In its telling of a fascinating real-life story about the against-the-odds experiences of a remarkable woman, I, Tonya has much in common with Aaron Sorkin’s Molly’s Game. Both feature thwarted sporting ambition, pushy parents and gender-specific persecution as key narrative themes, and both are fuelled by smart writing, skilled direction and exceptional performances. Technically, both utilise fast cuts, intimate camerawork, an evocative soundtrack and effective voice over, though I, Tonya takes the latter to greater extremes by having characters speak directly to camera at opportune moments.
While seemingly at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, horror and comedy can make for extremely comfortable bedfellows. Laughter and terror are two of the most visceral responses a filmmaker can hope to elicit from an audience and, when traversed correctly, the ground between them can prove dramatically fertile.
Australian writer-director Zak Hilditch’s apocalyptic vision is striking in its visuals, bold in its bleakness and completely unoriginal in its core narrative. An asteroid strike in the North Atlantic sends a tsunami of unstoppable fire around the world, with Western Australia the last place to be hit. The people of Perth have 12 hours to contemplate their demise and, as the sky turns hotter, lawlessness rapidly descends – with many choosing suicide or the escape of hard drugs, rather than meeting their fate head on.