Back in January, we reported that Justin Kurzel—director of the terrifyingly real drama Snowtown—would be at the helm of Our Kind of Traitor with Ewan McGregor leading the cast. As the sophomore effort from the talented Australian director, the film’s script will be penned by Hossein Amini, scribe for Drive and Snow White and the Hunstman. It was rumored earlier in the year that Jessica Chastain, as well as some other Hollywood heavyweights would be joining the cast but until today nothing was a sure bet. But as of now it appears Ralph Fiennes and Mads Mikkelsen are in final talks to join the picture. Can we get an amen? Those two together. With McGregor. Come on.
Our Kind of Traitor tells the story of "an English couple who get mixed up with a Russian businessman who turns out to be an oligarch, and one of the world’s biggest money launderers. They get caught up in his plans to defect and are soon positioned between the Russian Mafia and the British Secret Service, neither of whom they can trust.” McGregor will be playing one half of the English couple with Mikkelson as the money-laundering Russian, and Fiennes as a UK government advisor.
The film is set to begin shooting this summer in Moscow, Marrakech, Paris, London, Switzerland, for a $35 million fee. Let’s hope for a swift shoot and speedy 2014 release.
Thanks to Vice, you can now watch Bear, a short film by Nash Edgerton that has been popping up at festivals around the globe. Edgerton writes, directs and stars once more as Jack, the short-sighted boyfriend character who first turned up in Spider, another jarring short. Both are about pranks that unfold not altogether according to plan.
Take a look at Spider first, if you like. It’s got more twists and sharp corners than Bear, but each follows a fairly similar plotline—Jack’s sense of humor takes him too far, and disaster follows. At a certain point you’ll be watching through your fingers. No surprise that Jack has a different girlfriend (Teresa Palmer) in the sequel.
Man, what is it about Australia (Edgerton’s home turf) that’s so skin-crawly? Between these short films and the stomach-knotting Snowtown Murders and the seamless sang-froid of Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty, I’m starting to see this continent as one to avoid at all costs. Even the accent is creeping me out these days.
2012 was an interesting year for cinema—whether it be Hollywood franchise blockbusters, independent stage-play-turned-comedies , or haunting and heartbreaking foreign dramas. In the first half of the year, we saw young filmmakers such as a Brit Marling, Benh Zeitlin, and Leslye Headland debut their innovative and fresh take on modern stories, with films that established them as unique new voices of independent American cinema. Hollywood staples David O. Russell, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, and Whit Stillman once again pleased audiences and won critical praise for their idiosyncratic features. And then there were the beautifully guttural foreign films from Michael Haneke, Miguel Gomes, and Leos Carax that constantly reinvent, not only what film can be, but the experiential nature of cinema as well.
So as the year draws to a close and we begin to anticipate next year’s film slate, here’s the best in BlackBook’s film coverage of the past twelve months—highlighting our favorite films of 2012 that will linger on in history and the one’s to breakout next year’s biggest stars.