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Posts Tagged ‘thriller’

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.

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The Escape Artist (2013)

In BBC, Crime, Law, new, Recommendation, Review, series on 19/11/2013 at 5:04 pm

A modern three part justice/crime tale starring the effervescently great David Tennant as a star London barrister. He gets a complete psychopath off the hook for a murder charge and then  his life changes dramatically. I won’t spoil it – but I will say the plot has quite a classic twist, which works in its benefit.

Escape Artist is indeed well worth the watch because it is a story well made and told. But it’s not ground breaking or revolutionary in any sense and unfortunately, you’re likely to forget about it.

However much I appreciate the quality of these BBC drama series, it does make me wonder if our collectively owned broadcaster is trying hard enough to deliver spectacular drama. I feel this is reaffirming, but not artistically anywhere good enough to meet our high standards.

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.

 

 

Cracks (2009)

In Amazing, based on novel, film, period drama, Recommendation on 14/04/2012 at 2:19 pm

A brilliant psychological thriller based on the novel by Sheila Kohler, set in the claustrophobic yet intimate surroundings of a 1930s British all girls boarding school. Eva Green stars and sparkles as the girls’ inspirational and enigmatic diving teacher Miss G – but the intimate relationship between her and the girls is disrupted when Spanish girl Fiamma (María Valverde) from a far less shielded background joins them. Di (Juno Temple) finds in her position as Miss G’s favourite rivalled by Fiamma and the events that follow make Cracks a deeply unsettling but truly exceptionally told story.