Here's yet another preposterous action movie that's made watchable by a skilful director and an engaging cast. While there are some intriguing themes in this spiralling odyssey of revenge, the script never really makes any sense out of the plot, merrily twisting and turning as it whizzes past a series of glaring improbabilities. But Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace put their huge brown eyes to work, holding our sympathies as things get messier by the moment.
Farrell plays Victor, a gun-toting goon working for the slick mobster Alphonse (Howard), who is being taunted by a complex, unnerving plot to bring him down. But Victor is sidetracked by his neighbour Beatrice (Rapace), who comes on strong before revealing that she has seen his handiwork and will report him to the cops if he doesn't help her get revenge against the guy who scarred her face in a drunk-driving accident. This puts Victor in a difficult position since he's already engaged in his own plan to avenge the brutal deaths of his wife and daughter, assisted by a family friend (Abraham) from the old country.
And the plot gets increasingly knotty, as both Victor and Beatrice start to wonder if perhaps falling in love with each other might be a more pleasant way to get over their anger issues. Yes, the film is essentially preaching love and redemption even as the body count nears triple digits. Fortunately, director Oplev brings the same slick-steely style to the film as his original The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. And the always watchable Farrell and Rapace get solid support from Howard and Abraham, as well as Cooper (as Victor's brother in arms), Huppert (as Beatrice's busy-body mum) and the underused Assante (as the big boss).
Continue reading: Dead Man Down Review
Armand Assante Friday 11th December 2009 World premiere of 'Yulia: The story of Yulia Tymonshenko' held at the SVA theatre New York City, USA
Armand Assante Friday 8th February 2008 World Premiere of 'The Man Who Came Back held at Areo Theatre Los Angeles, California
Ridley Scott has a good thing going here, tossing these two Hollywood bigshots into the ring and letting them play cops and robbers while he slathers on the period detail with a trowel. There's some serious Superfly outfits (including a godawful $50,000 chinchilla coat that plays a surprisingly key part in a plot twist), a generous helping of soul music, enough fantastic character actors to choke a horse (Idris Elba, Jon Polito, Kevin Corrigan, an incredibly sleazy Josh Brolin, and so on), the specter of Vietnam playing on every television in sight, and the odd enjoyment one gets from watching cops in the pre-militarized, pre-SWAT days take down an apartment with just revolvers, the occasional shotgun, and a sledgehammer to whack down the door. Scott's smart enough to let the story cohere organically and without rush, keeping his main contenders apart for as long as could possibly be borne, making them fully developed characters in their own right and not just developed in opposition to the other. But there's something in this broad and expansive tale that can't quite come together, and it seems to start in Denzel's eyes.
Continue reading: American Gangster Review
Maggie Malone's story, alas, is almost too cliched even to exist in the movies. One boring day at the shop (run by Betty White, pretty much the only remotely interesting part of the film), Maggie discovers an old copy of Great Expectations, and suddenly she finds herself being granted a series of wishes, courtesy of a young British guy (Sean Maguire) who says she has a secret benefactor, who apparently is loaded with cash. (Sound familiar?)
Continue reading: The Third Wish Review
How many more movies do we need about a rough neighborhood full of lifelong friends hopelessly turned to crime or worse? The enormous catalog of such movies might dissuade a filmmaker from making yet another, but here we have it. Again. Five Irish kids in NYC's Hell's Kitchen make an overemotional pact over some stolen rings on an anonymous rooftop. With teary music. And slow motion. In the film's first scene.
Continue reading: One Eyed King Review
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