Posts Tagged ‘Britfilm’

Turks & Caicos (2014)

In Action, Amazing, BBC, Crime, film, Law, new, political, Recommendation, Review, Spy on 22/03/2014 at 11:00 am

A great BBC Original spy thriller-drama with a cast so starry it’s hard to believe it’s only a telly production. Former MI5 agent Johnny/Tom Eliot (Bill Nighy) is trying to stay out of trouble on Turks & Caicos – a tropical tax haven – but fails miserably when he gets entangled in a CIA efforts lead by Curtis Pelissier (Christopher Walken) to catch some big-arse crooks. We’ve seen Nighy in many roles like this, but it’s hard to object as he does such a lovely job at being the well-mannered, understated and well-tailored Englishman.

When he fled from HM’s SS, he left behind the love of his life and also former spy Margot (Helena Bonham-Carter) – but his plight is bound to bring them back together. Meanwhile, Melanie (Winona Ryder) is in with the bad boys but the question is whether she wants to be. She’s all grown up, fragile, broken and seductive all at once. Back in the UK, Margot gets closer to Stirling Rogers (Rupert Graves, Sherlock) who is too rich and powerful not to be involved somehow, and also plays tennis with the PM, Alec Beasley (Ralph Fiennes), which gives rise to the question of his involvement in illegal financial thievery.

All the plots, schemes, power play and politics are made more interesting by the central notion of this story: humanity. Not once does this film degrade itself to plot-driven cops&robbers trickery. The island’s police force, Johnny, Margot and Johnny’s love, Melanie’s MO – they all boil down to a sense of ‘as long as there’s people like them in the world, we might be alright’.

Also, writer and director David Hare (The Reader, The Hours) made a film that blatantly says: tax havens are corrupt, dangerous, criminal snake-pits that use our tax payers’ money to enrich themselves and politicians involved. And it’s about time.

NB: No trailer available yet – here’s one for Original British Drama featuring some tasters.


Forget Me Not (2010)

In Amazing, film, Recommendation, Review, romantic on 17/03/2014 at 9:27 pm

This film plunges you into the lives of two strangers in London. A 24 hour meeting that could tie them together indefinitely or be a fleeting encounter – which it will be is as unclear to them as it is to you.

Whiskey and pills. Romance, perhaps. Sometimes tragic but more often visceral, Forget Me Not is a beautiful love story that doesn’t try anything too hard: it seems to just be. Eve (Genevieve O’Reilly)- beautiful barmaid recently returned from travelling and determined to take life more seriously – meets Will (Tobias Menzies) – attractive but tortured singer-songwriter who lives across the road from the pub. Proximity facilitates their encounter, but everything that follows is a peculiar (metaphorical) dance through London like only slightly awkward strangers who are fairly attracted to each other can do.

This doesn’t sound like I’m selling it, but it’s very good. Especially recommended as a romantic film option for those who otherwise avoid them.

Welcome to the Punch (2013)

In Action, Crime, film, new, Recommendation, Review on 30/10/2013 at 6:22 pm

A traditional action flick in almost every sense – except that it’s actually watchable. That’s down to these things: there’s no clichéd love interest with consequential snogging/shagging, it’s well written and acted, the good guy is an unsympathetic shit, and everything isn’t topsy turvy in the end. That said, there’s heaps of guns and chasing around and shooting.

All fans of James McAvoy be warned: he’s Max Lewinsky ie the good guy. An insufferable, stubborn, self-centred cop with a (melodramatic) grudge against a notorious criminal called Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong). The story’s that the cop gets a final chance to catch the villain he’s after when Sternwood’s son ends up in hospital and he has to return to the UK. A standard plot, but well executed, suspenseful and entertaining. I think this film is probably great if you actually like the guns-a-blazing thing. If you don’t, it’s still a decent film – and it’s quite something to see that even McAvoy can be a complete dick if he wants to.

Trance (2013)

In Amazing, Crime, film, new, Recommendation, Review on 08/04/2013 at 2:41 pm

It’s oh-so quasi cool to say Danny Boyle is overrated because he’s been catapulted into national hero-dom since he made Olympic opening ceremonies fun. But it’s rubbish. Trance is superb, this hero deserves to be embraced.

Trance isn’t just a film, it’s an experience. Or a ride. Both Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire accomplished this as well: you fall into the story immediately, are lifted all the way through, only to be spat out bewildered but satisfied at the end.

This particular story is literally a bit of a headfuck as it’s about hypnosis, manipulation, memories and especially, forgetting. The excellent James McAvoy stars as Simon, who forgot where he put something stonkingly valuable – that was meant to be given to a quite notorious criminal called Franck (the also very excellent Vincent Cassell). Hypnotist Elizabeth (yep, also impressive – Rosario Dawson) is meant to get them out of the mess.

The result is a complex and cruel yet human, hopeful, tense and original film that’s a bit brilliant. Oddly, there are some tiny production and script glitches, but the overall everythingness of it makes up for it.

This one is going to stick around for quite a while is my guess.

Kill List (2011)

In Crime, film, Horror, Review on 10/05/2012 at 11:57 pm

A little film that is certainly excellent for being something else entirely,  highly upsetting at some points, shows some very engaging acting – and ends with a shaky finale.

Kill List follows best friends and Iraq military veterans Gal (Michael Smiley) and Jay (Neil Maskell) on their new assignment as hitmen. Refreshingly, there’s no guns-a-blazing quasi super-heroic nonsense here: they are perfectly average pals. Jay, his lovely wife Shel (MyAnna Buring) and their kid Sam are a close family with day-to-day troubles and rows over money. Gal is a loveable lonely old sod who brings a new girlfriend to dinner and her role is blatantly dubious from the start. Gal also loves his friend Shel more than anything in the world. Besides this, the two guys just happen to make their living as hitmen.

The story subtly progresses from a fun kind of tense to creepily unsettling, all spurred by Jay’s inability to keep his killing urges under control. He is the destroyer of all, from beginning to end. This is all done very well, until the bit where it’s supposed to become a real horror flick and it contradicts human nature instead. Without spoilers: people don’t run towards firing guns. Ever. It just doesn’t happen. Then the ultimate finale upsets and shocks, but it’s completely void however you choose to look at it. It doesn’t reveal the drive behind the plot: it remains unknown why the people on the list were to be killed and what the motives of the instigator are, or anything about protagonist Jay: we already know he is anything but the master of his violent reflexes.

That said and ranted, Kill List is interesting and intriguing. Still well worth the watch.



About the Bella Review

In Amazing, film, Recommendation, Review, series on 20/05/2011 at 2:46 pm

The ‘review’ bit in the title is a bit of an overstatement to be honest. I just thought it sounds really nice. But actually, this blog mainly recommends series and films that I love; I briefly explain why and post a trailer. Simple indeed. Sometimes I deviate: I might have some opinions to share, making it more of a review. Occasionally I’ll feel the urge to write negative critique – but only if I think somebody really should. It’s much more fun to share all those beautiful, surprising and original films and series. Besides, those are the ones that deserve to be watched.

The Bella Review is only about British drama (including co-productions) for now. At some point I may expand to European cinema. I don’t talk about US /Hollywood productions, since I think there’s enough focus on those already.

As a writer, I’m always looking for a good story well told. It doesn’t have to be art-house and it may be complex or terribly simple. I still have this very long list of good things to recommend on here, so not everything I adored is represented yet. If you have any suggestions, please do tell.