Film picks: Accept The Call, 1917, The Peanut Butter Falcon

Edited as a single continuous shot, 1917 is a World War I survival story filled with beauty and terror. PHOTO: UIP


83 minutes

Sold out at its Singapore International Film Festival premiere last year, this documentary by New York-based Singaporean film-maker Eunice Lau details a Somali immigrant's quandary when his 19-year-old son, raised in Minnesota, is arrested by the FBI in a counterterrorism sting operation.

Lau examines the roots of Zacharia's radicalisation, which might lie in how Muslim immigrants from Somalia are viewed by the general population in the United States, as well as the personal story of a father trying to understand his son.

Lau will be at the screenings on Feb 1 and 9 for a post-screening talk.

WHERE: The Projector, 05-00 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road

MRT: Nicoll Highway

WHEN: Feb 1 and 9, various times



Accept the Call details a Somali immigrant's quandary when his 19-year-old son, raised in Minnesota, is arrested by the FBI in a counterterrorism sting operation. PHOTO: THE PROJECTOR

1917 (PG13)

119 minutes/5 stars

This war epic not only tackles a subject few film-makers want to touch, it does so by filling the viewer's senses - one leaves the cinema feeling the story in the gut.

Edited as a single continuous shot, this World War I survival story is filled with beauty and terror. Two lowly soldiers (played by Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay) are charged with delivering a message from one part of the battleground in France to another. Their failure could have catastrophic consequences.

Neither director Sam Mendes nor cinematographer Roger Deakins invented the single-take movie. but no one has embraced the technique with such boldness, nor produced results as exhilarating.

The film has nabbed 10 Oscar nods, including for Best Picture and Best Director.


97 minutes 3.5 stars

The Peanut Butter Falcon stars Zack Gottsagen, Dakota Johnson and Shia LaBeouf. PHOTO: SHAW

This rambling, ramshackle comedy-drama, like the makeshift boat at the centre of the film, should not float, but does so anyway. The story turns its minuses into pluses because it never gives in to irony. Every moment feels authentic, even if some of them rely on broad Southern stereotypes.

Zack Gottsagen, an actor with Down Syndrome, is Zak, a young man obsessed with escaping the retirement home in which he has been housed so that he can train at the Florida wrestling school of his idol. Slipping through the gates, he meets Tyler, a fisherman with troubled past, played by Shia LaBeouf. Hot on their trail is Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), Zak's guardian.

The pair run, swim, paddle and sail their way through the swampy heat of the South, having adventures which change the course of Zak, Eleanor and Tyler's lives.

This is a work that comes with the usual lesson about what the handicapped can teach the able-bodied about following one's dreams, but film-makers Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz breathe new life into an old theme by never buffing away the film's improvised rawness.

Its odd beats and eccentric set-ups play out in full. Not all of it works, but the production makes a convincing and entertaining argument for including actors with intellectual disabilities.


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