58th BFI London Film Festival: Half-Time Report

We’ve reached the half-way mark at this year’s festival, and so it’s usually customary at this point to give you a rundown of what we’ve seen over the past few days and what you should be looking out for in cinemas over the coming months. For whatever reason, though, we haven’t seen many movies thus far that have blown our minds, and so, instead of giving you a review of a mixed bag, we’re going to keep it concise and simply give you our top three films of the first half.

THE DROP

The Drop centres on bartender Bob (Tom Hardy) and his cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), who run a ‘drop’ bar in Brooklyn that is owned by a Chechen mob. A bar by day and a money-laundering hive by night, the two gentlemen work to keep business afloat. When Cousin Marv’s bar is comprised, however, by a couple of masked gunmen, Marv and a very silence Bob go on very different journeys to protect themselves from their mob boss, and a man who’s angry about a dog.

Gandolfini, acting here in his final role before his untimely death, puts in a great performance in a movie full of great turns. The Drop boasts a simple story, but its cast – most notably Tom Hardy – makes the movie unmissable.

WILD

Based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Reese Witherspoon’s new movie is exactly that. Playing Strayed, in a movie adapted by Nick Hornby and directed by Dallas Buyers Club helmer Jean-Marc Vallée, Witherspoon shines, once again, hiking along an American trail with what starts off with a very heavy load, but ends up being a journey of loss, resilience and self-discovery.

NATIONAL GALLERY

One for the art lovers (i’m not sure if any type of lover would sit through a 3-hour movie about the National Gallery), this movie takes you behind the scenes of one of Britain’s biggest institutions. If you’ve ever wanted to be a fly on the wall here, or see a slice of London through the guided lens of Frederick Wiseman, look no further than this, his latest oeuvre.

That’s it’s for now, folks. Check back next week for our full festival roundup.

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