Methods of Escape

Lita lived alone. Her whole life was an unbroken routine, just like most people around her. Only that she minded it more than others did. Still, she began this morning the same way she always did – at the local supermarket, where the endless beeps never failed to leave her in a trance, with ringing ears and numb fingers.

Queues dragged on, like the quartz clock’s tick to its next destination. Five minutes before five o’clock, she waved the last customer away without a word, and endured the resultant sour look. It affected her none. Her empty mind commanded her to stare ahead, as she slammed the ‘Counter Closed’ sign down louder than she needed to.

She waited patiently for the customer to stomp off after promising an unfulfilled threat. It was one that she had heard too many times before. Then, she started to lock up the cash drawers, as a faceless someone once taught her to. These habitual motions took no more, and no less, than two full minutes.

Once that was through, she smiled for the first time this day. She delighted in the idea of doing something that she had never done before. She meandered along the familiar aisles of her second home. Certain that no one was watching, she began slipping whatever could fit into her jacket pockets.

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Review: Baby Driver (2017)

Baby Driver (dir. Edgar Wright, 2017) – Deep in debt, a young getaway driver is coerced into working for a criminal mastermind, whose incrementally dangerous heists put him in a tough spot.

Verdict

Driven by stylistic action, Baby Driver would more than please thrill-seekers who habitually set soundtracks to every little routine.

4/5

Review

Baby Driver may seem like a novel concept, but it seems Edgar Wright has been building up to his rhythmic caper film all along. Back in 2002, he has already tinkered with the idea in his music video for Mint Royale’s Blue Song, starring Noel Fielding, Nick Frost, Julian Barratt, and Michael Smiley (whom I only wish were in this film):

His subsequent works have snuck in more than a few musical moments too. A standout scene in Shaun of the Dead saw scrimmage attuned to Queen’s anthemic Don’t Stop Me Now. Hot Fuzz introduced Sergeant Nicholas Angel to the addictive beat of Adam Ant. Not forgetting how Scott Pilgrim, well, launched the short-lived fictional career of Sex Bob-omb.

So it is unsurprising that his next project would own an equally killer soundtrack. Not content with stirring song choices, his latest stylistic adventure finds the visuals to match in a genre purely fuelled by excitement. Once the film opens with a getaway drive perfectly synced to Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s Bellbottoms, there is no question that the audiences are in for a real treat.

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Blinded by the Light

A vagrant busker strummed his scarred guitar, crooning a folk song with feigned sorrow for a few crumpled dollars. Above him, the sun glowed orange and pink. Lost souls wandered past in search of solace and contentment, none with any admiration for the beauty of such simple sights.

Further down the footbridge, triplets rode tandem on a small bicycle made for two. Their parents raced after them, but proved no match for wheels. The kids zipped by with ease, yelling at the top of their lungs, “Don’t you try to come after us!”

For hours, Alison had been watching all of these, taking in every bit of emotion she could feel in the air. Woes of the poor man. Frustrations of the working class. Pure happiness of the young family on a short-lived vacation. This was what she did every morning, since the day she found out that her imminent future would be in darkness.

In time, she had learnt to see more than this city ever would. Even if it never seemed enough, she knew it had to be. Turning to the seas that she loved, she leaned against the railings as she whispered, Remember. Remember everything.

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Review: Dunkirk (2017)

Dunkirk (dir. Christopher Nolan, 2017) – During the second World War, the Allies successfully managed an extraordinary evacuation of over 300,000 troops against all odds.

Verdict

Visually and aurally spectacular, Dunkirk both documents the resolve of the Allied in dire times, and presents the futility of war in harrowing honesty.

5/5

Review

Heroes never set out to be heroes. They do what they believe is right, and expect nothing in return. Some die needlessly, others sacrifice without choice. Most leave no names and stories behind. Those who survive, are plagued with guilt over those who did not.

Dunkirk depicts this ruthless reality of war in its powerful tribute to many forgotten men and deeds in history. In a daring move, writer-director Christopher Nolan dilutes character backstories, subverting expectations of the genre. Yet such minimal dramatisation feels true to the crowd of 300,000 trapped during the Battle of Dunkirk.

After all, these young men are in many ways faceless on the battlefield. Their lives come to a standstill in wartime, when they lose their self-identity and fight in the name of their country. Bound to the present moment, we are made to realise how survival is all that matters, no matter whose.

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The Ratconteur

An antique dining table stretched across the dust-streaked, cobwebbed room. At each end sat one half of an odd couple: an old man and a large rat. One was painfully oblivious of the other, to the other’s amusement and partly, chagrin.

This soon changed, when the smaller creature decided to break the silence and make its presence known, “Where do I begin?”

Abandoning his bread and wine, the man looked around with furrowed brows. The voice confused him. He had lived alone all his life, which explained his less-than-savoury dinner, or home on the whole. His eyes darted about. No matter where he looked with his neck stretched taut, he saw no other person in the room.

And so, he cried out impulsively, “What? Who’s speaking?”

“Right here.”

Upon the second statement from the stranger (and intruder, if he may so assume), the man almost fell from his chair and most certainly, did knock over his wine glass. He stood up and began to shout, “Where, where?!”

“Here, here, here,” the calmer voice reiterated. “I am right across you, seated with my feet on your leftover breakfast.”

Unwillingly, the man followed the voice. And true enough, there it was. For five full minutes, he sat down in silence and poured himself a second glass of wine. Then, a third. And a fourth. He was thinking of what to say, but simply could not find the words as he looked through his new wine glass – at the warped shape of a talking rat.

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Cemetery Gates

There is a place that lies deep within the forest, where the children sleep through the morning lull and the midday sun. Past the cemetery gates, we see their tiny, silent homes that we call tombs.

From beneath the soil, they wake at night alone together. After all, no one really sleeps forever. The abandoned children of this earth roam free in the late hours, in their putrid shells of dry hardened skin.

Most people are clueless to the truth of this age-old myth. That is because small corpses have quiet feet. Some have feet so rotten they can hardly be called feet at all.

Those wise enough to suspect a little, they say, have never seen it with their own two eyes. If they had, their mind had chosen not to believe them. It is after all true, that humans are more often than not, willing cynics at heart.

Whether you believe it or not, the dead children walk. When the moon hangs high and the time comes, he rises. She rises, too. They all rise and yawn, letting their stale breath fill the air. A sharp ear can hear their jaws creak, as door hinges of old homes often do.

Samuel climbs out of his plot, sluggish like his (also) late Gramps, who lives in a different adult cemetery. His bones make an unsettling cracking noise as heavy mud slides off them. He is only seven. But to be fair, he has stayed seven for a rather long time. In fact, his death anniversary had begun right from his seventh birthday.

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