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.

The Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic-Beasts-The-Crimes-of-Grindelwald-Movie-Poster

The Crimes of Grindelwald

A curious film, one to categorize under 'part of a series' than self-contained. But you sit down to these 'multiverse' sagas from Marvel and Warner Bros. (et al) expecting the cliff-hanger concept that really belongs to TV shows. With this expectation, I entered the dark cinema an intrepid explorer like Eddie Redmayne's Newt Scamander, doubtful but ready for the adventure.

The Crimes of Grindelwald gives us the cliff-hanger, but it remains a film whose parts are greater than its sum. Jude Law's Dumbledore is upliftingly lovely, his backstory with Grindelwald poignantly suggestive of a love that dare not speak its name. Elsewhere, the number of characters and subplots felt like frantic, impressively controlled plate-spinning – Harry Potter: Subplots Agogo, perhaps. There are at least four love-arcs and another more peripheral. Eddie Redmayne is interesting as the anti-leading man, neither protagonist nor antagonist, just a pleasantly amiable, gentle individual, wary of human politics but ready enough to join the good fight in spite of his initial reservations.

The film's strengths, indeed, are the adult-like engagements with this wizarding world. In Harry Potter, we got a child's perspective of an adult world; the adults seemed intriguing but we never delved into their perspectives, that was never the point. As a result, we got villains like Voldemort, dehumanized with snake-like faces that you wondered why more of his supporters didn't turn to each other and say, in the style of Mitchell and Webb, 'Are we the bad guys?' Not so in The Crimes of Grindelwald; Johnny Deep is a stylishly more believable and unsettling villain, making speeches that he's deduced different audiences will want to hear. The Crimes of Grindelwald projects an imagining of a wizarding world as experienced by adults.

Which isn't to say the film works as a story. Arguably its greatest problem is Ezra Miller's character Credence, so peripheral and distant as a character and yet crucial to the plot, as different sides vie for his attention. The film might have benefitted from a Lord of the Rings-style introduction, reminding us of his impact in the previous film – if we're going to go 'TV-cliff-hanger,' we may as well embrace it. This is part of another issue: so many potentially beguiling characters become marginalized by shared screen time: Claudia Kim's Nagini owns the camera every time she's on screen but we barely get to know her; a potential love triangle with Zoe Kravitz's Leta Lestrange and the two Scamander brothers can only suggest, rather than explore, fraught emotional possibilities. And as for Newt Scamander's love interest, Tina, played by Katherine Waterston, she barely says a word. Of a big character reveal at the end, meanwhile, I have to admit, I'm not sure I understood it, as it kind of comes from nowhere, like a bad soap opera mixed with Scooby-Doo.

Confusion reigns, then, as a conveyor belt of interesting characters flash before our eyes, like a sushi bar on speed. At the film's end I left the auditorium to overhear a guy telling his friend: 'That was absolute nonsense.' Later I listened to Mark Kermode's podcast review, describing the film as capturing nice moments on too broad and bunched-up a canvas. Yes, all these things but also finally this: there's a cuteness in The Crimes of Grindelwald that I found missing in the Marvel Universe, the small (and not so small) fluffy animals are winsome, and it's a relief to not have the screen time split between Robert Downey Junior's snarkiness and Chris Evans basketball-bounce his Star-Spangled grimness in the name of truth. A messy, sometimes cute, occasionally confusing slice of stardust, not the worst of its kind, but not the clearest either.

Widows
Bohemian Rhapsody
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Guest
Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Captcha Image

My Latest Posts

June 14, 2021

An androgynous orgasm: Fashion Beast by Alan Moore

in Books

An androgynous orgasm: Fashion Beast by Alan Moore The images of this story become like memories of another life, maybe what's to come, Gina making do in a fascist state and looking good in spite of everything, a version of me, a cosmic cousin. Like the time I wrote about Cloud City in a film from my childhood, the cosmos conjures certain plac...
June 09, 2021

Retreating from gender-critical feminism: my reflections

Retreating from gender-critical feminism: my reflections Some months back, I reached out to the people who were meant to be my enemies: gender-critical feminists. I was worn down and had had enough of the media attacks and the hate, the JK Rowling furore and GRA reform, the weekly articles questioning our intentions and validity. I was worn down by...
May 02, 2021

When Renata Carvalho spoke at Edinburgh Transgender Intersectional/International (2019)

In 2019, I was part of a conference that invited the travesti actress and activist Renata Carvalho - star of Jo Clifford's 'The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven' on its touring production in Brazil - to come over from Brazil as our keynote speaker. We originally uploaded the speech on our conference website, but with that w...
December 22, 2020

Lacanian Icarus: when Gina flew too close to the sun?

On the recent experience of nearly being no-platformed There are two identities in one when it comes to being part of a disempowered minority. The first is for yourself: all your failings, your insecurities, your doubts, and connected to this, your curiosity and quirks. Let's be Lacanian analysts for a moment: what we're talking about is the transg...
November 17, 2020

Trans Hell-thcare

The picture accompanying this post is important to me. I took it yesterday, 16 November 2020, unsure what I'd find. It's been nearly eleven months since I came off oestrogen for reasons I'll get into in a moment. Undoubtedly this has had an effect on me, bodily and therefore psychologically, but the accompanying selfie gives me a reassura...
July 01, 2020

Silenced by The Scotsman

On 11 June 2020, 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 expe...
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 15, 2020

My 2020 Vision

My 2020 Vision I've been away for so long from these postings, don't be offended. I used to write three times a week, because I needed to, in the maelstrom of early transitioning. Now, things are calmer, my gender feels more normal, we've reached the point where it's all about finishing my PhD in Trans Female Representations in the Americas this su...