REVIEW ROUNDUP – HANDSOME DEVIL, CLASH, THE TRANSFIGURATION & OLLI MAKI

It’s a big week for new releases, with four fresh titles just waiting in the wings to entertain audiences. That includes the new Irish comedy Handsome Devil from John Butler, the director of The Stag starring Andrew Scott.

We’ve also got three Irish exclusives – Un Certain Regard winner The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki from Finland, Michael O’Shea’s absorbing vampire drama The Transfiguration and Clash from Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Diab, which all unfolds in the back of a prison van.

Read on for a selection of reviews, and be sure to come in and make up your own mind!

HANDSOME DEVIL
“None of this is easy to achieve. Butler has proved himself adept at the complex mechanics of the redemptive comedy”
4/5 – The Irish Times

“Cramming more into 95 minutes than a teenager the night before the mocks, Handsome Devil is perfectly cast, equal parts wayward wit and hard-learned wisdom and reminds us that no matter how many years have passed, every day really is a school day”
4/5 – RTE

“Handsome Devil is also very funny, a wise and witty tonic”
4/5 – Independent

“Scott’s Dan and his running battles with Dunford are a delight and the big climax belongs to Conor, not Ned”
4/5 – Entertainment.ie

“A charming comedic film, which also addresses issues of identity and sexuality in a light and engaging manner”
4/5 – Movies.ie

THE TRANSFIGURATION
“A lovely new addition to 2017’s splendid gallery of superior art-horrors”
4/5 – The Irish Times

“More Moonlight than Twilight, The Transfiguration is a defining vampire film of the mid-2010s. An acutely observed study of social/emotional deprivation, but also a gripping, disturbing horror movie”
4/5 – Empire

“Bold and brutal in shocking spurts, the indie horror drama from writer-director O’Shea is a startling debut that leaves a fresh mark on the genre while celebrating its forbears”
LA Times

CLASH
“Claustrophobics are advised to steer clear of this deliciously high-concept drama, set entirely in the back of paddywagon”
4/5 – The Irish Times

“The movie stunningly replicates that sense of inside and outside that must be felt by witnesses to any historic moment: the private debate, the enclosed conflict, and the theatre of confrontation unfolding beyond”
4/5 – The Guardian

“Running the gamut from social comedy to actioner to war movie, Clash is an original, often quite disturbing experience to watch”
Hollywood Reporter

“Technically, the film’s sheer bravura is breathtaking, from the mayhem outside, to the brilliant camerawork inside a sweaty, confined interior”
4/5 – Time Out

“A minor masterpiece of claustrophobia and expertly managed tension”
4/5 – Empire

“Boasting superb camerawork from d.p. Ahmed Gabr and stellar crowd direction, “Clash” might strike some as crossing too often into hysteria, yet this is bravura filmmaking with a kick-in-the-gut message about chaos and cruelty (with some humanity)”
Variety

THE HAPPIEST DAY IN THE LIFE OF OLLI MAKI
“But its Jarkko Lahti’s central performance – a turn that’s as big-hearted as Olli himself – that steals the show”
4/5 – The Irish Times

“It is a film of immense humanity and charm: the very best kind of date movie”
4/5 – The Guardian

“The story is charming and Jarkko Lehti is great in the lead role. The film is a little gem that deserves to be seen”
4/5 – Movies.ie

“In addition to the considerable pleasures of the well-told real-life story — co-written by the director and Mikko Myllylahti — and the nuanced characterization of Jarkko Lahti in the title role, the movie is a small marvel of impeccable craftsmanship”
Hollywood Reporter

“Kuosmanen’s lovely debut has little time for easy nostalgia: It’s a period piece that shares its woebegone protagonist’s eye on better days to come”
Variety

 

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