Matthew Buchanan

Co-founder of Letterboxd.
“I’m twelve. But I’ve been twelve for a long time.”

Favorite films

  • Badlands
  • Enemy
  • Apocalypse Now
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Recent activity

All
  • Mister Organ

  • Don't Worry Darling

    ★★½

  • Beast

    ★★★

  • I Like Movies

    ★★★★

Pinned reviews

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  • First Man

    First Man

    ★★★★½

    Grainy, noisy and claustrophobic, and that’s before we even set foot inside a Gemini module. It took me a little while to warm to Linus Sandgren’s extreme close-up camerawork, but it’s a stylistic choice that serves to reframe any mundanity that was present in the Armstrongs’ home life, and to propel an otherwise traditional narrative along in an unexpected way.

    The mostly male cast is teeming with worthy character actors, many of whom are underused, but only so we can…

  • United 93

    United 93

    ★★★★★

    Ruthlessly economical filmmaking that so effectively illustrates just how unexpected and unfathomable the events of 9/11 were for the passengers and ground crews involved.

    Once past the opening hotel room and boarding gate scenes, the film never strays beyond the walls of the hijacked aircraft or the military and civilian command centres that responded. Director Greengrass provides no explanation — other than perhaps nerves — for the hijackers’ delayed gambit on board, and deliberately downplays most of the day’s iconic…

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  • Batman & Robin

    Batman & Robin

    ★½

    First published in August 1997.

    Holy headlines, Batman! Clooney captures caped crusader’s carbon codpiece for calamitous caper as camp crimefighter. For a relative unknown in Hollywood terms, the bat boots left vacant by Val Kilmer’s hasty departure from the title role were of the variety marked “rather large”. To be fair, though, the erstwhile ER doc doesn’t do a half-bad job here. Physically, he’s the dark knight’s best match so far, and if he evokes his TV character’s soft-spoken, head-nodding…

  • Lost Highway

    Lost Highway

    ★★★★½

    First published in May 1997.

    David Lynch is not a conventional storyteller. His films turn a blind eye to the machinations of narrative logic, instead conveying their message through infused mood and inspired visualisation. His is a masterful touch, and his latest work, Lost Highway, is a sumptuous and decadent trip which assaults the senses and overpowers any attempt to resolve or rationalise, giving itself over to viewer interpretation and intuition.

    Jazz saxophonist Fred Madison (Bill Pullman) is a tortured…

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  • Drive

    Drive

    ★★★★★

    The tech writer John Gruber is fond of a Kubrick quote about the truth of a thing being in the feel of it rather than the think of it, a phrase that for me perfectly explains the appeal of Nicolas Winding Refn’s noirish adaptation of the James Sallis novel. Right from the first hotel-room scene, through a near wordless fifteen-minute opening stanza, the foreboding atmosphere of an after-hours, back-streets Los Angeles takes hold. The ambient, minimal score by Cliff Martinez…

  • Les Misérables

    Les Misérables

    ★★★

    Golden boy director, hot off earnest 2011 Oscar winner The King’s Speech, cashes in open-slather offer for next project by committing to film universally adored hit musical about love at first sight and the redemptive power of student uprisings.

    Loses drunken bet over which member of the Master and Commander cast will play the pivotal role of Javert, and is forced to cast vocally-challenged Aussie rocker, only to have him murder ‘Stars’ and be thoroughly upstaged by pint-sized unknown Daniel…