Neil Fox on film: Fast Girls, Red Lights, The Apartment

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Fast Girls

I wonder if Lord Coe and his Olympic police will come down on this film like a ton of bricks, as they have with tea ladies and cushion makers seeking to get in the London 2012 spirit.

I hope so, because this film is all that is bad about the Olympics. With the wondrous spectacle of sport that is imminent comes people making dross and slapping the association of five rings on it and hoping no one will notice the lack of care, soul, imagination and passion within.

What could have been a timely, engaging film is a mess of cliché and derivative nonsense that feels utterly familiar and tiresome.

It’s the story of two prodigious young female athletes from opposite sides of the social spectrum who must come together to overcome their differences for the good of the nation and the gold of the games.

The usual array of British faces make an appearance and it all feels old, and obvious, and sad. The Olympics should be a celebration of all that makes Britain great, not further proof of our proclivity for mediocrity.

Red Lights

The director of the claustrophobic and contained thriller Buried stretches his legs with this thriller about psychics.

Two paranormal investigators are out to unmask a charismatic, renowned psychic who has been missing for a number of years following the death of one of his critics.

The film isn’t straightforward though and the plot twists and turns, spinning surprises constantly.

The good work of the cast and atmosphere however, is undone because of this, and it all gets a bit messy and underwhelming. The freedom afforded, as opposed to the restrictions of Buried, prove too tempting for director Rodrigo Cortes and what starts strongly, ends contrived and leaden.

The Apartment

A glorious restoration of one of the greatest films of all time, and one of my personal favourites. Billy Wilder’s bittersweet corporate romance is a highpoint of screenwriting, direction and performance.

Jack Lemmon is C.C Baxter a wide eyed young wannabe executive who discovers a good way to climb the corporate ladder is to lease his apartment to senior colleagues looking for afternoons, evenings or mornings with their mistresses.

All is going to plan until he becomes involved with Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) and love and ethics get in the way. The film is a delightful moral fable, packed with laughs and romance. Lemmon and MacLaine’s chemistry is electric and around them the film looks incredible, is deftly written with memorable lines, scenes and moments.

It’s endlessly watchable and deceptively cinematic. Seeing it on the big screen again, looking so good, with an audience, is sure to be a wonderful antidote to the horrid weather of our current early summer. Seek it out.