The Testament of Dr Mabuse

Fritz Lang’s film amounts to Weimar’s valedictory indictment of the terror and madness to come and has some remarkable moments.

Walk Softly, Stranger

Very nice idea, with lots of good dialogue, which, unfortunately, peters out. Joseph Cotten is terrific as the charming fraudster, trying to keep a lid on his secrets and prevent his true motives from being revealed.

Ten Days Wonder

Unusually heavy handed Claude Chabrol film. Orson Welles as God is terrific.

Secret Beyond the Door

The Freudian angle in Fritz Lang’s film, which at the time must have seemed novel and insightful, now appears utterly ridiculous. A disturbed man reconstructs rooms in which notorious murders have taken place. His latest creation is the bedroom of his new wife. Being understanding, she doesn’t run a mile but tries to help him by unlocking the secret childhood trauma that has turned him into such a grotesque weirdo.

Merci Pour le Chocolat

Another fascinating and compelling film from Claude Chabrol, clarifying other themes in his work, such as the emotional retardation of intellectuals and how we aren’t who we think we are.

La Fleur de Mal

‘Why do the poor always have the meanest dogs?' Claude Chabrol takes another adroit pop at the hypocrisy and deceit of the French bourgeoisie.

La Cérémonie

Claude Chabrol irons out the weaknesses in Ruth Rendell’s A Judgement in Stone – such as Jean’s religious fanaticism and Giles’ precocious intellectualism – and makes one of his best films, a worthy addition to the sub-genre inspired by the case of the notorious Papin sisters.

Jackie Brown

Tarantino’s best film, a smart and effective interpretation of Elmore Leonard’s Rum Punch.

Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha

First in Takashi Miike’s series. Too messy and gratuitous for me. Funny ending.


Another great film from the wonderful and oblique Takeshi Kitano.

To Live and Die in L.A.

Flashy, vacuous cops and robbers thriller from William Friedkin. Mostly obnoxious. Willem Dafoe is good.

The Brink’s Job

Disappointingly conventional heist film from William Friedkin, not salvaged by its stellar cast – Peter Falk, Warren Oates, Peter Boyle, Gena Rowlands, Paul Sorvino. The events on which the film is based are a lot more interesting than Friedkin suggests.


Takeshi Kitano’s yakuza film is relentlessly violent and utterly brilliant.