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Director: Lynne Ramsay Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov, Judith Roberts Running Time: 90 minutes


He has a unique set of skills, but Joe, the driven murder machine of Lynne Ramsay’s stunning thriller You Were Never Really Here, is far from the typical one-man rampage and the film has much more than cheap kill thrills on its mind. Taking a standard grim and gritty action film plot and considering it with depth, melancholy and  honesty, this a film that prompts the question, once you’ve been ‘Taken’, can you ever really come back? And can the heroes tragic backstory truly push him forward or has it long-since pushed him over the edge, not a source of inspiration but a devastating destruction?

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For the last six years, the Silk Road Film Festival has steadily grown its reputation, showcasing international cinema and identifying diverse emerging talent from a variety of regions. The festival presents an exclusive selection of Asian, Arab, Persian, Middle Eastern, African, Mediterranean and European cinema from along the ‘Silk Road’, and returns this March for its latest edition.

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Director: Andrew Haigh Starring: Charlie Plummer, Steve Buscemi, Travis Fimmel, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Zahn Runtime: 121 Minutes

Lean On Pete is one of those rare films that values authenticity over sentimentality. No Hollywood sheen tints the lens. No overstated points on rural America’s current economic climate are made. No faux sense of understanding for the countryside’s cuts and bruises is offered up. Instead, Lean On Pete uses an understated approach, opting for honest storytelling over cheap mawkishness. The characters that occupy this land and the stories they tell are important to the filmmakers, yet nothing is ever overly dramatic or artificial.

It is here that we are introduced to Charley Thompson (Plummer); a young boy who traverses the blistering Oregon deserts to find his last known relative living thousands of miles away. Accompanying Charley on his journey is Lean On Pete, a failing racehorse who Charley forms a great bond with after securing a summer job in a local stables. Although it seems like a simple story on the outside, Lean On Pete is told with wonderful tenderness, compassion and sincerity, making for one of the most devastatingly beautiful movies of 2018.

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Director: David Freyne Starring: Ellen Page, Sam Keeley, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor Running Time: 96 minutes

The Cured picks up where most zombie movies end. Society has reintroduced some degree of normality. Hordes of ravenous undead have stopped terrorising the streets. People are beginning to feel safe in their own homes again. However, as communities begin rebuilding themselves, once infected citizens, now cured of their insatiable appetites, are re-introduced back onto the streets, much to the outrage and disdain of the masses. It is in this setting – the aftermath of the bloodshed – that The Cured chooses to tell its story, a story less concerned with jumping out from behind corners to scare you than it is with burrowing deep within your conscious and challenging you.

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Once a year, Dublin’s Cineworld showcases its centrepiece: its IMAX theater, with the ‘IMAX Film Festival‘. The selection of blockbusters, well suited to the biggest of big screens, is coming back this March, offering films fans the chance to see some popular blockbusters of the past year once again.

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Director: Lance Daly Starring: Hugo Weaving, James Frecheville, Stephen Rea, Freddy Fox, Barry Keoghan, Moe Dunford, Jim Broadbent Running Time: 96 minutes


For an event that had such a profound impact on the course of Irish history, the great tragedy and injustice from which Ireland’s entire subsequent history as a nation sprang forth from, it’s surprising that the Famine hasn’t found its story told on cinema screens, particularly Irish ones, more often. Director Lance Daly takes that task on in Black 47, last week’s Opening Gala of the 2018 Dublin International Film Festival. His approach is perhaps unexpected considering the subject matter, the film being a roaring rampage of revenge, internalising the anger and injustice of the Famine into one man’s quest for vengeance. Prestigous? No. But undoubtedly compelling.

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Director: Faith Akin Starring: Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Samia Chancrin Running Time: 106 minutes

In The Fade has a lot to offer its audience: a strong central performance from Diane Kruger, a moving story and compelling characters. Yet the film still lacks the power to stay with you once the credits roll. While easy to chew on throughout its reasonable runtime, director Faith Akin’s recent feature leaves you craving something a little more substantial.

The film, which won best foreign language feature at this year’s Golden Globes, tells the story of Katja (Diane Kruger), a German woman confronted with the tragic death of her husband and son following a terrorist attack. When suspects are discovered and brought to court, Katja battles with her need to exact revenge on the people who took her world from her. Should she leave the judicial system to their ways? Or, should she take matters into her own hands?

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The 2018 Audi Dublin International Film Festival kicks off tomorrow evening, and among the many high-profile films on shows, the premieres and the long-awaited international success stories are a number of exciting programmes celebrating both the storied past and the exciting future of film. One example of the former will be taking place at the Irish Film Institute this February, showcasing the work of a man who might be Ireland’s most successful and influential export to Hollywood. Even if he’s a name you might not have heard of.

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