Finely detailed acting and stylish direction are somewhat undermined by a script that can't resist overstating its moral themes. Without any sense of ambiguity, we are never able to engage with the dilemma facing the central characters because, as things get messier and messier, we never really doubt what each person will do. But the actors make it fascinating to watch.
Set in the Wirral, the story centres on two second-generation detectives: Joe (Bettany) and his brother Chris (Graham) live in the shadow of their legendary dad Lenny (Cox), who's now drifting into senility. Their current case involves the brutal killing of a teen girl, and working with fellow cop Robert (Strong), they close in on creepy loner Jason (Crompton) as the chief suspect. But with no evidence linking him to the crime, he's quickly released, raising memories of a similar case from the past that resulted in a horrific murder. On a drunken night out, Joe and Chris decide to make sure that doesn't happen again. But it isn't easy to live with what they've done.
There's plenty of scope to explore the power of guilt and regret in this multi-generational story, and the screenplay pushes the brothers into some seriously strained situations as they're forced to consider the fallout from their actions. And all of this stress begins to affect their relationships too: Paul with his wife and daughter (Little and Battrick) and Chris with his fiancee (Tapper). All of the actors are terrific, with Bettany and Graham especially solid as they create a believably mercurial sibling camaraderie. Other characters remain a bit on the edge of the film, but add to the tension.
Continue reading: Blood Review
However, I felt just as good leaving American Pie 2 as I did after leaving Greenfingers, which tells the offbeat tale of British murderer Colin Briggs (Clive Owen of Croupier). After spending roughly half of his life behind bars, he is transferred to a more lenient facility, Edgefield. The picaresque, rustic prison allows its inmates to learn a trade, while enjoying accommodations generally found at most colleges.
Continue reading: Greenfingers Review
Surprisingly, "Legally Blonde's" very modern Reese Witherspoon seems quite at home in the 19th Century world of London society as sprung from the pages of William Makepeace Thackeray's "Vanity Fair." Unfortunately she fails to inspire much sympathy for the novel's cunning, charmingly conniving, social-climbing heroine.
An orphan raised at a snooty girl's school, where she was indentured as a maid to pay for her edification, upon graduation the brilliant Becky Sharp rises quickly from nanny for the children of an eccentric country nobleman (Bob Hoskins), to sharp-tongued companion for his gossipy, aged society dame sister (Eileen Atkins), to wife-by-elopement of the nobleman's nephew -- much to the shock and chagrin of her former employers.
On the arm of her dashing army officer husband (James Purefoy) -- who used to "break hearts for a hobby" before falling under her spell -- Becky elbows her way into the disapproving circles of the Georgian-era upper crust, her beauty and biting wit making her irresistible to pliant men and a formidable rival to condescending women.
Continue reading: Vanity Fair Review
The BBC drama starring Aidan Turner returns to BBC One on September 4th.
Finely detailed acting and stylish direction are somewhat undermined by a script that can't resist...
My summer was recently saved by two very different movies. On opening night, I...