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HALLAM FOE

Director: DAVID MACKENZIE

U.K. • 2007 • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 95 MIN


AN ENTRANCING RITES OF PASSAGE TALE BLENDING EMOTIONAL INTIMACY AND INSOUCIANTLY STYLISH VISUALS, THIS SHOWS SCOTTISH DIRECTOR DAVID MACKENZIE ( YOUNG ADAM) CUTTING LOOSE AND AT LAST MAKING THE DAZZLING PIECE OF CINEMA HE’S PROMISED ALL ALONG.
Hallam Foealso provides further evidence that Jamie Bell has matured into a fine young actor (we’ll soon have to stop even mentioning Billy Elliot), since he’s compulsively watchable in the title role as a disturbed voyeur who flees his family’s Scottish country mansion after the suspicious death of his mother. Venturing into a hotel kitchen job in Edinburgh, he’s soon obsessively spying on the operation’s alluring personnel manager Kate (Sophia Myles, in a breakthrough performance). Need we mention that he suspects his father (Ciaran Hinds) of murder, has had a close encounter with his vixen step-mum (Claire Forlani), or that the sexually venturesome Kate is a ringer for his departed mother in her ripe youth? Adapted from a novel by Peter Jinks, the film bristles with literary themes, but treats them with a confident lightness of touch, preferring to deliver up a slinky, sexy, teasing piece of cinema, which filters brilliant location work among the rooftops of Edinburgh into its understanding visualisation of Hallam’s skewed perspective. Certainly, there are distant echoes of Hitchcock’s Vertigo, but the heart of the matter is the palpable chemistry between Bell’s insecure longings and Myles’s coquettish lubriciousness. As he proved back with Ewan McGregor in Young Adam, Mackenzie’s particularly strong at communicating the complex heat of sexuality, and he hasn’t lost his touch. —Trevor Johnston.

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