With the London Film Festival fast approaching, it stands to reason that some of the best and most anticipated films of the festival are made by local Brits. As it is their home festival, it seems fitting to showcase a few upcoming standouts from the festival made by some of our top British filmmakers. With many of these films already receiving rave reviews, these are five films from British filmmakers that should be on everyone’s must see list.
Danny Boyle – Steve Jobs
A director with an already storied career, Danny Boyle returns to the LFF to chronicle the life of another storied leader, Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender). Working with West Wing and Social Network scribe Aaron Sorkin, Boyle has found an ingenious way to tell the essential story of the man behind the face of Apple, Steve Jobs.. The movie uses an unconventional structure, splitting the film between three acts and three scenes, all taking place before a large product launch. The Slumdog Millionaire director works with Michael Fassbender to craft a portrait of the type of man Jobs was, flaws and all. Boyle combines his visionary style with Sorkin’s legendary dialogue to make an experience that must be seen by all.
Ben Wheatley – High Rise
Ben Wheatley has never shied away from showing a dark and hilariously acidic worldview in his original films, and in High Rise he continues to show the darkness. Coming off his success directing Peter Capaldi’s first two Doctor Who episodes, Ben Wheatley is back in fine form doing what he does best: creating dark, dark comedies. In his new film, based on J.G. Ballard’s politically charged 1975 novel, we follow Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) as a new tenant in a recently constructed high rise building who finds himself in the middle of a full on class war. Wheatley constructs a movie that has an undeniable tension that continues to ratchet up and up the whole film. In High Rise, Wheatley honours his source material, while making this film undeniably his.
Stephen Frears – The Program
Stephen Frears’ newest film proves itself as an unconventional monster movie, with the villain asa wolf in sheep’s clothing, a man who, not too long ago, was thought of as one of the greatest heroes in the history of sports. In The Program, Frears tells the story of how formerly renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong was outed for doping and shamed the world over. In The Program, Armstrong (Ben Foster) is portrayed as a master schemer, intent on hiding his doping from the world at all costs. The film follows journalist David Walsh (Chris O’Dowd) as he attempts to unveil the scandal that would shake the sport world to its core. With The Program, Frears dramatizes this scandal, putting a face to the man who exposed Armstrong’s lie.
Sarah Gavron – Suffragette
Sarah Gavron’s third film, Suffragette, boasts an all star cast and a subject as relevant today as it was when the events of the film took place: women’s suffrage. The film follows Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) as she joins the early feminist movement happening in London in 1912. Over the course of the movie she is introduced to the leaders of the movement, played by renowned actors such as Helena Bonham Carter and the legendary Meryl Streep, as they fight against bigoted men (Brendan Gleeson) for their right to vote. An inspirational story that draws parallels to current protests for equality , Gavron’s direction reveals the faces that paved the way for countless more to fight for equality, a fight that goes on to this day.
Terrance Davis – Sunset Song
Terrance Davis says he doesn’t understand the modern world, that it is too confusing and complex, and unlike the romantic version that he sees. In his adaptation of the folksy novel by Lewis Grabic Gibbon, Sunset Song, Davis makesan attempt to transport all of us to that romantic world. In Davis’ world, nature is beautiful and all encompassing, a peaceful world full of green, idyllic landscapes. That’s not to say that there is no conflict or ugliness in this film, though. Throughout the film, Davis’ characters must grapple with their inner demons and a rapidly changing world, as World War I fast approaches. Viewers can expect an emotionally challenging film framed with an absolutely beautiful backdrop. In Sunset Song, Davis transports us to another world, his world.
All of these films will be screening at the BFI London Film Festival, 7 October to 18 October 2015.