Monday, October 09, 2023

FINGERNAILS** - BFI London Film Festival 2023 - Official Competition - Day 6

FINGERNAILS is a social satire that reads like LOBSTER-lite in a retconned 1980s America - sort of like Lanthimos meets Gondry but with a gentler more sporadic sense of humour.  I suspect that inside Christos Nikou's two hour film there's an absolutely cracking one hour episode of Black Mirror waiting to be edited out on Final Cut Pro. 

The high concept of the film is that couples can check if they are really in love by allowing scientists to yank off a fingernail each and run some kind of cockamamie test. The problem is that most couples, who might have been quite happy, discover that the computer says they are not compatible. Similarly, our protagonist Anna (Jessie Buckley) has tested positive, but is actually running through the motions with her boyfriend Ryan (The Bear's Jeremy Allen White).  The person she's actually attracted to is her colleague at the Love Institute, played by ROGUE ONE's Riz Ahmed. 

I guess there's some interesting stuff here about the social pressures of the wellness industry making you second guess your own instincts. But we've seen this done better, darker, nastier and frankly funnier before. The only real saving grace of this version is Riz Ahmed, who is really very funny indeed.

FINGERNAILS is rated R and has a running time of 113 minutes. It played Toronto, San Sebastian and London 2023. It goes on limited release in the USA on October 27th before being released on streaming on Apple TV a week later globally.

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