? cinematic milestone. but Ben Kingsley's i i Fagin is a detailed joy. and. typically for M _ Polanski, he fills his film with a fine cast -v " I of British character actors. (Miles Fielder) I General release from Fri 7 Oct.

i Revrews ' COMEDY KINKY BOOTS (12A)113min u_

Kinky Boots might be a moderately entertaining British comedy. but how many more films in The Full Monty I mould. as is the case once more here. are we going to be treated to? Surely. there are only so many unlikely pursuits


(15) 120min O

Loosely based on the true story of actor Lawrence Harvey's daughter an

stripping. ballet dancing, posing for a nude calendar, etc - that everyday folk from the regions of England can be made to undertake in order to provide film fodder? In this case. the unlikely pursuit is the making of whips‘n'leather- style footwear for drag queens. reluctantly undertaken by the staff of a traditional men's shoe factory in Northampton.

In a plot inspired by a true story (and that‘s no excuse for formulaic filmmaking), Iuckless Charlie Price (Joel Edgerton) takes over the running of his father's footwear factory when the old boy kicks the bucket. Unable to stave Off bankruptcy. Charlie Iucks Out when he meets drag queen Lola (sexy Chiwetel Eiiofor) while drowning his sorrows in beer after a bust up with his girlfriend in London.

Thereafter. Kinky Boots unspools according to formula. Charlie overcomes his own crippling shyness and lack of ambition to save the family factory and win the heart of a girl who truly loves him. Lola comes out from behind the safety of his stage costume and opens the eyes of the small- minded factory staff. And after a rocky start everybody gets what he or she wants and there's even a happy ending. The same claim. however, cannot be made for the film's audience. even if Kinky Boots isn‘t exactly a load of old cobblers. (Miles Fielder)

I General release from Fri 7 Oct. See Profile in Listings.


Do we really need another adaptation of the Dickens classic. given David Lean made the definitive version in 1948 and Carol Reed gave the tale a musical spin in 1968‘s Oliver.’? To Roman Polanski's credit his take on the story of one of Iiterature's most famous orphans is a personal one. The parallels between Oliver's experience fending for himself in vice-ridden Victorian London and Polanski‘s own experience as an orphan in the Warsaw ghetto are clear. The director dealt with his survival in Nazi-occupied Poland head on in his previous film, The Pianist. and here he‘s reassembled that film‘s crew. writer

40 THE LIST 6—20 Oct 2005

OORMAN’S KID Paul Logan sits in the dark with TIMUR BEKMAMBEI’OV (pictured). the man behind a seminal new horror film.

Last year in Russia, the highest grossing film of the year did not feature a Spider-Man or a bunch of hobbits, but warlocks, vampires and witches battling on the streets of Moscow. The bizarre and visually stunning Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor) is based on Sergei Lukyanenko’s trilogy of sci-fi novels and directed by Timur Bekmambetov, who is widely renowned as Russia’s leading advertising and pop video director. The Kazakhstan-born director was at first very skeptical about creating a horror fantasy that would appeal to Russian audiences, but as he read the first book in the trilogy he saw great potential in the material. ‘I suddenly realised that Sergei had managed to distill magic, miracles, the transcendent and the supernatural into our way of life,’ he says. ‘The books became poetry. They were cool. They were funny.’

Bekmambetov wanted the film’s supernatural beings to seem menacing, but also to appear real. ‘Unlike in America, there were no fantasy movies shot in Russia, before this one,’ he explains. ‘So the only way for me to begin was to make everything very realistic, so the audience would believe in it enough to accept the fantasy.’

The director of more than 600 adverts made his feature debut in 1994 with The Peshawar Waltz, a film about the war in Afghanistan. He received Best Director and Best Ensemble at the Karlovy Vary International Festival. This lead to Bekmambetov working with the legendary Roger Corman on Gladiatn‘x in 2000, a remake of the low budget producer’s own 1974 gladiator film The Arena. ‘Roger gave me a sense of what filmmaking is. His secret of how to be creative is not to imitate the budgets of bigger films, but to get the maximum value from acting, style and story,’ he says.

Night Watch’s dazzling 400 special effects shots were produced by 42 effects houses located throughout Russia. ‘The idea was to make the effects feel very real, even invisible, so that you cannot always tell they are there,’ Bekmambetov explains. ‘We worked hard and tried to create an enthralling sight. We didn’t try to make a Hollywood CGI film.’

Yet Bekmambetov has already had Hollywood knocking at his door, with Fox Searchlight agreeing to pay more than $2 million each for Night Watch and its sequel Night Watch II: Chalk of Fate (originally called Day Watch). It

has also paid an undisclosed sum for a third part, to be filmed in English. ‘Russia has a unique opportunity to give birth to a myth,’ he says.

‘Cinema and computer games will become the carrier of this myth.’

I Night Watch is on general release from Fri 7 Oct. See review.

Ronald Harwood. cinematographer Pawel Edelman and designer Allan Starski.

Polanski‘s take. while eschewing the grim Gothic look and tone of the Lean film and the original book. does emphasise the harsh realities of working-class life in the 19th century big smoke. and more broadly the unforgiving nature of a class-dominated Victorian society. as filtered through Oliver's travails. To this end. Polanski and Han/vood have streamlined the meandering narrative of Dickens' second novel. which may horrify

for the filmmakers' purposes. All that said. this new Oliver Twist is no

' purists. but which works well enough

extraordinary beauty who drifted from

catwalk model to bOunty hunter during

her short and violent life, Domino is a dreadful disapointment. Richard Donnie Darko Kelly’s

, screenplay is a fantastical. incoherent fuzz while director Tony Scott tries and I fails to recapture the energy and fun of

his 1993 hit True Romance. Plotwise. all you need to know is that Domino (Keira Knightley) works

i alongside thug boss Ed (Mickey

Rourke). sexy Latino Choco (Edgar Ramirez) and Afghani driver Alf (Rizwan Abbasi). Things go awry when they do a job that gets them entangled with the Mafia.

The set up of Domino is a familiar one. as she recounts her life of crime in an attempt to save her own skin (shades of The Usual Suspects). And yet it's all a big mess from the crap soundtrack to

the excessive fast cuts and a flaccid ; narrative structure. which overdoses on the lame device of revealing key plot

points in hindsight. It is in Knightley. however. that Domino

finds a true nadir - she is completely

miscast in the titular role. It is a part that

calls for the ballsy beauty and I confidence of an Angelina Jolie or a

Lucy Liu. The fact that Liu plays an FBI

agent in the film makes the choice even

more galling. (Kaleem Aftab) I General release from Fri 74 Oct.


Ignore the crass computer game

: sounding title: Lord of War is the most

intelligent action film to come out of Hollywood since David O Russell's Three Kings. Writer/director Andrew Niccol penned The Truman Show. before directing Gattaca and S ImOne and in the process garnered a reputation for taking a subversive look

, at morally ambiguous subject matters.

Lord of the War is more of the same.

except this time. the film is set in the

present and Niccol aims his viewfinder

7 at the illegal arms trade.

Nicolas Cage is on top form playing

Ukrainian/American gunrunner Yuri i Orlav. We first meet him talking straight