The Winter Lake – shot in Sligo – is a tense psychological thriller

Too much government is a bad thing, judge Ross Ulbricht (Nick Robinson), a twenty-first century libertine who puts his political convictions into action by inventing the Silk Road (15A), a “dark web” site on which anything can be sold – albeit mostly, ultimately, narcotics.

Using Bitcoin and Tor, and thus ensuring the anonymity of his rapidly expanding customer base, Ulbricht creates “an Amazon for drugs” and gradually attracts the attention of Rick Bowden (Jason Clarke), a DEA agent whose methods the old one are supposed to be obsolete. in a world dominated by the latest technologies. Adapted by writer-director Tiller Russell from David Kushner’s 2014 feature Rolling Stone, the story presents Ulbricht as a naive idealist who invented the Silk Road in an attempt to change the world, but who quickly finds himself uncovered outside from him.

It’s a generous read to say the least, and it means Ulbricht’s descent from idealistic entrepreneur to Scarface-style thug is a bit too rushed to ring true, even if Nick Robinson is aptly portrayed as the haughty and cocky provocateur. who is somewhat surprised to learn that a website that thrives on the sale of illegal drugs could quickly be colonized by traffickers selling heroin and crystal meth. The Rick Bowden story, which is loosely based on that of a real-life DEA agent, offers a more satisfying arc: the grizzled Bowden, played as a barely functioning burnout by Clarke, is much more pragmatic on its own limits and doesn’t attempt to refine its greed and ambition by dressing it with philosophical concepts.

Tiller Russell’s screenplay investigates the two main characters for what they represent as much as who they are, and the result is a stimulating drama that satirizes the fundamental human flaws of Ulbricht’s online utopia while being mocking Sisyphus’ waste of the war on drugs. . (digital platforms)

The Winter Lake ****

The Winter Lake: a tense Irish thriller

Winter lake (15A) opens rather grimly, with English teenager Tom (Anson Boon), recently moved to North West Ireland with his mother Elaine (Charlie Murphy), rummaging through the fields looking old sheep skulls. When he discovers a bag containing a baby’s skeleton in a seasonal lake, Tom is first shocked, then darkly elated, and it’s no surprise that Elaine reminds Tom, who seems very fond of sharp blades. , that they were forced to move to Ireland because of its latest ‘mess’.

With the character of Tom locked and loaded, writer David Turpin introduces Holly (Emma Mackey), a confident teenager who lives on the nearby farm with her father, Ward (Michael McElhatton), and who seems inexplicably eager to cultivate a friendship with the sullen, incommunicating Tom …

Don’t be fooled by the grim countryside setting (the movie was shot in Sligo): Winter lake is a pure black, with the bull-headed Tom as the flawed and seductive hero and Holly as the femme fatale whose background dates back to Medea. Director Phil Sheerin eschews the usual black conventions – instead of dramatic chiaroscuro, for example, the lighting here is entirely naturalistic, befitting the drab rural backdrop – and instead focuses on tightening the screw. emotional, drawing the respective parents, Elaine and Ward, into a plot that wields all the malignant gravity of a black hole.

The result is an impressive feature debut by Sheerin, a tense psychological thriller that mixes social realism and coming-of-age tropes into the classic noir script, with Anson Boon and Emma Mackey brilliantly gawky and emotionally groping as the teenager leads. (digital platforms)

The Adventures of Wolfboy ***

Eve Hewson in The Adventures of Wolfboy
Eve Hewson in The Adventures of Wolfboy

The Adventures of Wolfboy (12A) stars Jaeden Martell as Paul, a 12-year-old who suffers from congenital hypertrichosis, which results in abnormal hair growth on his body and face. When his father Denny (Chris Messina) tries to protect Paul from his daily humiliations by sending him to a special school, Paul eventually breaks down and sets off on a hike across the country to find the mother who abandoned him while ‘he was a baby.

Here, finally, Paul meets people as weird and wonderful as he is: the carnival owner Mr. Silk (John Turturro), the mermaid Aristiana (Sophie Giannamore) and the pirate queen Rose (Eve Hewson, sporting an eye patch. very attractive) which leads Paul unwittingly into an impromptu criminal madness. Writer Olivia Dufault plays up the fantastical elements of Paul’s Odyssey, introducing each new episode as if it were a chapter from a fairy tale book and populating Paul’s world with devils, dragons and similar alien creatures, which makes Paul something of a Latter-day Pinocchio as he heads towards what he hopes will be a salutary encounter with his mother.

Director Martin Krejcí frames the story with a deliberately prosaic surrealism reminiscent of David Lynch’s early work, offering a simple yet charming celebration of diversity and difference. (digital platforms)

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