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Charlie Plummer (#110 of 3)

BFI London Film Festival 2017 Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete

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BFI London Film Festival 2017: Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete

A24

BFI London Film Festival 2017: Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete

Though written and directed by Andrew Haigh, Lean on Pete belongs to young actor Charlie Plummer from start to finish. Plummer plays Charley, a poverty-stricken, motherless 15-year-old who moves to Portland, Oregon with his father, Ray (Travis Fimmel), and takes a summer job working with a horse trainer, Del (Steve Buscemi). The boy's life is built around abandonment and tragedy but also a relentless hunger for affection—human or equine. He's immediately taken with the most passive of Del's horses, Lean on Pete, who's described by his grizzled trainer as “a pussy.” From then on, a child-animal bond is formed where child-adult ones have been consistently broken, the horse's increasing incompetence to race working as a kind of guarantee against abandoning the boy, because that which can't run can't run away.

Berlinale 2017: The Dinner Review

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Berlinale 2017: The Dinner Review

The Orchard

Berlinale 2017: The Dinner Review

In The Dinner, Oren Moverman wastes no time in establishing a tone of grandiose scabrousness. Right in the opening scene, history professor Paul Lohman (Steve Coogan, sporting a rather jarring American accent) articulates his profoundly anti-American view of American history; and to his wife, Claire (Laura Linney), he calls his politician brother, Stan (Richard Gere), an “ape” as they both prepare to meet Stan and his new wife, Katelyn (Rebecca Hall), for a fancy dinner. Paul, at least at the start of the film, seems positioned to be the grim—and grimly funny—truth-teller among a group of people who prefer to hide their true natures behind a veneer of high-class civility.

BFI London Film Festival 2015 King Jack

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BFI London Film Festival 2015: King Jack

Whitewater Films

BFI London Film Festival 2015: King Jack

Confidently working a well-worn groove, Felix Thompson’s debut joins a growing cannon of derelict rite-of-passage films in which American adolescents ride their bikes around dilapidated areas of the U.S. (this time in New York’s Hudson Valley). Neither as meditative as Hide Your Smiling Faces nor as morose as Little Accidents, King Jack also can’t boast Mud’s wistful poeticisms of innocence lost, but its summer of embattled youth is shorn of sentimentality, with lead actor Charlie Plummer’s embittered eye lines casting a pall of diminished self-worth over his fresh features.