FILM: Brixton Blog’s Thursday round-up

Sean Penn as ageing rockstar Cheyenne in the 'weird and wonderful' This Must Be The Place

By Ashley Clark

Sean Penn dressed up as Robert Smith, corporate raiding in Norway, and gentle comedy on a French port. It’s another week at the Ritzy; south London’s best cinema.

The big new release this week is This Must Be The Place, an odd drama courtesy of Italian director Paolo Sorrentino (Il Divo). It stars Sean Penn as a wealthy, middle-aged rock star named Cheyenne (replete with full Robert Smith make-up and frightwig), who succumbs to ennui in retirement and takes on the quest of finding his father’s tormentor, a Nazi war criminal hiding in the United States. It’s weird, whimsical and has proved hugely divisive on the festival circuit, but it’s certainly worth a couple of hours of your time. There’s a great David Byrne cameo, too.

Also opening this week is the slick, funny Norwegian thriller Headhunters, adapted from the novel by Jo Nesbo (whose name will be seen at least once on any given trip you may take on the Victoria line). Aksel Hennie stars as Roger, an accomplished headhunter, but an even better art thief. Through his wife Diana, he’s introduced to a former mercenary in possession of a valuable Rubens (that’s the painter, not Pee-Wee Herman). Roger decides his only option is to go ahead and steal it. Headhunters is gripping stuff, and works surprisingly well as satire of greedy corporate culture, too.

Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki returns after a five year absence with Le Havre, a touching and amusing comedy-drama starring deadpan Iain Duncan Smith-alike Jean-Pierre Darroussin. It tells the tale of a shoeshiner who attempts to save an immigrant child in the eponymous French port city, and it’s heartwarming stuff.

Highlights of the Ritzy’s repertory programme this week include a screening of Michael Mann’s tense 1981 Thief (Violent Streets) alongside Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive on Easter Monday, and the conclusion of the ongoing A-Z of Cinema strand in the form of ‘Z’ for Zombies: The Trilogy of the Dead (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead).

There are still a few chances to catch Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s unmissable, astounding police procedural anti-thriller Upon A Time In Anatolia. Also still showing are The Dardennes Brothers’ The Kid With A Bike, Werner Herzog’s Into The Abyss, Aardman romp The Pirates! kiddies-in-peril flick The Hunger Games and, if you’re feeling that way inclined, Street Dance 2.

All films showing at the Ritzy Cinema, Brixton Oval. Book tickets here.

Ashley Clark runs the film blog Permanent Plastic Helmet. You can follow it on Twitter @PPlasticHelmet and/or him @_ash_clark.