London Fields: Director’s Cut

London Fields is riddled with controversy. Starting in 2001, writers and directors longed to bring Martin Amis’s prose to the big screen. When it was ready for release in 2015, director Matthew Cullen sued the producer for wearing a cut that he did not support. Except from a festival point of view, the film finally came out in 2018, where it became a critical bomb. Regardless of how you feel about Rotten Tomatoes as a system, setting 0% as the rating shows that something went very, very wrong along the way.
And it didn’t have to be that way. Looking at Cullen’s vision, there is a measured image of neo-noir nihilism at play here, detailing the turbulence and tyrannies suffered by the anguished Billy writer Bob Thornton, through a kaleidoscope of psychedelic imagery. A spaceship hovers over Johnny Nash’s single I Can See Clearly Now, juxtaposing a cylindrical journey into the extravagant. Thornton, mounted on a laptop and scared, delivers a surprisingly nuanced performance, among the images he sees of the irrepressible beautiful Amber Heard. It is true that I am predisposed to cuts by the director. Both Brazil and Batman V Superman benefited greatly from their original vision, marred by shorter run times. Richard Donner’s Superman II flew so much better when he shed the myriad jokes. Blade Runner was a film in a more cryptic tone when Ridely Scott re-cut the film, much to the delight of his fans. The same logic applies to Cullen, bringing a compelling story to the screens.
The clairvoyant femme fatale Nicola Six has been living with a dark premonition of her impending death by murder. She begins a love story with three different men, one of whom she knows will be her murderer. If there is a strange feeling of déjà vu, there should be. It stars Heard.
Much has changed in Heard’s life since 2015. He has been in the news twice for stories truer than celluloid. First, she and her partner Johnny Depp apologized for falsifying quarantine documents; second, they divorced Depp on accusations too horrible to repeat. Unintentionally, these stories have been for her performance, adding pathos, tragedy, and spice to a performance enhanced by Cullen’s excellent use of coloring. A slender “usually ends very badly with me” response betrays the demons that predict real life. Distressing, Heard never delivers less than a seductive performance in every scene.
Black and white televisions set the stage for a third world war. Heard wraps a bandage around the finger of a thug who knows full well he cares little for her. Thornton’s writer reads the pages alone, layered light jumping onto his face as he reads the narration. Cullen is a stylist cut in the same color as Michael Mann, London Fields shares many of its keys with Mann’s work of the eighties, Manhunter. There are dark abandoned hallways loaded with daylight demeanor that demonstrates the good and the bad in a room. Whenever the characters meet, their bodies stand out. Thornton and Heard share many scenes together, but they are always alone. Cinematographer Guillermo Navarro (Desperado, Jackie Brown, Pan’s Labyrinth) finds the fine line between horrible and entertaining, brimming with great visual cues in accompanying cuts.
However, there is fun behind the mass of bloody fingers. A soundtrack featuring Sia, Nick Cave, Brian Eno, Johnny Nash, Lykke Li, Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark, Dire Straits, Apparatjik and The London Philharmonic brings a collection of laid-back songs to the film, ensuring certain levels of Tarantino fun. . By adding twelve minutes to the runtime, Cullen ensures that Amis’s intricate story has more room to breathe and settle. It is a dazzling display of detail, demonstrating the ancient aphorism; the director always knows better

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