Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.

27.01.17 Ghost in the Shell

27.01.17 Ghost in the Shell

27/01/17, Ghost in the Shell (1995)

It came and went in a single night on special release; I was lucky to catch even that. Having turned up casually at the Cameo asking for a ticket for Ghost in the Shell, I was told it had sold out days before. I stayed in the lobby until the trailers were finished and with a few seats untaken, the staff let me join their exclusive audience.

I was right at the front of a small-screen room. That might explain the effect of the film on me. Ghost in the Shell is a hypnotic, murky anime of constant seriousness and flat emotion. There is plenty of exposition. At one point, I think I fell asleep. I like varied emotions. I can love a plot-heavy film without getting its plot, as long as the emotions are in full orchestral strings and horns and loving harps and the gentlest triangles at silent moments. I watched Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011) at least three times before getting the story, but I loved it, Benedict Cumberbatch and Gary Oldman, playing three-dimensional chess against Colin Firth, Toby Jones and others, with cool emotional cameos from the likes of Tom Hardy and Cathy Burke, and silent ambiguity from Mark Strong. I bring up this latter film of humanity mixed with plots, because Ghost in the Shell is mainly a one-tone movie, especially regarding the characters. There is a kind of beauty to the main protagonist, the sexy, largely impenetrable cyborg agent Motoko Kusinagi. She works with other cyborg agents against villainous cyborg agents. Speech is minimalist, largely used for profound or melancholic reflections. It is how simulated humans might act with sufficient self-awareness.

This is both the strength and weakness of Ghost in the Shell. It doesn't give you a traditional boy-meets-girl or cops n' robbers. The characters are not inhuman, but they could be described as a-human. There's a detachment to them that may well depict a cyborg world, and it isn't quite of our world. At the end, I felt emotionally uninvolved and I was glad I had chewing gum to keep me awake. It shows you a world simultaneously of greater technological complexity, and a deadening emotional simplicity, and to its haunting soundtrack you find yourself watching without attachment, as if you too are a cyborg.
31.01.17 Trainspotting 2
20.01.17 Silence


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Thursday, 24 September 2020

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

July 01, 2020

Silenced by The Scotsman

​ On 11 June, The Scotsman published a deeply hostile article against transgender rights and activism in an opinion piece about the JK Rowling furore by its deputy political editor Gina Davidson. After much distress, I wrote a counter article which The Scotsman quietly ignored, after they had offered to pass it on to their Comment Editor. I experie...
May 11, 2020

The Book of Queer Prophets, curated by Ruth Hunt

in Books

  The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion The historically fraught relationship between Abrahamic religions and LGBT+ identities provides the backdrop to The Book of Queer Prophets , a collection of twenty-four meditations by public figures who identify as both religious and LGBT+. The book's curator, the for...
May 09, 2020

Queer/Transgender short film: Mesmeralda

Joshua Matteo's short film, Mesmeralda , merging horror with esoterica, is now out on youtube . As with his previous work Metanoia , we see youthful trans actors racing through the empty streets of a moonlit New York, haunted by symbols and stalked by a masked figure of violent intentions. Mesmeralda , as described by Matteo, is the companion ...
March 08, 2020

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare Summer, 2016: Gina's Big Bang, as transitioning begins A bureaucratic question in a sun-lit room. My medical practitioner asks me if I intend to have children. The question lingers, but the self-loathing is instant. No, I won't be having children. The practitioner nods. She moves on to the n...
November 10, 2019

General Election

General Election 12 December 2019 I spent the last election in an office, alone but for the company of a colleague. We watched the BBC's coverage while I drank wine, downbeat and expecting austerity and the absence of hope to triumph. Then we saw the exit poll and hung around, disbelieving at the sight of the kindled embers and lukewarm glow of a f...
October 05, 2019


October 05, 2019


Joker The trailer did its work, flashing images of anomie and fury perfectly pitched for these unstable times of precarious working conditions, grievance and institutional indifference. For these same reasons, Joker , directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the protagonist, has attracted pre-release criticisms like few other recen...
September 29, 2019

Resisting Whiteness event 2019

Resisting Whiteness one-day event, Edinburgh Returning for the second consecutive year, Resisting Whiteness came yesterday to the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh, providing an intense and inspiring series of panels, as well as a wonderful spoken word section, and a final segment based around the documentary short Invisible by internationally-acclaim...
August 21, 2019

Hearty by Emma Frankland

Hearty by Emma Frankland Raw and dripping with punk aesthetic, this one-woman-show's one-woman emerges in ripped tights and a T-shirt that paraphrases loudly the words of anti-trans theorist Germaine Greer: Lop Your Dick Off. My first impression of Emma Frankland is edgily uncertain and in awe, her Lady-Gaga-looks combined with Heath Ledger's mesme...
August 21, 2019

Pronoun, Pass, & Amnesty International

Transgender drama: Pronoun To be clear at the outset, this was the production of a youth theatre group, not a highly resourced team of experienced, professional career actors – although some of the performances left a powerful impression, and the show as a whole achieved some remarkable moments. Pronoun , written by Evan Placey, follows the transit...