Ghost In The Shell: Is Scarlett Johansson A Believable Action Star?


Written by Luke Barnes


The popular anime series of the same name is brought to life with Major, played by Scarlett Johansson, a part human part cyborg investigating her past.

I understand many people didn’t like this film because they perceived it as whitewashing the source material and I respect that, however for the purpose of this review I aim to look beyond that.

I actually enjoyed this film when I saw it in cinemas and then when I rewatched it again recently. I thought Johansson was good in the role and brought a lot to it, she was good in both the action set pieces as well as the more emotional and philosophical scenes. Her performance can’t be faulted.

Furthermore, I thought the world of the film was dripping with potential for interesting storytelling. Honestly, I think if this film had been better received we would have gotten numerous spin offs and sequels which would have given us a better look into the world which could have been really interesting, alas such a thing was not meant to be.

My main issue with the film was that it tried to do too much. It crammed a lot of story in a relatively short runtime and as such a lot came off as underdeveloped or even confusing. Even upon rewatching it there are still moments in the films narrative that don’t make any sense to me at all.

Furthermore, Michael Pitt as the film’s villain was deeply miscast.

Overall, a film that is better than a lot make it out to be, but one that still has some major issues.



The world

The visual style and the composition


Michael Pitt

It needed further expanding   

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Possessor: A Very Different 2008 To The One I Remember

Possessor is a science fiction horror film directed by Brandon Cronenberg. The plot imagines a different 2008 wherein people have the technology to project their consciousness into your brain through and implant thereby taking over control of your body and forcing it to abide by their will. This technology is often used by high profile assassins.

This film felt like a feature length Black Mirror episode and I am not saying that as an inherent criticism, rather a note on the tone and generally aesthetic.

I will give this film props for its visuals and its concept, both were deeply unnerving in both a very real way and also in more of an existential way. The premise of the film itself is so deeply fascinating that you can’t help but think about it once the film has ended. There are sights within this film that you will not see anywhere else within the genre, such is its creativity: one of these shots is the opening when they are putting in one of the implants and it is visceral and sickening and honestly quite frightening when considering the implications.

The performances were all very strong, and I enjoyed the notion of how much of your own actions are really you if you are facing off against someone else’s consciousness. A lot of the things in this film are deep and wider reaching then your standard horror themes, and as such this might not be for everyone.

My one point of criticism would be the end. I disliked how messy and rushed it felt, it seems very much that the film is going a certain way throughout and then bang you just get a whole bunch of stuff thrown at you in the final few minutes and you are left to pick up the pieces and make sense of it. I truly do believe if this film was given even just another 15 minutes it would have fixed the ending.

Overall, very strong and very unique, a bleak look at a potential future where not even our own minds are safe from attack.


The performances

The visuals

The concept and the execution

The horror and the existentialism


The ending is a mess


Reviewed by Luke

High Rise: Anarchy In The Flat Block

High Rise is a British Dystopian film directed by Ben Wheatley. The plot follows the goings on in a high-rise tower block that has become dived along class lines. We see Laing (Tom Hiddleston), try to adjust to life here and he becomes wrapped up in the class conflict.

So yes, the political and social commentary are very on the nose, there is no subtly here. Though usually I find this to be a sign of poor writing I go the other way here, as I believe it was Wheatly’s intent all along to be very blunt and in the audiences face with the film’s themes and messages. Furthermore, I find the points drawn therein to be well thought out and have surprising depth.

I enjoyed the absurdist nature, that is very present in the beginning, that quickly turns to a more threatening and violent edge. I find this film, much like a lot of Wheatley’s other work, straddles the black comedy line so well. At first these ideas might seem funny, but you quickly become aware of the bite behind them.

I think Hiddleston does well in the lead, he is a very serviceable stand in for the audience. That said he is blown out of the water by Luke Evans. Evan’s Wilder goes through an entire mental break over the course of the film and becomes a man possessed by the end in what can only be called a tour de force performance.

Elizabeth Moss is also in this film and she pulls off a pretty convincing accent, so props there to.


The in your face messages

The black comedy/ dystopian mixture

Luke Evans

Elizabeth Moss


It might be too absurdist at times, it can be confusing


Reviewed by Luke    

The Lobster: To Love Or To Transform?

The Lobster is an absurdist dystopian dark comedy film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. The plot follows David (Colin Farrell), a man who moves to a special singles hotel once he finds out that his wife is cheating on him. Said hotel gives singles a set amount of time to find ‘the one’ or face being killed and turned into an animal.

This is truly a bizarre sort of film and I mean that as a compliment. The dystopian ideas herein, I have never seen imagined before and as a result of that this film feels wholly fresh and original, praise that I can’t give to many films these days.

This film has a wonderfully off-kilter sense of tension and threat that seems to reveal itself at the most unexpected of times. It can be quite a mild breakfast scene, that yes is a little strange but is not that out of the ordinary, but then someone gets their hand burnt in a toaster for touching themselves, just out of nowhere.

Farrell is strong here his performance easily makes the film. His David is a character who is hard to form a mind on, sometimes he is the stereotypical protagonist, a rootable figure that you want to see do well, but then sometimes he seems to far darker and more loathsome than that.

My one complaint of this film would be that the second act, when David runs away, stretches out for a bit too much and feels poorly paced. This isn’t helped by the fact the second act of the film also stuffs in a lot of information that somewhat ruins the genius simple premise.

Overall, a must watch for the sheer originality alone.


Colin Farrell

The premise

The originality

Olivia Coleman


The second act has far too much going on and also far too much bloat.


Reviewed by Luke