REVIEW ROUNDUP: BEANPOLE, CITIZEN K, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, THE KINGMAKER

Four new films arrive at the Irish Film Institute on Friday the 13th of December 2019: Beanpole, Citizen K, It’s a Wonderful Life and The Kingmaker.

Read on for a selection of reviews or pop in to make up your own mind!

BEANPOLE
“Beanpole is moving, disturbing, overwhelming.”
5/5 – Guardian

“A gorgeous, glacial exploration of lives permanently changed by war.”
4/5 – Little White Lies

“You quite often have to remind yourself to breathe.”
Variety

“Extraordinary performances and “Roma”-level production design elevate a brutal yet tender story of two women in post-war Leningrad.”
indieWire

“It’s a demanding sit, a film both rigorous and indulgent, rewarding and aggravating.”
Hollywood Reporter

“To date Beanpole, its two female leads, and its 28-year-old writer-director have deservedly hoovered up some 14 major awards including Best Film and Best Director at Un Certain Regard in Cannes. Expect than run to continue well into awards season.”
5/5 – Irish Times

CITIZEN K
“The Oscar-winning documentarian is back, firing on all cylinders and reconnecting with his political muse. The result is easily his best documentary in years.”
4/5 – Little White Lies

“[A] chewy, engrossing documentary…”
Variety

“Gibney’s story is clearly told and wholly engrossing.”
Screen International

“Khodorkovsky is a charismatic subject with a still-mischievous twinkle in his eye even after serving ten years in a Siberian prison, making him a marvelously ambiguous antihero for documentary treatment.”
Hollywood Reporter

“Gibney is equally fascinated by Putin’s journey from anonymous civil servant to strongman, and the broader political scene’s increasing resemblance to performance art. It makes for an arresting chronicle and many follow-up questions.”
4/5 – Irish Times

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
“There’s sex and death here, elation and depression, hope and despair.”
5/5 – Little White Lies

“It’s a Wonderful Life is a wonderful title for a motion picture about which practically everyone who sees it will agree that it’s wonderful entertainment.”
Hollywood Reporter

“The inspirational, thoroughly festive ending is guaranteed to bring tears to the eyes.”
Daily Telegraph

“A genuine American classic.”
5/5 – Guardian

“What is remarkable about It’s a Wonderful Life is how well it holds up over the years; it’s one of those ageless movies, like Casablanca or The Third Man, that improves with age.”
4/4 – Chicago Sun-Times 

THE KINGMAKER
“The first half is a conventional biography but as it progresses, ‘The Kingmaker’ takes shape as an acute study of the psychology of power.”
4/5 – Time Out

“It’s a documentary that starts as a nonfiction portrait and ends as a political horror movie.”
3.5/5 – Rolling Stone

“It’s an ugly story shrewdly told, with a sense of humor and also a deeper feeling for history.”
New York Times

“The juiciest insider look at a corrupt world leader since Barbet Schroeder’s ‘General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait.’”
Variety

“A fascinating documentary about the Marcos family’s troubled history – and the disturbing ways that it’s making a comeback today.”
indieWire

“[A] tragic picture of tyranny and corruption in the Philippines that might stand alongside Josh Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing (2012) and The Look of Silence (2014) about the repression and slaughter in Indonesia.”
5/5 – Guardian

“A terrifying reminder that those with absolute power don’t make good retirees.”
4/5 – Irish Times

 


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