J.A. Bayone, who is set to direct the next Jurassic Park movie, has already proven himself as a director for me. A few years ago he brought us the overwhelmingly emotional disaster drama ‘The Impossible’. I thought he did a wonderful job with this film and due to this any future film with his name attached to it will receive my attention. His latest effort, ‘A Monster Calls’ has created quite the buzz at the film festivals and is set for release early next year. With a star studded cast could Bayone succeed once more?
He certainly has as ‘A Monster Calls’ will be a very special piece of film making for many people. The narrative deals with sensitive issue of illness and it’s effect on those suffering from it both directly and indirectly through relationship. The narrative is well constructed offering more than just a single story but one which features many, but all having relevance to the overall story. As to be expected when dealing with such a delicate subject matter the story is a very emotional one, it isn’t sentimental for the sake of it but instead there is a really natural emotional core running throughout the film. Many viewers will find themselves watching through blurred eyes thanks to the tears provoked by the film. As a result of the engaging emotion present and the several different elements of storytelling ‘A Monster Calls’ has a steady pace and you won’t be aware of the time passing. The only complaints some might have with the narrative may be the want for more concrete answers to some elements. This didn’t particularly bother me as I thought it opened up the film for discussion and interpretation but I know this type of narrative can cause issue with some.
As I have mentioned the cast for the film is full of well known names from the film industry. Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones and Toby Kebbell all feature in the movie. They fulfill the supporting roles and don’t have masses amounts of screen time individually but they perform well in their roles and contribute to an all round strong performance from the cast. It’s youngster Lewis MacDougall and Liam Neeson who take up the leading roles. This is only MacDougall’s second feature film and believe me he has come far from the travesty that was last year’s ‘Pan’. Here he performs with an authenticity that makes the audience believe he really is the character he is playing, Conor O’Malley. Once again I’m dumbfounded by the ability of such a young actor, MacDougall clearly has a busy career ahead of him thanks to his work here. He has a great chemistry with Liam Neeson as well, easier said than done considering Neeson voices a CGI tree like monster in the film. Neeson does very well here too, using his voice to bring about fear, frustration, comfort and guidance with equal effect. The graphics used to create his character are impressive and the sequences that require more of these effects stand up well against the current quality in cinemas.
‘A Monster Calls’ is a film worth looking forward into next year for. It combines a touching narrative with good supporting, and powerful lead performances to make for an effortlessly engaging watch. Bayona has once again proven that he knows how to direct stories full of emotion but also sequences of action and of drama. I’m very much anticipating his future work but I’m more than happy to enjoy ‘A Monster Calls’ for the time being but also I’m sure many times more in years to come.
Rating – 8.5/10
Question: What is your favourite Liam Neeson role from a movie?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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