Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
Empire Blogs
Words From The Wise

Back to all blogs Comment Now

Karlovy Vary Film Festival 2013: XL and 11.6

Posted on Monday July 8, 2013, 16:49 by Damon Wise in Words From The Wise
Karlovy Vary Film Festival 2013: XL and 11.6

The competition at KV can be quite erratic, a problem prevalent at most festivals that need to keep their high-end status by delivering a main strand of world premieres. In a busy calendar year, there simply aren't enough good movies to go round, but this year's line-up was perhaps the best in quite some time. I missed the winning film Honeymoon and wasn't around when Ben Wheatley's divisive A Field In England screened – but I did catch two interesting competition films, one from Iceland the other from France.

Marteinn Thorsson's XL was the former, a seriously dark black comedy that starts with an alcoholic politician, Leifur (Olafur Darri Olafsson), being confronted by his irate prime minister. Leifur is being sent to rehab, and what ensues is a bizarre fever dream that combines the events leading up to his committal and a wild party he arranges as one last fling. The resulting timeline is most disorientating – as is a subplot involving the girl he had with his ex-wife – giving a pretty convincing approximation of the effects of excessive boozing, especially the Icelandic kind.

As an IvansXTC-style portrait of an asshole, XL has a lot of atmosphere, especially in the sleazier and more anarchic moments, most of which can be attributed to Olafsson, who has considerable presence in a highly physical and often self-abasing role (one that brought him KV's Best Actor award). Ultimately, though, XL doesn't quite decide whether it is satire or character study, and a little more detail in the former department – Thorsson's film deftly skewers MPs who use their private-life dramas as political collateral – might have given it a bit more weight.

Another film resting on its leading man is Philippe Godeau's 11.6 (pictured), a visually quite mainstream yet unexpectedly gnomic account of the most celebrated crime in recent French history. The star is François Cluzet, of Untouchable fame, who stars as Toni Musulin, a security guard who made off with €11.6 million in notes without using force of any kind. Cluzet is a good 15 years too old for the role but his great, hangdog demeanour makes it hard to care too much about this (the real Musulin is a lot more fresh-faced). Instead of youth, Cluzet gives the piece a very real and grounded sense of Musulin's conviction, presenting him as modern-day Robin Hood figure who stole from his bosses as a warped form of revenge for cost-cutting and greed in the corporatised workplace.

11.6 is not a great title, and the film will struggle for release here, but it's worth catching. Godeau, a former producer, shrewdly leaves most of Musulin's motivation to the imagination, and, unusually for a crime story, it's what we don't see or find out that lingers longest in the mind.

Login or register to comment.

Currently No Comments

Log in below, or register to post comments
Username:
Password:
Remember Me:

CATEGORIES

Empire States (440)

Under The Radar (335)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (36)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


RECENT POSTS

Not For The Faintheart(ed)
By Damon Wise

The Transsiberian Connection
By Damon Wise

Ride The Wave And Take The Fall
By Damon Wise

When Damo Met Shane Meadows
By Damon Wise

It's That Guy From That Thing
By Damon Wise

It's Not All Work Work Work
By Damon Wise

The Dopeness Of The Wackness
By Damon Wise

Busy, busy, busy...
By Damon Wise

Poncey Drinks, Torture Porn And Fairy Cakes
By Damon Wise

In Pictures: Keira And Sienna At The Festival
By Amar Vijay


RECENT COMMENTS

Ride The Wave And Take The Fall
"When do we get it though? Having seen the trailer so many months ago I'm desperate to see it.  r1x
Read comment

Ride The Wave And Take The Fall
"Apparently Tarsem told the little girl in the Fall that Lee Pace really was paralysed which made her"  spyro
Read comment

The Transsiberian Connection
"Session 9 is a great film! If it wasn't the the silly ending, it would be a modern Horror classic"  Cethan
Read comment

Ride The Wave And Take The Fall
"Completely agree on The Fall. Almost certainly my favorite film so far this year."  Will Goss
Read comment

Ride The Wave And Take The Fall
"Nice write-up on The Fall. I decided many months ago that I was looking forward to this, despite the"  Acho
Read comment

When Damo Met Shane Meadows
"Meadows is a bit of a legend alright. Dead Man's Shoes is being shown in Dublin this weekend, as par"  Acho
Read comment

It's That Guy From That Thing
"I feel like I've been hearing about the visitor for months. Damn festival circuit, getting to see th"  Acho
Read comment

An Australian In Edinburgh
"I didn't know you're Australian Sam. No reason why I should've, I guess. Any chan"  Acho
Read comment

Just Listen To That Serenity...
"Hiam Abbass was at the showing at the weekend? GUTTED. Saw it earlier this week and I've been dying "  Daniel!
Read comment

It's That Guy From That Thing
"The Visitor was a good film, very good at points, but it did threaten in its first act to become a m"  Daniel!
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

Ride The Wave And Take The Fall
4 comments

Busy, busy, busy...
3 comments

Poncey Drinks, Torture Porn And Fairy Cakes
2 comments

It's That Guy From That Thing
2 comments

When Damo Met Shane Meadows
2 comments

The Dopeness Of The Wackness
1 comments

The Transsiberian Connection
1 comments


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (298)
Helen O'Hara (181)
James Dyer (86)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (56)
James White (29)
Phil de Semlyen (21)
Owen Williams (21)
Simon Braund (6)
Nev Pierce (5)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
David Parkinson (1)
Dan Jolin (1)
Ian Nathan (1)

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Watch: Night At The Museum's Cast Share Their Favourite Robin Williams Performance
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Ben Kingsley pay tribute to the actor

Watch: Jack O'Connell And Luke Treadaway Talk Unbroken
On POWs, panto and how to name your bomber

Review Of 2014: The 15 Best Cameos Of The Year
Our favourite one-scene movie-stealers

8 Things You Can Learn From The BFI's Star Wars Exhibition
The original crawl, a 'grotesque' villain and a very different princess

Review Of The Year: 40 Worst Posters Of 2014
One-sheets that you'd rather not have on your wall

Hobbit Q&As: Ian McKellen On Finally Saying Goodbye And Farewell To Gandalf The Grey
Read our exclusive Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies interviews

Review Of 2014: The Best TV Moments Of The Year
We celebrate the small screen's biggest scenes

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)