My best writing has always been driven by a desire to recontextualise art through my own original viewpoint, and it's my long-form features that see that desire most fully realised. These features cover a variety of different publications including The Quietus, Under the Radar, and Skiddle. 

Feature: How capitalism breeds blue-collar burnout in Thief

In his 1981 debut narrative feature, director Michael Mann scrutinises the American Dream as it is sold to blue-collar workers. Played with an apathetic swagger by James Caan, Frank is the logical end point of a capitalist society that exploits manual labourers, selling them a white picket-fence fantasy they’re ultimately excluded from. It’s telling that the annihilation of the house’s picture-perfect facade is the film’s climactic sequence, Mann shooting each cathartic explosion from multiple angles.

Feature: The Social Currency of Smoking Pot in 'Dazed & Confused'

Few eras of cinema fetishised “cool” more than the independent movement in the early ‘90s, and few eras were more fetishised for being cool than the ‘70s, a decade of suburban apathy and directionless rebellion. Pot smoking had shifted from being a symbol of hedonic liberation in the ‘60s to a signifier of popularity, a blasé form of recreation for jocks and burnouts alike—assuming you were high enough up the social ladder.

Feature: Cornish gentrification and dubbing in Bait

Seeing may be believing, but passive knowledge requires a few more senses to solidify. When you know a place—really know a place—it soaks into your subconscious, a series of sense memories that you’d never think twice about. It’s the smell of your neighbour’s hedge trimmings; the feel of uneven tarmac from a poorly bodged pothole. It’s the exact sound your front door makes as it clips against the wonky latch. You don’t process these things as significant, but, on a long enough time scale, our homes end up taking residence inside us as well.

Feature: Good Time and the contradiction of compassion

Two months on from considering how Daniel Lopatin undercut the anxious energy of Uncut Gems (2020), it seemed fitting to analyse his work on Good Time (2017). While both films feature abrasive scores by Lopatin, aka Oneohtrix Point Never, the purpose of that abrasion is distinct. Where Uncut Gems is giddy, Good Time is dour, and where Uncut Gems saw Lopatin twist anxiety into cosmic purpose, in Good Time he’s far more in tune with the minute-to-minute seat-of-your-pants propulsion. Subservient, however, he is not.

Feature: Uncut Gems and the climax that never comes

What does winning sound like? Is it the rolling thunder of hands beating together; the final beep test *beep* after everyone has collapsed; the ding of a microwave containing molten leftovers? Victory, of course, doesn’t have one tone, but sounds do hold an uncanny power to trigger deep seated feelings of validation. There’s a reason mobile developers spend years perfecting the sound a treasure chest makes, hoping to trigger precious endorphins and lock you into another cycle of delayed gratification. Humans crave catharsis.

Feature: Counteract's 30 greatest films of the 2010s

It’s beginning to look a lot like List-mas, and we’re back with another whopper. This time? An almost impossible dilution of the greatest films from the past 10 years. Is this list subject to recency bias? Oh, absolutely (but 2017 was still a stonking year). Is this list definitive? God no. But it does stand as a testament to thirty great films that are sure to remind you that the art of cinema is alive and kicking.

Feature: The top 20 television shows of the decade

Ah, yes. Another ten years ticked off, and another obsessive need to quantify and qualify what content most tickled our collective fancies. Ignoring the fact that Counteract’s fledgling Film & TV section hasn’t even been around for a full year, let alone ten of them, our vast team of TV writers (read: four men) set out armed with a loose understanding of excel spreadsheets and some questionable-at-best opinions. What follows is our completely objective findings.

Feature: Mothers: when the world's most important rock 'n' roll club was in Brum

Even though its doors were only open for two and a half years between 9 August 1968 and 3 January 1971, Mothers has a reputation that looms large over the West Midlands. Returning to the site of its commemorative Blue Plaque it’s hard to picture a group of long haired revellers gathered outside getting ready to see Keith Moon hit some skins. And yet the plaque rings out loud and clear: ‘Voted World’s Best Rock Venue 1969 & 1970’.

Feature: Cannes Premieres

Our Cannes correspondent was shut out despite waiting 90 minutes in the rain, but those with even more dedication found their efforts duly rewarded, like Blaise Radley: “I queued for four hours to see this, and knew it had been worthwhile within the opening four minutes. Stark, dizzying, stomach-churning—this is a surprisingly different beast to The Witch, but it’s in exactly the same tier… Needless to say, Dafoe and Pattinson are phenomenal.”
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