Friday, August 02, 2002

I've been a bit lax about going to the cinema lately, so it was good to break to cycle and get to the Cornerhouse to see the Argentenian Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens) last night.

The evening started with a quick drink in the upstairs Cornerhouse cafe bar. I must confess I didn't realise it had been renovated - and I'd been avoiding it because in its previous incarnation, it was a slightly pokey cafeteria. Now it's a full bar with a tasteful (cheap!) menu, and the views of Oxford Road and the Palace Hotel (a gorgeous, grade II listed building) go well with your pint of Staropramen. It's also a good alternative to the downstairs bar, which is usually packed out.

And the movie? Let me start out by saying I'm not a fan of gangster films - all too often it becomes one big testosterone pastiche. That said, I love Mean Streets, and you could say that Nueve Reinas is in the same vein - charming small-time swindlers. But that is where the comparison ends, because where Mean Streets is purely character-driven, Nueve Reinas weaves a slow-burning, ever-complicating web leaving you wondering who's conning who. With possibly one of the best endings I've seen in some time, Nueve... shows that you don't need to resort to bang-bang stereotypes to pack a punch.

It's been out since 12th July in the UK - so you'd better move quick if you want to see it.


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