Jamie Neish: Beach Boy Brian adds to movie stardust

Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson
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The 69th Edinburgh International Film Festival, now well into its second week with only four days left, has welcomed many stars and excited audiences through its doors.

It has also showcased many films and, in a surprise turn of events (much like those depicted in Patrick Brice’s riotous The Overnight), most of those shown so far have been good, if not very good.

Love & Mercy, a biopic of Beach Boys legend and solo artist Brian Wilson, has been a particular highlight. Navigating two timelines of the artist’s life, the film is a revelation and much more than a collection of beloved Beach Boys tracks.

The festival has also played host to the UK premieres of Inside Out, a dazzling trip inside the mind of one small girl; The Diary of a Teenage Girl, an empowering 70s-set film of self- discovery that features a star-making turn from Bel Powley; and Welcome to Me, in which Kristen Wiig channels her best Oprah.

Another highlight would be The Stanford Prison Experiment. Based on the real life events in which a group of university students took part in a faux psychology experiment, it is unrelenting, powerful and hugely thought-provoking.

Horror director Corin Hardy made the trip over to showcase his new feature The Hallow, which starts out strong before becoming increasingly silly. Chicken, Joe Stephenson’s debut feature, does the opposite, starting off shaky before sucking you in and punching you in the gut emotionally.

Not everything has been that good, however. The opening night film The Legend of Barney Thomson had its moment, but mostly plays it safe, never aspiring to much. The Messenger, starring Robert Sheehan, was drab and uninvolving and the less said about Sleeping With Other People the better.

But, that said, the festival this year is predominantly made up of interesting films. Grab a ticket and get yourself down.