Review: Control (Kontroll)

Genre: Psychological Thriller

 

Those of us left craving more after Mad Max: Fury Road may find some solace in Nimród Antal’s 2003 debut feature. Although it is darker and stranger and pre-apocalyptic, the same tension and energy remains.

 

Budapest subways run on an honours system, with random ticket inspections. In Control we meet an underdog group of ticket inspectors through the life-and-death world of ticket control. As the action begins, suicides have become rampant in the subway, and there seems to be more to them than first thought.

 

This is a frantically paced movie and liberties have been taken with the lives of transport inspectors. So much so that a mandated cold opening informs us this story of surreal mystery and danger is not representative of the real Budapest underground. This fictional version is the world for this movie, a constant electric buzzing and lack of natural light emphasise the oppressiveness and unnerving feel of this piece. This atmosphere works well with the literal and figurative underworld it plays host to. Gyula Pados’s cinematography deserves praise here for longer take and panning shots that help build the tension and tell a fast-paced story. The mood is slightly broken by certain songs on the soundtrack, but mostly holds up well. This dark, dank world has become home to Bulcsu (Sandor Csanyi) after losing his job in the world above. This story evokes struggles with vicious cycles- literally a dead-end and dangerous job, figuratively a depressive mind or imprisonment in hell.

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Challengers Wanted: This is the Ballad of Italian Todd

I could never cope with the twitch timing required for competitive FPS. I got shouted out of two League of Legends lobbies and my ususal RTS tactic of turtling hardcore only got my loincloth-clad workers mowed down by lasers. Needless to say- I don’t get on well with competitive play. I don’t usually get on with competitive play.

The 2010 release of Ubisoft’s Assassins Creed: Brotherhood brought with it a multiplayer mode and to me it was like a breath of fresh air, with mechanics completely new to me at the time. Interesting gameplay and a long summer away from high school made for some skill building, and I actually got really good- its the only game I played where I could expect to to come second or first every time. And when I did it, I did it as The Barber.

Although there’s no moveset to analyze or killler combos, the animations for kills were horrible, involving lots of neck-slicing from many angles, and other bladed butchery. Moreover it addressed one of my biggest gripes with the whole series- the assassin is obviously visible in bright, standout clothing- the barber looks like an ordinary townsperson. I felt a little of the subtlety and stealth Assassins’ creed used to promise playing as the Demon Barber of Rome. Oh, at the same time in my life, I had just discovered the musical Sweeney Todd and had a ton of fun playing the soundtrack and slitting throats left and right (I was a rather macabre teenager).

(Originally posted on Destructoid Community Blogs on my account there @Stripytrousers

Now then, how about a shave?

Read My Thoughts… Siro-A

(This is the first of what I hesitate to call a review series, as I’m not that experienced call it my impressions of a thing with a score to add a little summary at the end.)

Siro-A is an espresso shot for your eyes. Three performers fill the large auditorium with infectious energy, but there is a fourth performer in the room, no less important to the show. The sound and lighting have been beautifully choreographed, and innovative uses of these effects create an impressive virtual reality onstage. Combined, these four make it very believable that we are seeing a man getting chased by disconnected giant hands, or engaged in battle with an opponent made of silhouetted tennis balls.

The performance flows well, divided into several short sections focusing on a different theme- often bringing a complete change in energy and aesthetics, from the hyper-colorful geometry of ‘Box’ to the threatening darkness of ‘Phantom’. Just when you think your eyes cannot handle being blasted by fast-moving light, Siro allow you to rest and gather the pieces of your blown mind.

While only very occasional, the reliance on projection meant that every mistake stuck out, highlighted by light falling on the wrong part of the stage. However these mishaps were very rare, and quickly corrected, drawing the attention back to where it was intended to be. When an audience gets as involved as the audience for Siro-A were, these mistakes matter little; when a whole auditorium is ready to clap along to the closing number, you know those mistakes do not matter.

The soundtrack deserves a special mention- a combination of chiptune and other electric styles suits the show to a tee and provides a fantastic backdrop to the pieces.

One warning needs to be given- there are some occasions where the flashing lights in a very dark auditorium can be too much- this is definitely not a eye-friendly show. I would argue a slight headache is worth the strain.

Aside from this, Siro-A is difficult even to nit-pick and scores 4/5 projected stars.