Film picks: Italian Film Festival, Confidential Assignment 2: International, Ted K

A still from the film Ennio, featuring Italian composer Ennio Morricone. PHOTO: ITALIAN FILM FESTIVAL

Italian Film Festival 2022

Presented by the Embassy of Italy in Singapore, in partnership with The Projector and in collaboration with the Singapore Film Society and the Asian Film Festival of Rome, the 20th edition of the event features 13 award-winning Italian films and in-person appearances by Italian cinema practitioners to help lead audience discussions.

Do not miss the documentary film Ennio (2021, M18, 156 minutes, screens on Saturday, 4.15pm), director Giuseppe Tornatore’s celebration of the late Italian composer Ennio Morricone, who gained attention in Hollywood with his unforgettable music for spaghetti westerns the Dollars Trilogy (A Fistful Of Dollars, 1964; For A Few Dollars More, 1965; and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, 1966).

Morricone, who died in 2020 at 91, went on to do Oscar-nominated work in dramas, including The Mission (1986) and The Untouchables (1987).

Ennio features interviews with Morricone, who talks about how he brought his most famous works to life. It also includes testimonials from film-makers Bernardo Bertolucci, Dario Argento, Barry Levinson, Roland Joffe, Oliver Stone, Quentin Tarantino and others.

There will also be an in-person post-show Q&A session with the film’s producers, Gianni Russo and Gabriele Costa.

Where: Projector X: Picturehouse, Level 5 The Cathay, 2 Handy Road
MRT: Dhoby Ghaut
When: Now till Sept 25
Admission: $13.50, with concessions for full-time national servicemen, students, club members and others
Info: For bookings and information, go to or at the cinema box office

Action comedy

Confidential Assignment 2: International (NC16)

Hyun Bin plays a North Korean super-agent tracking down a drug dealer. PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE 

128 minutes, now showing

In this sequel to action-comedy Confidential Assignment (2017), Cheol-ryung (Hyun Bin) returns as the disciplined North Korean super-agent. Also back is the laid-back South Korean cop Jin-tae (Yoo Hae-jin). Both are assigned to track down a renegade North Korean operative who has become one of South Korea’s most brutal drug dealers. 

If you took the good bits from classic odd-couple cop movies – throw in a dash of Rush Hour (1998), a splash of Bad Boys (1995) and a pinch of Lethal Weapon (1987) – the result would be this entertaining package, an action-comedy that does not take itself seriously yet never crumbles into complete silliness.

Credit must be given to Yoo, a gifted comic actor whose average Joe humanity keeps everything anchored.

Like the hit South Korean comedy Extreme Job (2019), Confidential Assignment 2: International is powered by strong, character-driven jokes and is a buddy-cop comedy better than anything Hollywood has made in ages.

Crime drama

Ted K (M18)

Sharlto Copley in Ted K. This true-crime drama spans 25 years of Ted Kaczynski’s radicalisation. PHOTO: SHAW ORGANISATION

123 minutes, now showing

Better known as the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski is a Harvard-educated former professor who waged a nationwide bomb campaign between 1978 and 1995, killing three and injuring 23, to avenge modern society’s destruction of nature.

This true-crime drama spans 25 years of his radicalisation and 1996 capture following the largest Federal Bureau of Investigation manhunt in history.

Kaczynski has been the subject of television series, documentaries and a podcast. None of those, though, has the eerie verisimilitude of Ted K and a tour-de-force title performance like Sharlto Copley’s.

The American eco-terrorist lived alone without electricity in the mountains of Montana. Infuriatingly, technology encroached even in this wilderness.

The camera coats the once-pristine land in the noxious reds and yellows of industrial fumes, while an electronic score aggravates the din of logging saws and passing jets that enraged Kaczynski and literally drove him mad. Copley enacts his psychosis with febrile intensity.

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