Sundance Diary: Day Four

Don't Let Me Drown, In The Loop, Crude, plus Ewan McGregor and Jim Carrey

by Amber Wilkinson and Tony Sullivan

I Love You Phillip Morris

I Love You Phillip Morris

In The Loop director Armando Iannucci's big screen spin-off from The Thick Of It attracted a large number of journalists to the press screening, not to mention Harvey Weinstein, spotted heading to the back of the auditorium. Although no one seemed to specifically know anyone who had actually seen it beforehand it was anecdotely predicted to be hilarious. Thankfully, rumours occasionally do turn out to be true and the film was laugh out loud funny from start to finish. Peter Capaldi reprises his wonderfully insulting spin doctor role, taking inventive invective to new levels. There is no sense of the language being softened for the US marketplace either, with every taboo swearword liberally employed.

The film charts the machinations of the political machine on both sides of the Atlantic, as a young British politician finds himself caught up in the argument both for and against an unnamed war in the Middle East. Heavily influenced by the 'dodgy dossier' and Iraq, the film plays like Yes, Minister for the modern era. Although a little overlong and perhaps not as cinematic as some films, it is a sure-fire hit. I'm sure it will do great business back in Britain and, given the reaction from the American press near me, they think it'll go down well on this side of the Atlantic.

Meanwhile, Tony had hot-footed it to the I Love You Phillip Morris press conference. He writes: Started the morning filming interviews. Victims included the director of Prom Night In Mississippi, Paul Saltzman; the cast of Amreeka and Jason Ritter from Peter And Vandy. From there to the press junket for I Love You, Phillip Morris, included in the line up were co-directors, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa; producer, Luc Besson as well as cast members Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor and Rodrigo Santoro. The assembled media were more fascinated with Carrey and McGregor's joint lip-locking than any other aspect of this true story financial scam.

Back to the press screenings and in the spirit of getting some writing done we just caught one more film apiece. I caught Crude a stinging documentary by Joe Berlinger (Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster) about the legacy of Texaco's oil drilling in Ecuador. The inheritance of the people of the region is, as you might imagine, not good, with many suffering cancer and skin disorders which the film argues stem from the oil exploitation in the region. Although undeniably on the side of the indiginous populace, Berlinger, unlike many less accomplished documentarians, makes efforts to represent the Chevron side of the argument and, in doing so, provides them with just about enough rope to hang themselves.

Tony writes... Don't Let Me Drown concerns a forbidden ethnic relationship between a Mexican boy and an African American girl in the poor areas of New York post the events of 9/11. Shades of Romeo and Juliet in this well-observed milieu, so well-observed in fact that one feels one might be watching a documentary.

It occurs to me that The Greatest, Victoria Day and Don't Let Me Drown - are all the same film just observed among different social classes.

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