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Ticket giveaway – The Taste Of Things

The Law Society Journal and Rialto Distributions have 10 double passes for the upcoming French drama, The Taste of Things. One of the most breathtaking French films of recent years, starring Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magime, The Taste of Things follows the story of Eugenie, a peerless cook who forms a special bond with the renowned gourmet Dodin.  Despite their exceptional culinary creations and romantic connection, Eugenie values her independence and resists Dodin’s wish for marriage. Their relationship takes a poignant turn when Dodin expresses his love through the intimate act of preparing a meal. In cinemas from May 2 via Rialto Distribution. Click here to watch the trailer.

For a chance to win one of the digital passes, email your LawID number to [email protected] with subject line THE TASTE OF THINGS

The Fall Guy

There is an ongoing but rather one-sided argument in the industry about including stunt achievement in the Academy Awards next to sound design and special effects. The argument goes like this – one side agrees stunt work is a vital part of filmmaking that needs and deserves recognition, and the other side is wrong.

So it’s delightful a film like The Fall Guy exists – a love letter to the art of stunt work in the form of a big studio crowd-pleaser and an A-list cast. The action is excellent, the actors have charisma, every beat comes at the correct minute and page of the script, and the stunt work is, in all fairness, impressive. So it’s disappointing The Fall Guy is not a good film.

The ridiculously named Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) is a stuntman who suffers a freak accident on set due to an unfortunate miscalculation. Several years later, the producer Gail (Hannah Waddingham) brings him back from retirement to fly to Sydney and help in the production of the directorial debut of Colt’s ex Jody (Emily Blunt), in jeopardy because the main star Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is MIA.

What follows are hijinks that serve as an excuse for some excellent stunt work. Colt starts the day beating the world record for most cannon rolls in a car (eight and a half, completed by the film’s stunt driver Logan Holladay), and by night, he’s uncovering a conspiracy in the underbelly of Sydney’s drug scene. There’s a car chase down the Harbour Bridge, through Elizabeth and Phillip Street, and a solid fight and shootout with Colt’s stunt friend Dan Tucker (Winston Duke). 

Director David Leitch cares so little about the mystery and the character development that those moments feel small and uninteresting; merely a place to give the audience some context on why Gosling is driving a boat through Sydney Harbour. Gosling has charisma and can be funny in a tongue-in-cheek way, and Blunt is so friendly she can find chemistry with every actor. Put her up against a wooden plank with the face of Steven Seagal, and Blunt will sell it as the greatest friendship ever filmed.

And maybe that’s why the scenes between the actions are so dull. It’s all so easy and processed that it reaches levels of diminishing returns. The jokes and the romance fall flat because it’s all ticking boxes from a screenwriting book for producers. The mystery is underwhelming, and it’s hard to care about its outcome.

And maybe that’s by design. Maybe Leitch wanted everything to focus on the stunt work, which, I repeat, is pretty impressive. That car chase down the Sydney CBD has some fantastic set pieces the film goes out of its way to show us, and the famous cannon roll at the beach deserves a standing ovation. The end credits roll with a heartfelt homage to all stuntmen and women because the film is for them and only them. But is it worth it?

I can’t falter Leitch for delivering precisely what’s in the tin, but I can blame the tin for being just that, flimsy with nothing more inside. The spectacle can be grandiose, but if I can replace the experience with projecting YouTube clips of Jackie Chan stunts on a big screen, then what are we even doing here?

Verdict: 2 out of 5
For fans of big action set pieces and nothing else. There are no ideas in The Fall Guy; just crash, boom, bang.