Dive reports in from the Glasgow Film Festival with a look at THE RAID!!!
I’m coming at you from the ever beautiful yet perpetually wet Glasgow. (For those of you who don’t know, it’s in Scotland). This year marks the 8th annual Glasgow Film Festival and I am actually here to be apart of it. Me, a kid from Iowa who has never even been to a film festival back in the States. Well I guess I did go to Bonnaroo but that’s a music festival that happens to feature a movie tent so I’m not going to count that.
Oh right, you have absolutely no idea who I am. The name’s David Rowley but you can just call me Dive. Why Dive? I’ll make the story short and just say after a spot of Scotch I tend to desire a new identity which led to the grossly mispronunciation of David and an even worse Scottish-Irish hybrid accent.
Anyway…Glasgow Film Festival. This is quickly becoming on the primer film festivals in Scotland as well as the UK. What once saw 6,000 in attendance its first year – eight years ago – has now raised to 34,000 attendees last year with 42% of that number travelling from outside Glasgow. I know that’s a little bit of newsy nonsense but that’s pretty damn impressive if you ask me. (I know you didn’t ask me…quiet!)
So here I am attempting to cover this festival, something I have never done before. You see the reason I’m here in Scotland is because I’m studying at the University of Glasgow. That was my initial in to the festival. The other was receiving an email from Harry saying he’d help me get accredited so I could see as many films as possible. I was laughing at myself when I emailed him the offer to send my coverage of the festival so when I got his response to go for it I was shocked. But enough gushing.
So what have I done with this opportunity? Well in no time at all I’ve managed to shoot myself in the foot. I broke the press coverage cardinal rule: Don’t piss off the people running the event.
After I heard back from Harry, I sent the GFF my credentials and all the information required for accreditation. I was told email was better than coming in and dropping off the paperwork. Makes sense. A few days go by and I haven’t heard anything, but there’s still two weeks before the festival starts so I wait. Another day or two pass and I resend the information mentioning I had sent things in already but perhaps they didn’t go to the right people. A week goes by and still no response. I send a third email explaining the festival begins in a week and I need to hear a response – yes or no – if I’m getting accredited.
It was after this third email I got a response from the coordinator of the press information and boy was it surly. She told me that at no time do they say they will respond quickly to emails (the website for the festival does, in fact, say they will respond in a timely manner) and not every person will be accredited (again, fully aware of that). After a serious text-lashing she concluded by offering me two tickets to a select list of films. Call me crazy but there is no way to cover a festival only seeing two movies.
Fortunately, the coordinator has an intern working with her. I found this young woman’s contact information and have since been talking with her about possibly getting in a few more films. At this point she has not yet been able to increase my tickets but she has alerted me to a few press screenings and the option of bowing a few of the festival films on DVD.
All in all this has been a rather eye opening experience for me. I’ve managed to make it to a few screenings thus far including The Raid and the festival’s opening film Your Sister’s Sister. When I arrived at the first press screening I had to sign in and got to meet the woman who – I presume – would rather me not be in attendance; “Oh so you’re David…” Yea, that’s not the greeting you want to hear. But I just push forward and do my best to avoid her and when I can’t do that smile like I’ve been huffing Joker’s laughing gas.
Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to cover more of this festival because it really is quite extraordinary with some wonderful films being shown. There’s something in the air here in Glasgow as everyone you seem to pass has a film on their tongue they’ve either just seen or will being seeing in the next week.
Enjoy the reviews and it’s been a pleasure making your acquaintance,
In perhaps one of the most anticipated films of the Glasgow Festival The Raid does not disappoint. From the first frame of the ticking watch it is clear that as long as this film may have been it seems so much longer. With a colour scheme that matches the hazy shades of winter, writer/director Gareth Evans creates some of the most heart-pumping action that has not been seen since the arrival of Tony Jaa and Ong-bak. But what that film lacked in story The Raid delivers, taking the time to make the account interesting. Yes, the action and choreography is brilliant but by the end of the film these characters deserve more than just to die for the audience’s entertainment.
In the heart of the Jakarta’s slums there is a colossal safe house inhabited by the some of the worlds most dangerous and ruthless killers and gangsters among other junkies and peasants. The apartment is understood to house these types but it remains untouchable to even the most courageous, albeit foolish, police officials. Rama (Iko Uwais) is a young member of the police force two months away from becoming a father. He is one of the few “good cops” still remaining in an otherwise corrupt system. In the cover of dawn’s darkness he and 19 other members of the SWAT team approach the safe house with the intent of bringing down the crime lord living inside its walls.
Easily manoeuvring their way up to the fifth level it seems this team is better prepared than their fresh faces might imply. Their fortune quickly turns when a young spotter who manages to utter the word “Police” into an intercom before a bullet rips through his neck finds them. Soon a trap is sprung as the lights cut out and the 20 men are locked within the walls of this hell. With no way of communicating outside the complex they are left with one option: Finish their job and find the crime lord or die trying.
From the very second this film starts until the credits finish it’s impossible not to become invested in what’s on the screen. The first shot of a watch sitting on Rama’s nightstand means more by the end of the film than it does at the beginning for it signifies how quickly things can turn and change in a way never considered. As a police officer things can obviously go bad in a hurry but an entire tenement against 20 isn’t the sort of foe you’d wake up in the morning thinking about.
What makes this movie so exciting is the phenomenal fight choreography led by Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian. In the film these two actors are pit against one another; Uwais on the side of the police force and Ruhian on the side of the crime lord. As soon as these two actors are seen on screen it becomes very clear they are the most experienced fighters of the Pencak silat fighting style. This isn’t to say the other actors on screen disappoint because each extra performs exceptionally; these characters cause audiences to shift in their seats. Every frame featuring Uwais or Ruhian shows these two leading every fight. They seem more reactive, more willing to risk their own body’s to get the best sort of shot. The reality of their style makes it seem that they could have been easily injured after ever sequence.
The really interesting feature of this fighting style is how well it works to develop the story. Sometimes with the martial arts beat-em-up story the scenes come off very contrived. This is not the case in The Raid. When out of ammo or lacking a knife, reliance on your own abilities becomes absolutely necessary to survive. Ultimately this style is not one of offensive manoeuvring but self-defence. Even those unfamiliar with this style of fighting or martial arts in general can take note of this, particularly when Uwais is in the scene. Though relatively small in stature his strength comes from using his opponents momentum against them. If the enemy is lunging at Uwais, rather than simply blocking he redirects his foe into a concrete wall or better yet a serrated edge to end the brawl more quickly.
In the fight sequences involving Ruhian he also uses his enemy’s advances against them but he also makes sure to constantly be within inches of them. Any time there is more than a foot separation between him and an opponent Ruhian is loosing the battle. Where Uwais is small, Ruhian is tiny; from behind one might confuse him with a child though they’d soon regret it. By keeping so close to the adversary Ruhian eliminates the advantage height and reach usually provide during a fight. Add on the sheer speed of attacks and it makes absolute sense Ruhian would be able to contend with multiple challengers simultaneously.
It has been a while since an action movie has come along that blows audiences away. More often it seems they get described as “entertaining” but rarely a good or quality movie. The Raid not only packs a punch but also takes time necessary to develop the character enough that you root for their survival rather than the next opportunity to show off their fighting chops. This is a film that not only should be seen but also ought to be seen in a packed theatre. So log onto your interwebs and find out when The Raid is making it to a multiplex in your area and get your tickets. And if you’re of the unfortunate bunch living in a place that will never show this epic movie well then it’s time to start planning a road trip to find it.
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Feb. 18, 2012, 3:37 p.m. CST
Feb. 18, 2012, 3:37 p.m. CST
Feb. 18, 2012, 4:25 p.m. CST
I'm looking forward to this film... too BAD the AMERICAN remake will be shot and put out in more theaters before the original does!
by MOOMBA is HERE
MOOMBA HAS SPOKAAAAAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111111
Feb. 18, 2012, 4:35 p.m. CST
Feb. 18, 2012, 4:43 p.m. CST
by paul burnett
..due to my Edinburgh accent! This was a couple of months after Trainspotting hit so i couldn't really argue.. Nice article by the way Dive, good luck!
Feb. 18, 2012, 4:48 p.m. CST
Get to the point, man. You're not Harry.
Feb. 18, 2012, 4:49 p.m. CST
by paul burnett
Dive is as happy as a pig in shit, it comes over in his writing!
Feb. 18, 2012, 4:53 p.m. CST
Can be snooty at times. Filmhouse is normally friendlier. Hey, so what if I'm from Ed? :P
Feb. 18, 2012, 5:07 p.m. CST
by Anthony Torchia
got Coneheads on the brain This film was spiritually made 40 years ago, if that means what I want it to mean
Feb. 18, 2012, 6:16 p.m. CST
Feb. 18, 2012, 7:16 p.m. CST
Feb. 18, 2012, 9:06 p.m. CST
I AM A GLASWEIGEN BORN AND BRED,FISRT OF ALL U MEAN PUBS , WE DONT CALL THEM BARS.AND THERE IS NO WAY U WOULD BE REFUSED FROM A PUB BECAUSE OF AN ACCENT,ONLY REASON U WOULD BE REFUSED ENTRY IS IF U WERE ALREADY DRUNK OR BEHAVING LIKE A WANKER.BELIEVE ME IVE BEEN DRINKING IN GLASGOW FOR 20 YEARS.
Feb. 18, 2012, 9:25 p.m. CST
GREAT REPORT,GREAT U LET PEOPLE KNOW GLASGOW IS IN SCOTLAND,PITY U DIDNT LET THE DUMB YANKS KNOW WERE SCOTLAND IS.....
Feb. 19, 2012, 1:04 a.m. CST
Good report, Dive. I'll definitely look for "The Raid" when it comes out in theaters. Sounds like a pretty kickass film. I'm realizing I also need to visit Scotland...
Feb. 19, 2012, 3 a.m. CST
If it's not Scottish, it's crap!!!
Feb. 19, 2012, 3:45 a.m. CST
NO ONE RATTLED MY CAGE.MOST YANKS THINK WE LIVE IN CASTLES AND PLAY BAG PIPES EVERYDAY.AND HOLLYWOOD WOULDNT KNOW A SCOTSMAN FROM A CHINAMAN.ILL GIVE U COUPLE EXAMPLES,MRS DOUBTFIRE THE ENTIRE MOVIE SPEAKS WITH A SCOTTISH ACCENT THEN AT THE END TELLS THE KID SHES ENGLISH,TOTAL I NSULT TO SCOTLAND,THE UNTOUCHABLES SEAN CONEREY TALKS WITH AN EDINBURAH SCOTTISH ACCENT THE WHOLE MOVIE,YET HES SUPPOSED TO BE IRISH...ETC ....ETC
Feb. 19, 2012, 4:31 a.m. CST
Ease up, there. Drop the caps, check your spelling and then you might let the rest of the world know we're not that angry. I get incredibly frustrated at the attitude of come non-Scots (yes, particularly Americans) at how we are percieved but yer hardly helping our case. We're not in castles but neither are we all alcoholic drug addicts in Muirhouse either. And, even though I'm fae Edinburgh, ya radge, Glasgow does have a shitload of great bars. GFT is a nice venue but the few times I've been there I felt the atmos was a little heavier than the Filmhouse. But the few times I've been there are likely not indicative of what the place is really like.
Feb. 19, 2012, 6:25 a.m. CST
by paul burnett
You come across like the Irvine Welsh character 'Blind Cunt'. You know, an annoying petty prick.
Feb. 19, 2012, 8:10 a.m. CST
by Col. Tigh-Fighter
http://cache.ohinternet.com/images/thumb/f/f5/CapsLock.jpg/618px-CapsLock.jpg And Billy Connelly is still a po-faced, miserable cuny lol. Takes one to know one. Amirite?
Feb. 19, 2012, 8:19 a.m. CST
Moomba knows not what he's talking about. Sony Pictures Classics will roll out The Raid in US theaters starting March 23rd. New York and LA to start, rolling out from there. Madman is doing Australia at the same time. Alliance in Canada, Momentum in the UK, etc etc etc.
Feb. 19, 2012, 11:19 a.m. CST
Went on Jan 2nd for my honeymoon, stayed at the Glasshouse Inn right next to the new theater complex. Rented a car and drove out to the highlands on the day you had that terrible wind storm and found downed trees, closed bridges, and the nicest people I have met anywhere. I truly enjoyed my time in Scotland, it was a dream for me to visit. The food (I even ate haggis pie), the people, and yes even the intense winds, rain and blizzard (that was a treat for a first time right side of the car driver), didn't at all deter me from wanting to visit again someday. What a great country. I felt so welcomed as an American.
Feb. 19, 2012, 11:20 a.m. CST
Garth Evans is the real deal, he's bringing camera work to martial arts filmmaking that's reminiscent of MGM musicals. He swings in and around the action in a way that complements and enhances it. Shooting fights clearly, the moves make sense without the hide-the-actor's-incompetence-or-the-stuntman's-face hyper-edited style of most western fights. And if you watch closely, he gives the camera little shakes to go along with the impacts of punches and kicks. It's a little detail, but it works fantastically....
Feb. 19, 2012, 12:09 p.m. CST
The festival also has a film called Electric Man. Which I have had the privilege to see. It is awesome, and if you can you should check it out.
Feb. 19, 2012, 1:23 p.m. CST
by Lynne Livingstone
One of my happiest places in Glasgow. Beautiful art deco venue, great films and definitely non-snooty atmosphere. All ages welcome. Come alone or with friends - nae bother! Glasgow is a real film-loving city. According to mum, everybody always went to 'the pictures' in Glasgow.
Feb. 19, 2012, 2:19 p.m. CST
my younger brother, a USN atomic sub commander was stationed on the northern Scottish coast for 3 years. He kept inviting us to come visit, buuut unfortunately we could never work it in. Harry was a guest of the Edinburgh Film Festival though...
Feb. 19, 2012, 2:22 p.m. CST
They spell it "colour" in Iowa? That's news to me. Nice review though.
Feb. 19, 2012, 4:22 p.m. CST
by Majin Fu
Recently watched Elite Squad: The Enemy Within. Brilliant cop thriller, but not very many judo throws...or flying kicks. Cop movies tend to be better with flying kicks. I'll just have to settle for Police Story until The Raid comes out I guess... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2maA1-mvicY
Feb. 20, 2012, 2:31 a.m. CST
by James Meaney
Feb. 20, 2012, 4:21 a.m. CST
Sounds like gilding the lily!
Feb. 20, 2012, 12:42 p.m. CST
I studied Pentjak Silat Serak for about eleven years, but that style seems different from what I see in the coming attractions. The term Silat is a lot like the term "Kung Fu" in that it actually describes an entire family of arts, often island or tribal arts from across the Indonesian archepeligo. The question I have is: which form of Silat is this? Sure looks cool, and I'm sure I'll recognize some of the signature movements anyway. Can't wait.
Feb. 20, 2012, 10:44 p.m. CST
and it seems like a lot of the same team. It's on Netflix instant...
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