London Film Festival Picks: Headliners opinion

The 57th BFI London Film Festival’s a’comin’ and the line-up’s the most impressive it has been for years. There’s 234 feature-length films to tempt you (plus shorts and various events) and we’ve trawled through the programme to pick out some of the most compelling options.

Let’s start with the “galas”, shall we? The big guns. The headliners. There are 18 of ‘em. These are the five we find most tempting:

Inside Llewyn Davis

This is the prime pick-of-picks. The Coen Brothers are back and returning to dry comedy, the first since 2009’s A Serious Man. There’s something of an especially special feeling about this film, though. The critics have generally loved it, its release has been bumped to an awards-season friendly date (24th Jan in the UK), it features flavour of the moment actors Oscar Isaac and Carey Mulligan, and the cherry-on-top trailers further confirm its status as a sure-fire big bundle of wonderfulness.


Director Alfonso Cuarón returns with his first film since 2006’s Children of Men. Isn’t that enough justification to make it a hot pick? How about the addition of early screenings being wildly well received? Or that Emmanuel Lubezki, possibly the greatest cinematographer in the business, is teaming up with Cuarón yet again?

Labour Day

Another example of an exciting combination of supreme talent, Jason Reitman (Juno, Up In The Air, and Blug favourite Young Adult) directs Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. The actors are as reliable as they come and a departure from the standard jocular tone for Reitman makes it all the more intriguing.

12 Years a Slave

Brit art fella Steve McQueen’s follow-up to the impressive Shame and his even more impressive debut, Hunger. Michael Fassbender is back in front of his camera and he’s joined by a ridiculously lavish superhero-actor cast. Another big Oscars contender.

Blue is the Warmest Colour

The acclaimed winner of the grand Cannes Palme d’Or, the highly sexually explicit French film has created quite a stir, for Abdellatif Kechiche’s direction, award-winning acting performances from Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, and for the tumultuous relationship between the director and the stars.


While all of the remaining galas have something going for them, others that stand out include Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch directs Tilda Swinton, showing how vampire movies should be made), Nebraska (from the directing great that is Alexander Payne), and Philomena (Stephen Frears directs Judi Dench in another highly acclaimed drama).

5th Sep 2013