growing up

Peter Pan and the Predators

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When I was growing up, a trip to the cinema was a special treat. By that I mean that it didn’t happen that often – I feel almost every trip I make now is special, but for different reasons. Yet one thing was apparent – despite being the fourth tallest in my class at school at age 11 (and two of those taller than me were girls – yikes!), I was not going to be getting into anything other than U or PG films or the equivalent for some time to come.

The most gutting aspect of this came in the mid-eighties, when my friends and I came up with several sadly never followed through on plans to get into Gremlins, which looked ace but had picked up a dreaded 15 certificate, leaving us four years short. A gap like that can never be overcome, even by tying cans of paint to the bottom of your shoes to look taller. (Maybe it’s for the best we never got around to that.)

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Review: Dogtooth (Kynodontas)

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The Pitch: It’s a family affair, but probably more Manson than Partridge.

The Review: Sometimes it’s hard to recommend a film you’ve enjoyed, simply because it’s something of an acquired taste. That can be made even harder if the film itself is difficult to pigeonhole, or even to describe. How about, “if Michael Haneke remade Napoleon Dynamite as a Greek sex education film?”

Not a description that really does this film justice, which at its core is a contemplation of the dangers of how much trying to protect your children from the dangers of the world can create its own problems.

But there’s so much more going on here that it’s better to allow the film’s pleasures and shocks to come through unannounced. The acting, which at first feels slightly stilted, suits the style of the story and helps to create the isolated world that most of the characters inhabit. Random pop culture references later in the film add further levels of both enjoyment and strangeness.

Eventually you become as tied into the world created by the film as the characters, and it’s difficult to leave at the end, so oddly compelling is their existence. But it’s even more difficult to know exactly who to invite into this world in the first place.

Why see it at the cinema: If for no other reason, to say you actually did. True film obsessives, apply here.

The Score: 9/10