Dan Carrier’s film news: The American Friend; Benjamin
15 March, 2019 — By Dan Carrier
Bruno Ganz in The American Friend
• THE Tufnell Park Film Club always put on a great show – and their event on Tuesday March 19 is no exception. They are screening The American Friend in tribute to the late Bruno Ganz. In this adaptation of Particia Highsmith’s novel Ripley’s Game, Ganz is a Hamburg-based picture framer who has a terminal illness. Up pops criminal Ripley (Dennis Hopper) with a plan to ask Zimmerman to do a hit he has taken a contract for. Directed by Wim Wenders, this 1977 film is a lovely tribute to a great actor.
• THE comedian Simon Amstell has managed to break away from becoming one of those people who are serial appearers on lame joke quiz shows to direct Benjamin – an angsty London-based movie about the perils of believing your own hype. He does so with some panache, even if you can’t help but feel the story must be autobiographical and tells us quite a lot about the self-doubt that afflicts your average entertainer.
Benjamin (Colin Morgan) has made a successful debut movie, and is now into that difficult second album territory: will his latest piece win fans and critical acclaim? Or will he be shown up for what he suspects he is – namely a one-shot talent with not a lot to say? Then up pops love interest Noah (Phénix Brossard) and he has another excuse to be full of self-doubt.
Watchable, if somewhat frustrating – you might find yourself murmuring “just enjoy the ride” as the lead’s First World problems play themselves out.