An attempt to muscle in on Luc Besson's Taken-style of thriller, this is an odd mix of French setting, American characters and British cast and crew. The inclusion of hugely current issues like immigration, terrorism and capitalistic excess adds the illusion that the movie is actually about something. So while the plot is preposterous, the film has an edgier, more jaggedly comical sensibility that makes it entertaining.
It's set in Paris, where the gifted American pickpocket Michael (Richard Madden) becomes a terrorist suspect when he inadvertently steals a bomb from a the hapless young Zoe (Charlotte Le Bon), roped into planting it by her anti-fascist boyfriend. On Michael's trail is the bullheaded CIA operative Briar (Idris Elba), who has just been transferred to Paris due to his insubordinate attitude. His new boss (Kelly Reilly) is an old friend who vouches for him, then quickly regrets that decision when he goes rogue and teams up with the fugitive Michael to track down the real villain. They're pursued all over the city by local police chief Victor (Jose Garcia) and his fearsome sidekick Rafi (Thierry Godard), oblivious to the fact that the men they're chasing are actually trying to save Paris from something catastrophic.
The plot itself is fairly simple, but the film is assembled in a way that makes everything look far more complicated than it actually is. Action mayhem breaks out at every turn, with impressively full-on stuntwork, crashing chase scenes and lots of shootouts. A fistfight in the back of a careering van is particularly rough and tumble, as it were. And with such villainous baddies, the filmmakers believe they are justified in killing off dozens of faceless henchmen. One dares to show a glimmer of a conscience, but that doesn't save him.
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In 1962 Paris, wealthy broker Jean-Louis (Luchini) and his wife Suzanne (Kiberlain) live in his family flat, oblivious to the Spanish maids who occupy tiny rooms on the top floor and gather in the park to gossip about their bosses. It's not until Jean-Louis and Suzanne hire new arrival Maria (Verbeke) to work for them that they discover this world of labourers. And Jean-Louis embraces it, finding new satisfaction in helping to make their lives better while flirting quietly with Maria. But Suzanne suspects something else entirely.
Continue reading: The Women On The 6th Floor Review
Colter Stevens (Gyllenhaal) is a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan who wakes up into a perplexing new mission: he's on a commuter train heading into Chicago with a woman, Christina (Monaghan), who keeps calling him Sean. Then a huge explosion tears the train apart and he wakes up in another reality, where an officer named Goodwin (Farmiga) is talking to him, asking questions and ultimately sending him back into the train to relive the same eight minutes and find the bomber. Over the next several cycles, Colter makes some startling discoveries.
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Andrew Niccol wrote and directed this globe-trotting comedy, taking an amalgam of five real-life arms dealers and pooling them into the blithely amoral Yuri Orlov (Cage). One imagines that Niccol cherry-picked the most interesting incidents from the exploits of all five, and indeed there are many moments when the film does its level best to pull back the curtain on this worldwide machinery of death. The problem is that Niccol, as he showed in such gleaming symbolic edifices like Gattaca and his warm script for Peter Weir's The Truman Show, is a true humanist at heart, and just can't bring himself to stick to the story. It's apparently not enough to just tell us about Orlov, Niccol's film feels it must explain him, so we can feel that dark thrill when he abandons his soul altogether. This leaves us shifting abruptly from Orlov's international capers - often vividly rendered with a black humor that surprisingly tart for Niccol - to his home life, where he lies to his adoring, hardly inquisitive model-wife (Bridget Moynahan) and deal with his slacker junkie brother (Leto). A Scorsese would have know how to whip all these elements together into a frenzied stew where Orlov's business life crashes headlong into his private life with calamitous results. But under Niccol's cool eye, Cage barely breaks a sweat. He may be the devil but he's calm about it.
Continue reading: Lord Of War Review
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