Ryan is a writer eager for a fresh start in London after leaving his hometown of Liverpool, nursing a broken heart following his bitter split with girlfriend Lucy and struggling to find inspiration for his latest novel despite an imminent deadline. He has his friends though; John the smooth-talking Money Man and Connor the charismatic aspiring Movie Star; however they're more about knocking back the booze, hitting London's buzzing nightlife and bringing home the girls, so they're hardly a help to his professional motivation. Things are about to change though, and everything becomes clearer when he falls for a quirky art gallery owner named Anna and becomes less inclined to party with his friends. As it happens though, life isn't that straight-forward, and he has a lot of battles to win before he can rest on his laurels - namely finding the balance between friends, love, family and money.
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British director Andrew Douglas (2005's Amityville Horror remake) takes a clever look at youthful naivete in this strikingly inventive thriller, which is based on a true story. Its focussed perspective lets us see the events unfold as the main character might, and watching him misinterpret everything is seriously unsettling.
That character is the cool North London teen Mark (Blackley), who avoids his annoying parents (Womack and Delamere) by hiding in his room while chatting online to local teen Rachel (Winstone). She has gone into witness protection because of her brutish boyfriend (Johnston), and she asks Mark to look out for her nerdy little brother John (Regbo), who's being bullied in school. As they hang out together, Mark and John strike up a friendship. But when Rachel disappears, Mark begins chatting online to an MI5 agent (White) who convinces him that he needs to take violent action to save lives at school.
Right from the start, we suspect that something is up with the people Mark meets in internet chatrooms. But we also understand why he doesn't question anything: the setting is 2003, rife with still-gurgling paranoia after 9/11 and Columbine. Also, the film intercuts Mark's story with the aftermath of his actions, as he's interviewed by a tenacious detective (Downton Abbey's Froggatt). So we know that we are seeing the people he's chatting to through his mind's eye, which is why director Douglas makes the eerie decision to show them talking to their computers rather than just typing. We question whether they're real, but Mark never does.
Continue reading: Uwantme2killhim? Review
When criminal leader Tommy Carmichael is killed in a vicious attack in his office, his son Joseph will stop at nothing to exact his revenge. CCTV footage shows two men coming out of the office individually; the seemingly innocent businessman Ian Drake and the rather unpleasant character that is Issac Revchenko. Both parties are separately taken for a brutal interrogation with Joseph who threatens to kill both of them unless they set out to assassinate the other suspect. Armed with disposable phones and tracking devices, the men oblige unknowing that they are also being hunted in this twisted plan. Time is rapidly running out for both of them as another force comes into place complicating matters even further.
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Fergus (Womack) is a hotheaded ex-SAS officer who can't come to terms with the death of his best friend Frankie (Bishop in flashbacks), who was working in Iraq for a private contractor. Determined to get to the truth of what happened on Route Irish, the road from Baghdad airport to the Green Zone, he teams up with Frankie's widow (Lowe) and gets in touch with his old pals in Iraq. And what he discovers is a conspiracy of torture and murder that private companies seem able to get away with.
Continue reading: Route Irish Review
Ryan is a writer eager for a fresh start in London after leaving his hometown...
British director Andrew Douglas (2005's Amityville Horror remake) takes a clever look at youthful naivete...
When criminal leader Tommy Carmichael is killed in a vicious attack in his office, his...
After the relative whimsy of Looking for Eric, Loach is back in angry political mode...