Trapped in a terrorist prison and tortured, Evan Lake (Nicholas Cage) is eventually free and makes his way back to the United States and the CIA where he works. Becoming a hero for surviving and not revealing any secrets throughout his imprisonment, Lake's protégé, Milton Schultz, (Anton Yelchin) discovers that the man who held him hostage - the villainous terrorist Banir (Alexander Karim) - is alive and still active. After announcing to his supervisors the revelation, it is discovered that Lake is beginning to suffer from dementia and is faced with early retirement. But unable to leave a job undone, Lake and Schultz take it upon themselves to bring Banir to justice; fuelled by both the intent for justice and revenge.
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Martin Frost (David Thewlis) is a novelist, and he's off to the country for a vacation after finishing his latest book and to work on a new story. No sooner does he fall asleep, though, that he wakes up to find someone else in his bed, Claire Martin (Irène Jacob), who initially says she was lent the house by the same guy who lent it to Martin. Funny coincidence, eh? Just like their names: His first is Martin, her last is Martin. It helps that she's a hot, exotic French beauty with an active libido, and soon she's got her top off as they roll around in the sheets.
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That's fitting, because Veronique is a film all about subjectivity. The setup is simple. What follows is not. Here's the idea that Kieslowski sat down with when deciding to make the film: Two women look identical and have similar lives, despite living in different countries. They are both even named Veronique, almost. Veronique (Irène Jacob) is a French woman who aspires to be a concert hall vocalist. Weronika (also Jacob, of course) is a Polish woman, a singer as well. They are born on the same day and even share a medical condition, which leads Veronique to drop dead on the eve of her big break.
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The story's been around for 400 years. Othello (Lawrence Fishburne) is a Moorish general in the Italian army, and he is the victim of constant prejudice. Desdemona (Irene Jacob) is his Italian lover, and when the pair secretly marry, Othello finds himself the victim of a fiendish plot by his servant Iago (Kenneth Branagh). Iago's motives are also magnified by the presence of young Cassio (Nathaniel Parker), who serves as Othello's right-hand man despite Iago's longer term of service.
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The convoluted story has a female violinist (Irène Jacob) shanghaied from her indentured servitude by a semi-wealthy island-dweller (Willem Dafoe). Naturally, the woman's owner becomes a bit miffed and sends some goons (including Rufus Sewell and Sam Neill in a rare bad-guy role) after them. Imagine the hijinks!
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Red stands as Kieslowski's most convoluted and difficult work of the series, exploring far more than the idea of "fraternity" suggested by the color and delving deep into symbolism and our notion of "coincidence." Jacob is wonderfully watchable in her most nuanced role ever, and Trintignant's crustiness is bizarrely engaging, making you want to dig deeper into his oddly apathetic character who wants "nothing" further from life. Red is confusing but compulsively watchable.
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