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Reviews

Film round-up, May 2008

XXY

Staying with the Middle East, Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden? (cert tbc; 93 mins) sees Morgan Spurlock, the director and presenter of Supersize Me, head out there in search of al Qaeda's notorious leader - only to discover that the people he finds there are much the same as their Western counterparts. Its lightweight but enjoyable.

Shine A Light (cert 12a; 122 mins) is Martin Scorsese's film of the Rolling Stones in concert in New York in 2006, interspersed with old interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. The ageing Mick Jagger's onstage energy is impressive and Scorsese's never stationery cameras (wielded by around eight big name Hollywood cinematographers) are more than up to the task of capturing it. It's a terrific piece of work on all levels (especially in the IMAX version), underneath which the Stones are still pedalling their old sex, drugs and rock and roll myths.

On the other hand, the Argentinian gender transgression drama XXY (cert 15; 90 mins) ventures into new, untrodden territory with its compelling tale of a teenager - ostensibly a girl but actually of indeterminate gender. Sensitively told, it raises a host of difficult issues and should give rise to serious discussion in the pub afterwards.

Elsewhere, Charlie Bartlett (cert 15; 97 mins) tells the story of the rich kid Anton Yelchin starting a new school and moving from being the victim of bullies to a supplier of drugs and a general, all-round good guy. Which in fact plays much better than it sounds. Hope Davis is terrific as his flighty, medication-obsessed mother.

Finally, two British entries. Cashback (cert 15; 102 mins) is the story of an art student on the rebound from a breakup with his girlfriend, who abandons sleep to work the nightshift at Sainsbury's, where he imagines all the customers nude. Three And Out (cert 15; 110 mins) concerns the little known London Underground rule that if a tube driver runs over three people in one month, s/he gets ten years pay as severance. Both films start from promising premises, but neither of them makes enough of the them.

Jeremy Clarke