Capital Celluloid - Day 204: Monday July 25

Paths of Glory (Kubrick, 1957) & The Thin Red Line (Malick, 1998): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.40pm

Terrific war film double-bill at the Prince Charles in Soho tonight.

Paths of Glory: Chicago Reader review:

'The 1957 film that established Stanley Kubrick's reputation, adapted by Kubrick, Calder Willingham, and Jim Thompson from Humphrey Cobb's novel about French soldiers being tried for cowardice during World War I. Corrosively antiwar in its treatment of the corruption and incompetence of military commanders, it's far from pacifist in spirit, and Kirk Douglas's strong and angry performance as the officer defending the unjustly charged soldiers perfectly contains this contradiction. The remaining cast is equally resourceful and interesting: Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Wayne Morris, Ralph Meeker, and the creepy Timothy Carey, giving perhaps his best performance. Banned in France for 18 years, this masterpiece still packs a wallop, though nothing in it is as simple as it may first appear; audiences are still arguing about the final sequence, which has been characterized as everything from a sentimental cop-out to the ultimate cynical twist.' 

Here is the trailer.

Across town there's an excellent recent American thriller at BFI Southbank

Gone Baby Gone (Affleck, 2007): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6pm

Ben Affleck's film had a late release in Britain as it was slated for release at the height of the Madeleine McCann case. It's a powerful and harrowing tale, one of the most impressive American thrillers of recent years. There is a joint ticket available for tonight's screening to hear author Denis Lehane in conversation.

Chicago Reader review:

“I always thought it was the things you don't choose that make you who you are,” declares the narrator at the opening of this powerful mystery, words that turn out to be hauntingly prophetic. Adapted from a novel by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River), the movie centers on the disappearance of a four-year-old girl whose life has already been sadly defined by her vile single mother and grim working-class Boston neighborhood. The girl's aunt hires a pair of private detectives (Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan) to assist the police, and as they get closer to the truth, even the child's rescue begins to seem like a tragic fate. Ben Affleck directed and cowrote the script; his biggest gamble was casting his irksome little brother as a pistol-whipping tough guy, but the picture is so superbly executed in every other respect that Casey seems more quirky than miscast. With Amy Ryan, Ed Harris, and Morgan Freeman.' 

Here is the trailer

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