always made good viewing and is the raison d'être of Film Noir, and Neo Noir as it is now known but all too often we  do we get to delve into the grey psyche of what drives the characters beyond greed or the environmental factors that make them who they are and whilst The Drop doesn’t try give us all the answers it certainly paints a compelling and still surprising picture of this ambiguous dysfunctional world.

The Drop Tom Hardy as Bob Saginowski
The Drop Tom Hardy as Bob Saginowski (ZOOM)
This is a world that crime writer Dennis Lehane is a master of. As well as his considerable body of written work he is the mind behind films like Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River, Ben Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone and most recently Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island (rather watch William Peter Blatty’s Ninth Configuration).

The Drop Film Poster
The Drop Film Poster (ZOOM)

First Look: Paddington - Hugh Bonneville gives us a sneak peek at Paddington or you won't believe how this lost bear from Peru reacts when he meets this family with 8 year old kids. You can bearly imagine what happens next - Event Report

Cuban Fury NIck Frost IntroductionHow do I frame Paddington? Do I talk anecdotally about my history with Michael Bond's much loved bear? Or do I jump in with the James Bond like reboot (also starring Ben Whishaw) of the Peruvian Ursidae? Well bear with me here.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of going along to a sneak peek of Director Paul King's Paddington. That is Paul King - the same man who directed the incredibly imaginative Mighty Boosh TV series (& live tour) and 2009's Bunny and the Bull. I don't want to labour it - but The Mighty Boosh is one of the most ingenious shows we have had on TV in a good long time and some of the credit must go to Paul King's dynamic and clever direction making budget obstacles springboards for creativity.


Visit the London Paddington Bear TrailVisit the London Paddington Bear Trail
Bunny And The Bull & Paul King at MOVIE-CON 2Bunny And The Bull, Paul King & Simon Farnaby at MOVIE-CON 2
Top 12 Things to do at The Making of Harry Potter TourTop 12 Things to do at The Making of Harry Potter Tour
I have a particular soft spot for Paddington as like him I left my homeland to settle in the UK. Coming from a country that used to have a rather blunt approach to culture, more so to childhood culture - granted there were always a lot of other issues that were more pressing. I have always been fond of the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens and of course the Paddington Bear statue in Paddington Station - they represent Britishness for me as well as something beyond that. Someone took the time to create a monument to childhood dreams with (arguably) no immediate financial return (creator of Peter Pan, JM Barrie gave all the rights to Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street Hospital)  and Paddington Bear has a teamed up with the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) with the Paddington Bear Trail. This type of  goodwill was recently extended to Kings Cross Station where you can find Harry Potter's Platform 9.5 - they are touchstones for generations of children to enjoy - something I have always felt was the sign of a great nation.

Not only that, but Paddington's dress sense has always personified the travellers maxim for me - Be prepared. Besides which for a long time I commuted from Reading into London, Paddington Station to be exact and many a late night was spent waiting for the express train homewards with Paddington keeping me company

Paddington Bear outfit for The Paddington Bear Trail
Paddington Bear outfit for The Paddington Bear Trail


So I was understandably very keen to see what Paul King had done with Michael Bond's much loved Paddington and I eagerly made my way into Central London for a taste of Paddington hosted by Hugh Bonneville who took some time out of his schedule to introduce four clips from Paddington to us.

Paddington Film Poster
Paddington Film Poster

See London through fresh eyes and track Paddington Bear on the London #PaddingtonTrail till the end of December - UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS

Visit the Paddington Bear Trail London To celebrate the release of the new Paddington film on November 28 and London's cultural, historical and entertainment diversity as seen through the eyes of the world's most famous Peruvian explorer, Paddington Bear the makers of the film, Studiocanal have teamed up with the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) and visitlondon.com to create a "Paddington Trail" across London dotted with 50 hidden Paddington statues near iconic must visit landmarks as well as less well known points of intrest.

First Look: Hugh Bonneville introduces PaddingtonFirst Look: Hugh Bonneville introduces Paddington
Top 12 Things to do at The Making of Harry Potter TourTop 12 Things to do at The Making of Harry Potter Tour
Visit the entrance of The Ministry of MagicVisit the entrance of The Ministry of Magic from Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Film Location
Being one for getting out and health - the Paddington trail sounds like a brilliant day out cycling or walking. Each of the 50 Paddington statues are unique and designed by celebrities including; Emma WatsonBenedict Cumberbatch, Michael Sheen, Nicole Kidman, Michael Bond, David Beckham, Rankin, John Hurt, Bear Grylls, Guy Ritchie, Jonathan Ross, Sandra Bullock, Hugh Bonneville, Stephen Fry, Peter Capaldi, Liam Gallagher, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Ben WhishawNick MasonAndrew Lloyd Webber and Boris Johnson as well as many more.

To find out where the 50 unique Paddington statues are, a variety of maps and custom trails to suit you and more information about the Paddington Bear Trail head over to: http://www.visitlondon.com/paddington/the-bears and don't forget to tag your pics #PaddingtonTrail to win some Paddington treats.

The Paddington Trail is coming to London to celebrate the city's cultural, historical and entertainment diversity through the eyes of the world's most famous Peruvian explorer, Paddington Bear. From 4 November to 30 December 2014 you will have the chance to explore London like a bear, uncovering 50 hidden Paddington statues along the way.

Meet the bears of the paddington Trail Michael Sheen's Shakesbear, Michael Bond's Paddington, Frankie Bridge's Sparkles & Hannah Warren's Paddingtonscape
Meet the bears of the paddington Trail Michael Sheen's Shakesbear, Michael Bond's Paddington, Frankie Bridge's Sparkles & Hannah Warren's Paddingtonscape

Day for Night presents Nordic Film Festival 2014 Full programme announced! - London: 26 Nov – 7 Dec, Touring: Dec 2014 - FILM FESTIVAL #nordicfilm14

Nordic Film Festival 2014 Now in its third year the Nordic Film Festival - 2014 will also include a tour of cinemas outside the capital so new and existing fans of Nordic film can get to see some gems before they go on general UK release.

I can highly recommend Joachim Rønning's Kon-Tiki which I got to see a while and I can't wait to see Iram Haq's I am yours and the always tremendous Alicia Vikander in Hotel another collaboration with Lisa Langseth.

Day for Night presents Nordic Film Festival 2014
Nordic Film Festival returns to the UK for its 3rd edition showcasing a diverse mix of new and classic features, docs & shorts from the Nordic region including 3 UK premieres and 2 London premieres

Building on the overwhelming success of the first and second editions of Nordic Film Festival which launched in London in 2012, NFF returns to the capital this 26 November to 7 December before going on tour to venues across the UK in December 2014. NFF 2014 brings together a refreshing programme of features, docs & shorts from some of the most celebrated established and emerging filmmaking talent of the Nordic region.

The 3rd Nordic Film Festival will take place across four principle London venues before going on tour to Edinburgh Filmhouse, Glasgow Film Theatre and Broadway, Nottingham. NFF is thrilled to announce it will be continuing partnership with central London venue the ICA, and excited to welcome on board three new venues: Hackney Picturehouse, Arthouse Crouch End and canal-side events space The Proud Archivist in Haggerston.

An Evening With Noel Fielding Live Tour adds another London night and extends into 2015 all his tour dates - UPCOMING EVENTS

An Evening With Noel Fielding Live Tour I am a huge fan of The Mighty Boosh (“the funniest comedy double-act in Britain” - NME) and have been known to say quite loudly on occasion that it is the most creative and imaginative show that we have had on British TV for a long time. The talent behind it magicking a surreal and mind bending fantasy world akin to a holiday in Wonderland with the viewer in Alice's seat this time. It would seem that much surreality seen over the last couple of years has had a shot of Noel Fielding madcapness poured into it.

Whom can have watched the more recent series of Never Mind the Buzzcocks and not marvelled at Noel Fielding's presence of mind and cool delivery of hilarious observations? With that in mind Noel Fielding has taken his act on the road with his An Evening With Noel Fielding Tour and it was recently announced that Fielding's Autumn tour has been extended into Jan/Feb 2015 with an additional show at the O2 Academy Brixton this December 9.

Further below is a rather long winded  slightly detailed but much deserved Noel Fielding resume (that I presume only the most ardent fans will take the time to read) if so - rather just take note of the line below that I lifted from the text and book a ticket(s) for what is sure to be an evening of hilarious lunacy near you and watch the clips below to remind yourself of the genius of Noel Fielding.

You'd be a fool to miss out, come along, bring your Nan, fancy dress optional." - as said by the person who wrote this.
An Evening With Noel Fielding Live Tour

9 Days till The Greenhorn Short Film Festival 2014 - UPCOMING EVENTS

Greenhorn Short Film Festival 2014 London's pioneering festival for emerging film talent, Greenhorn Short Film Festival, returns in just 9 Days, taking place between 16th - 18th November to showcase and celebrate the creme-de-la-creme of newcomers to the world of film.

Returning for its fourth year Greenhorn Short Film Festival is bigger and better than ever before. Now being held over three days from 16-18 November Greenhorn has moved to the newly opened Arthouse Crouch End, a dynamic cross arts cinema venue. This year’s Festival sees a host of screenings, panel discussions, special live events, workshops and chances for filmmakers and audiences to mingle and meet.

Greenhorn is stimulating, original, healthily anarchic and sharp as a row of needles. In short, a breath of fresh air’ - Greenhorn’s Patron, writer and director Mike Leigh.
Greenhorn Short Film Festival
Greenhorn Short Film Festival

Short Sighted Cinema @ The Ritzy presents: DYSTOPIAN DISTURBIA 18th Nov - UPCOMING EVENTS

Short Sighted Cinema DYSTOPIAN DISTURBIA After a sell-out event at the Hackney Attic last month, Short Sighted Cinema are returning to their home at Upstairs at the Ritzy for an end-of-year showdown. On the 18th of November Short Sighted Cinema will present DYSTOPIAN DISTURBIA, a night of short film from the very vest emerging British filmmakers, mixed with beautifully dark animation, majestic music videos and spine-tingling drama. The evenings proceedings will include a screening of Gergely Wootsch's phenomenal music video for the SAVAGES - Marshal Dear.

Delve into the darkness and join Short Sighted Cinema for a night of stunning films that explore the shades and shadows of the human condition Followed on by drinks and an interrogation of the filmmakers.

Indie UK Sci-Fi Film Narcopolis Gets US Distribution & a new trailer - INDEPENDENT SPOTLIGHT

Narcopolis Gets  Distribution Deal TrailerI have been keeping an eye out for Narcopolis, the film formerly known as Dreck, and my anticipation for it has been steadily growing since I heard the premise of this plucky low key production - seemingly drawing inspiration from Blade Runner. My interest was piqued by the talent involved that includes Jonathan Pryce and James Callis. Subsequently the lead of Narcopolis, Elliot Cowan has blown me away in his powerful and engaging performance as the head of the Medici family in David S. Goyer's Da Vinci's Demons.

So I'm chuffed to see that Narcopolis has just cracked a distribution deal and one step closer to been seen on screen.

Narcopolis Teaser Poster
Narcopolis Teaser Poster

See - the Director's cut of Chan-wook Park's thought provoking short film A Rose Reborn for Ermenegildo Zegna starring Jack Huston & sound by Clint Mansell - SHORT FILM

Watch Chan-Wook Park A Rose Reborn I am a huge fan of Korean cinema and Chan-wook Park is a leading light - his films are beautifully shot (as is A Rose Reborn by Natasha Braier) and his sensibilities are always cinematic and surprising so when I received a heads up about his collaboration with menswear fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna I fired up the big screen, grabbed some popcorn and settled in to watch his A Rose Reborn. As a side note if you notice the different formats of his name later - Chan-wook Park vs Park Chan-wook - that is because in Korea the custom is to have family name first, followed by given name.

The just shy of 20 minutes short film follows the journey of Stephen (Jack Huston) "A brilliant young CEO from London [as he] contemplates the possibility of selling his invention to a mysterious Chinese billionaire. Before actually meeting his potential investor however our protagonist must face a number of challenges in the form of journeys, riddles and the exchange of clothes."

Told over 4 films, each taking place in a different location that are combined into Chan-wook Park's Director's cut further below.

Ep. 1 London - You're not wearing that
Ep. 2 Wyoming - I speak with the voice of Mr.Lu
Ep. 3 Shanghai - Unless I’m dead
Ep. 4 Milan - A Rose

As with many films in this genre, identity, tradition and brand are drawn together but Chan-wook Park brings some insightful and thought provoking philosophy and symbolism to the party as well.

A Rose Reborn is especially refreshing in a world where it seems to be increasingly more difficult to avoid being dragged down to the same level as little minds in their little worlds more concerned about the differences between us - rather than what brings us together as a species - With A Rose Reborn is "A master of contemporary cinema directs two of today's most exciting actors in a story of growth, multiculturalism and style, exclusively for Ermenegildo Zegna."

A Rose Reborn Poster Chan-wook Park
Chan-wook Park's A Rose Reborn for Ermenegildo Zegna Poster 

Watch Jon Favreau's elevating talk about filmmaking for the Stella Artois Connoisseurs Series

Watch Jon Favreau's Stella Artois Connoisseurs talkStella Artois have just announced that Jon Favreau has joined the Stella Artois Connoisseurs Series. You may remember that earlier this year Stella Artois collaborated with Favreau to host the UK premiere of his latest film Chef (as well as an evening of absolutely superb fun and delicious food) to UK audiences.

To celebrate the launch of Chef for home release on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download from the 3rd November Stella Artois and Jon Favreau have created a short film exploring Jon’s passion for his craft and inspiration behind his work, from his rituals to the techniques applied to each project which contribute towards his success.

This short film with the Hollywood director and actor is the latest instalment of The Stella Artois Connoisseurs Series – a collection of video portraits looking into the world of quality craftsmanship. Jon Favreau joins other talented Connoisseurs in this exclusive club like; Ben Wheatley, Wim Wenders (who recently directed the Simple Life Stella Artois Cidre advert), Shane MeadowsAllen Leech as well as renowned sports personalities Jamie Morrison and Henri Leconte.

Mr Timothy Spall talks Mr. Turner & tells us his favourite Mike Leigh films - In Conversation

Timothy SPall talks Mr. TurnerAcouple of weeks ago I was fortunate to pop along to the FDA UK Cinema Showcase day where I got to watch a number of excellent films including; Yann Demange's outstanding '71 a  gripping journey into the madness of war ,with its young lead Jack Jack O'Connell delivering on the promise of being one of Britain's most watchable performers.

Whilst not as immediately satisfying as say The Social Network I also enjoyed David Fincher's pitch black Hitchkokian satire Gone Girl and have been mulling it over since seeing it. But the highlight of the day for me was seeing Mike Leigh's absolutely astonishing and sublime Mr. Turner followed by an intimate QA session with the star of the film the treasure that is Mr Timothy Spall.


Susanne Bier & Christopher Kyle talk the noir darkness of Serena, Shakespeare, Madea, Strong women, love, obsession, human nature and clear up the rumours of Serena's production history - In Conversation

Susanne Bier & Christopher Kyle talk SerenaLast week Director Susanne Bier and Screenwriter Christopher Kyle were in London to preview their latest film Serena (as well as Bier's A Second Chance) to London Film Festival audiences and I was fortunate enough to be invited along to a roundtable chat with them - an opportunity I quickly snapped up and happily so, as it was a privilege to be in the company of such talented creators and as Serena has had as almost as much written about it as speculation on its history this only added to my eagerness to hear directly from the film-makers about the making of Serena.

I'm not going to sweeten it - I struggled a bit with Serena. There is no denying that it is very much its own film a throwback to dark noir and doesn't pander to any expectations that may arise from the casting of a Hollywood golden couple as its leads. But wait! Maybe I should rewind a bit - let me start earlier - possibly my feeling towards Serena has more to do with my only frame of reference for the works of Susanne Bier her 2006 Mads Mikkelsen starrer - After the Wedding (Efter brylluppet).

It is a remarkable and subtle piece of filmmaking wherein Bauer eschews technique to rely on her casts performances to tell an utterly compelling and original tale of; well optimism and hope - but even more surprising it that it is told in an unsentimental and realistic way. Something sadly lacking in modern film rosters. Even my wife who bears the brunt of my experimental cultish tastes was pleasantly surprised at how human and wonderful After the Wedding is.

Serena UK Quad Poster
Serena UK Quad Poster
This is possibly part of the reason as to why I struggled as much as I did with Serena as it heads in the other direction, completely the other direction, so much so it took me by surprise. Possibly I'm a little more forgiving than some as Serena is dark and as close to the real spirit of Film Noir that we have seen on screen in a long time. And I have a strong affinity with the genre. Possibly my feelings about Serena have much to do with the fact that I have been waiting for it – ever since I heard Darren Aronofsky was helming it, creating certain expectations. But then Susanne Bier sat down in the Directors seat and all that changed and I was very interested to see what she made of it. Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper coming on board in roles playing against type made Serena one of my most anticipated film of the year and this year.

Arrow Video Club presents Night of the Comet & QA with Catherine Mary Stewart at The PCC London 16 Oct. - UPCOMING CULT SCREENING

Night of the Comet & QA with Catherine Mary Stewart at The PCC LondonTo celebrate the recent home release of Night of the Comet on Blu-ray and DVD Arrow Video Club are holding a special screening of Night of the Comet at the Prince Charles Cinema this Thursday 16 October AND QA session with the star of the film (and many teenage's favourite crush) Catherine Mary Stewart !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Arrow Video is excited to announce the UK Blu-ray and DVD release of Night of the Comet, the 80s cult-classic which since its initial release in 1984, has gone on to amass a legion of loyal fans with its hugely entertaining riff on the apocalyptic sub-genre of movies, paying homage to such classics as The Omega Man and The Last Man on Earth. In fact this might be the most purely entertaining depiction of the aftermath of a catastrophic event, not just in movie history but possibly... well, ever."

Night of the Comet Catherine Mary Stewart Prince Charles Cinema 16 Oct.
Arrow Video Club presents Night of the Comet  & QA with Catherine Mary Stewart at the Prince Charles Cinema Thursday 16 Oct.

Hammertime! Entertainment One secures first-look film production & distribution deal with hammer

Hammer Films Entertainment One DealIn the run up to the much anticipated release of (the currently in post production) The Woman in Black: Angel of Death which continues the story of  The Woman in Black story forty years on. Entertainment One and Hammer have announced it's HAMMERTIME! with a deal that will see Hammer's films getting a production boost and wider distribution.

Anton Corbijn introduces A Most Wanted Man and discusses why it was an important film for him - Event Report

Anton Corbijn introduces A Most Wanted ManE arlier this week I was fortunate to go along with several Establishing Shot readers to a gala screening of Anton Corbijn's latest (and third) film, an adaptation of John le Carré's 21st novel A Most Wanted Man. At a certain point in the film I was unexpectedly shocked - it felt like the cinematic version of a cold slap or a punch in the gut. This would not have been possible had Corbijn not carefully and meticulously seduced me into the world of his lead character Günther Bachmann, masterfully played by Philip Seymour Hoffman.

A Most Wanted Man puts a human face to politicking in our post 9/11 world a world that has sadly become closer to the vision that the engineers and perpetrators of heinous terrorism would like, a world in which decency slowly ebbs away as it becomes more polarised with punitive cookie cutter solutions being attempted to address dynamic and nebulous issues.


If you read the Establishing Shot you will no doubt be aware that I am a fan of master of the spy genre John le Carré's works and that I have been eagerly awaiting Anton Corbijn's version of  A Most Wanted Man.

So going along to the screening and introduction by Anton Corbijn was a real treat, as was briefly chatting with one of the stars of A Most Wanted Man - Daniel Brühl whose performance as Niki Lauda in Ron Howard's Rush absolutely blew me away and is up there in one of the most outstanding and electric performances in recent years and made Rush one of my top 10 films of last year.


A Most Wanted Man Poster
A Most Wanted Man UK Poster

A Most Wanted Man

A Chechen Muslim illegally immigrates to Hamburg, where he gets caught in the international war on terror.

Anton Corbijn


Andrew Bovell & John le Carré

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Daniel Brühl, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright

The American ReviewThe American Review
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Premiere ReportTinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Premiere Report & Review
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Premiere InterviewsTinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Premiere Interviews
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy ReviewTinker Tailor Soldier Spy Review
But A Most Wanted Man is very much Philip Seymour Hoffman's film as he breathes life into the complex character of Günther Bachmann the sharp, slightly broken, cynical but ever hopeful head of a non existent anti terrorist organisation based in Hamburg. A city that the 9/11 attacks were planned in and hawkishly makes sure that it never happens again.

But as this is a John le Carré tale, a man who worked for several years in the British Intelligence service and is loosely based on actual events - nothing is straightforward or black and white - even our heroes employ questionable tactics to get the job done as the net from internal governmental competition, politics and larger external forces draws tighter on them.

This is the world in which Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin) along with the audience are dragged into as the young Muslim, a suspected Chechen terrorist climbs out of the Elbe river and into the Hamburg shadow world.

I believe to truly appreciate A Most Wanted Man you have to go in knowing nothing, unless you have read the book in which case you know what to expect, and even then Corbijn's approach needs much thought or at least a second viewing to catch up with events portrayed – as A Most Wanted Man shares much with Tomas Alfredson's earlier adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and eschews the Hollywood mainstream emotional touchstone tropes of sex, violence, nudity, expository flashbacks and the obligatory romance to lure us into the story.

A Most Wanted Man is a pot boiler as Günther Bachmann's detective work slowly reveals each piece of the puzzle and builds to its conclusion.

And whilst some of the dialogue may seem a bit stilted and reactions arbitrary, when contrasted with the clever or witty Don Draper like intelligence we have come to expect from our self referential culture – the characters in A Most Wanted Man are more like authentic people caught in a fraught filled world where there is a constant threat of sorts at their heels and they think and react more like real people without some grand master plan that is going to save the day (apart from Günther Bachmann that is) and are in genuine fear of consequences.

Anyway that is a long way around of saying don't read the synopsis below or even watch the trailer just go see the film and let the the story roll out for you.

Below is a clip of Anton Corbijn introducing A Most Wanted Man and explaining why this film was important for him on the evening.


Hamburg, the present day. The city - where the 9/11 bombers lived and plotted - remains on high alert. When a brutally tortured immigrant, identified by Interpol as a possible terror suspect, turns up and lays claim to his father's ill-gotten fortune, he attracts the interest of a secretive anti-terror unit headed by Gunter Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Working with the CIA and forming an uneasy alliance with spy Martha Sullivan (Robin Wright), Bachmann must uncover the truth about the man's identity and his possible connections to high level terrorists. As the clock ticks down and the stakes rise, the race is on to establish this most wanted man's true motives – is he an oppressed victim or a militant jihadist bent on destruction? Based on the novel by the master of the spy genre, John le Carré, A Most Wanted Man is a gripping espionage thriller that prickles with tension right through to its last heart-stopping scene.

There are further similarities to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as the central character Gunter Bachmann is pivotal to the narrative, as is the charismatic performance needed to bring him to life in this world and Philip Seymour Hoffman is absolutely mesmerising in the role. So much so that I wondered what the characters life was like when not on screen, thankfully we see glimpses of this life as well.  Bachmann rivals George Smiley's esoteric knowledge and sparkles with intelligence but has one up on him as he lives in our post modern world - I can only marvel at the possibilities of how Philip Seymour Hoffman would have brought him to screen in further tales - that in my opinion are very much needed.

As with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy the cast is made of a formidable talent in smaller roles most notably Robin Wright and Willem Dafoe. Sadly I feel that whilst Robin Wright shines in her role as US diplomat Martha Sullivan, Dafoe isn't given enough to set his banker Tommy Brue, a critical role, apart with his customary aplomb. Possibly I was hoping for so much more as Dafoe crackles with an energy that needs more space and could have fleshed out Brue into one of, if not the most interesting character of the film.

A Most Wanted Man is a film about issues, ideologies and personalities in a post 9/11 world and should at the very least make us think about the world we live in, if not spark debate on where we are going as a people.

The Establishing Shot: A MOST WANTED MAN UK TRAILER - 12 SEP 2013

The A Most Wanted Man cast is led by Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master, Capote), Rachel McAdams (Sherlock Holmes, Midnight In Paris), Willem Dafoe (Shadow of the Vampire, Platoon) and Robin Wright (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Moneyball).

A Most Wanted Man is in UK cinemas from 12 September 2014.

For more information about A Most Wanted Man head over to their Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/MostWantedManUK or Twitter here: @MostWantedManUK information about John le  novel can be found on his site here!

Slideshow: A Most Wanted Man


Wanna fight?
Craig is a retired superhero, an obsessive hobbyist, comics fan, gadget lover, flâneur & epicurean who knows an unhealthy amount about Ian Fleming's James Bond.

When not watching or making films he takes pictures, eats, drinks, dives, tries to connect to nature whilst mentally storyboarding the greatest film ever made. He also sometimes utilises owl-themed gadgets to fight crime. 

A list of his 132 favourite films can be found hereIf you would still like to contact Craig please use any of the buttons below: 

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