It’s October time yet again, and in the English film industry that means one thing: Hollywood is once again coming to London in the guise of the BFI London Film Festival. While not quite holding the same reputation as other festivals such as Cannes, Venice or Sundance, it has still become a core date in the film calendar, and gives the chance for two, or three weeks to see some of Hollywood’s biggest stars here in London.
This year’s festival opens with a homegrown number – ‘The Imitation Game’ – starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the famous Alan Turing, meaning anyone around Leicester Square on the 8th has the chance to spot Sherlock Holmes himself, Kiera Knightly, and Royal Holloway alumnus Mark Strong all in the flesh. However, it’s the festivals closing film which will really see Hollywood come to town, with Brad Pitt’s ‘Fury’, a World War 2 epic about a tank squadron surrounded and outnumbered, having the pleasure of ending the festival.
But it’s not just the bookends that are worth mentioning, as there is plenty to see in between. Alan Rickman steps behind the camera as director for ‘A Little Chaos’, a period drama starring Kate Winslett, while ‘The Drop’ looks to be one of the most exciting films of the festival with the superb Tom Hardy and late James Gandolfini starring. For those more inclined to artistic indie films, there is also a new flick by the enigma that is Gregg Araki, starring Shaleigh Woodley in ‘White Bird in a Blizzard’, about a teenager coming to terms with her mother’s disappearance.
Ultimately however, this isn’t the highest standard of films you’ll ever see at a festival, largely supporting the view of many that this festival is yet to catch up to others in regards to stature. However, there are still plenty of gems to be viewed, and the festival provides the opportunity to go the cinema after walking down a red carpet past some of the worlds biggest stars. Not something all of us get to do that regularly.