The first week of the Perth’s International Revelation Film Festival is over and after a hard week of movie-binging we are back with the report cards to some of the films that have screened:

An Evening With Beverly Luff Lin (dir. Jim Hoskings)

An absurdist comedy from the mind behind The Greasy Strangler, Jim Hoskings’ sophomore effort is the cinematic equivalent of a joke without a punchline. It sits on the screen awkwardly and bereft of purpose, moving from one stilted scene to the next. While it would be easy to dismiss the film early on, Hosking proves himself in complete control over his style as he revels in the awkwardness to increasingly effective result.

The story follows a woman (played by Aubrey Plaza) stuck in a disagreeable marriage. After a botched murder attempt on her husband she decides to run away with a hitman to an old motel where an old flame of hers, Beverley Luff Linn, is performing for “one magical night only”. So ensues a number of bizarre occurrences, many of which defy explanation, leading up to the special night.

Craig Robinson is the standout as the titular Luff Linn, a mysterious performer who communicates in a series of grunts to comical effect. The film is certainly one of the stranger films showing at the Revelation Film Festival and it won’t be for everyone but attune to its wavelength and there are laughs to be found in the inanity.

Summary: There are laughs to be found in the inanity.

Grade: 6/10

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (dir. Gus Van Sant)

Joaquin Phoenix delivers another extraordinary performance bringing to life the true story of John Callahan, a man who finds his calling as a cartoonist following a devastating car accident that left him a quadriplegic.  Unfortunately, for all of Phoenix’s best efforts, he’s let down by a disjointed narrative that jumps all over the place leaving the film feeling jumbled and confused.

Compounding the disappointment is the knowledge that it’s the first film from veteran indie filmmaker Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk) following his disastrous The Sea of Trees. Despite being made with sincere and genuine intentions, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot seems to been made in the same blender as Van Sant’s previous mess. Maybe he’s loosing his touch?

Summary: Sincere in its intention but jumbled in its execution.

Grade: 5/10

The Rider (dir. Chloe Zhao)

A touching portrayal of a rodeo star, Brady (Brady Jandreau), who finds his way of life wrangled away following a freak riding accident. Unable to mount up again, Brady goes on a journey of self-discovery while looking after his financially stricken sister and father in the harsh South Dakota badlands.

What elevates the film’s already strong story is the decision to cast a real family of bronc riders instead of professional actors in the main roles. As they draw on their own experiences in bringing the script to life, The Rider feels hauntingly real in its depiction of a hard-bitten way of life. While some parts in the middle feel a little slow, by the end the film leaves a devastating emotional impact that lingers long after. A definite highlight of the festival so far.

Summary:  A touching and deeply affecting film. A highlight of the festival so far.

Grade 8.5/10

Beast (dir. Michael Pearce)

A psychological drama that steadily ratchets up tension, Beast is best entered into blind. For those who need a little more persuasion, the story follows a young woman, a mysterious man and a series of unexplained killings in a small seaside town. As both their past mistakes come back to haunt them, is all as it seems?

As Michael Pearce’s debut feature, Beast is an assured first effort. Just when you think you know where it’s heading it makes you question your assumptions and you’ll be second guessing until the very end. A pleasant surprise that’s definitely worth checking out.

Summary: A pleasant surprise. Go in blind if you can. 

Grade: 7.5/10

Dominic Kwaczynski

The Perth International Revelation Film Festival is screening at Luna Leederville and Luna Essex, finishing on Wednesday the 16th.

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