Robert Tanitch reviews the latest DVDs
Chicken (Network). A 15-year-old (Scott Chambers) with unspecified learning difficulties lives with his volatile elder brother (Morgan Watkins) in a grotty caravan in the middle of a rich and luscious countryside. His best friend is his pet chicken, to whom he talks constantly. He is befriended by a girl (Yasmin Paige). This low-budget British film has won awards at film festivals but has had a very limited theatrical release. Hopefully, the release of this DVD will finally give Scott Chambers and the director, Joe Stephenson, the exposure they so richly deserve and win them more admirers and more opportunities. Chambers’s remarkable performance, timid, humble, childlike, vulnerable, is physically and vocally so right. He is utterly believable.
Miss Sloane (Entertainment One) is an American political thriller efficiently directed by John Madden. Jessica Chastain plays an obsessive Washington lobbyist, an intelligent, ambitious, ruthless, hard-as-granite maverick. Deeply competitive, career-driven, she is only interested in winning, regardless of the cost to herself and her team. Viewers will be on her side since she is fighting the gun lobby and the Second Amendment (the right to bear Arms). Chastain is a forceful presence who keeps you watching through an incoherent plot and a congregational hearing. She exercises her right (Fifth Amendment) and refuses to answer questions in order to avoid incriminating herself.
Suntan (Eureka). Argyris Papadimitropoulos describes his film as “a coming of middle-age film” and the downward trajectory is cringe-making.. A 42-year-old doctor (Makis Papadimitriou) comes to a Greek Island to work, leaving behind some unnamed emotional mess. Lonely, he hangs out with the tourists, hedonists, drinking, partying, clubbing youngsters in their early twenties, who swim and play on the beach in the nude. The embarrassing contrast between the haves (golden, naked, beautiful, cavorting young bodies) and the have-nots (chubby, hairy white, unattractive, sagging middle-aged flesh) is emphasised all the time. The doctor becomes obsessed with a young woman, neglects his surgery and is humiliated. Papadimitriou is convincingly embarrassing.