Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Film Review: Child 44 (2015)

“You run because you’re followed,
  If you’re followed then you’re arrested,
  If you’re arrested then you’re already guilty…”

After being declared a war hero in the Battle of Berlin, Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy) lives a comfortable bourgeois life in the elite of the Stalin-era Soviet secret police hunting traitors and forcing confessions from them.  One of the most recent ‘traitors’ Anatoly Brodsky (Jason Clarke) is tortured into giving Major Kuzmin (Vincent Cassell) a number of names, one of which is Demidov’s wife Raisa (Noomi Rapace) whom he then has to investigate in order to prove his loyalty. 

Meanwhile Demidov has become distracted by the deaths of young boys, including the son of his close colleague Alexei Andreyev (Fares Fares) to whom he has to deliver the official death report which claims that he died in a train accident, even though he appears to have been found naked with strange surgical scars on his body… 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Film Review: The Salvation (2015)

The man with nothing to lose is often the most to fear.

In 1842, Jon (Mads Mikkelsen) and Peter (Mikael Persbrandt) are Danish immigrant soldier brothers who have come to America in search of a new life.  Yet when Jon’s wife and child come to join them from Europe they are confronted with a shocking act of hostility from the brother of the sadistic renegade officer Delarue (Jeffrey Morgan Dean) who leads a violent posse in tormenting a local town led by cowardly mayor Keane (Jonathan Pryce).  The violence and revenge then escalates between Jon and Delarue, quickly drawing the townsfolk to believe that the best action is to abandon the town and head further West…

Film Review: John Wick (2015)

After John Wick (Keanu Reeves) loses his wife to a terminal illness, he receives a package that has been sent in the event of her death that contains her final wish: that he transfers his love for her to a small puppy and to carry on his life.  This symbolic gesture gives him a coping strategy for his mourning, yet is taken away from him when a gang of Russian thugs (led by Iosef – Alfie Allen) breaks into his house and leave him and his new best friend for dead.

When Iosef’s gang boss father Viggo (Michael Nyqvist) finds out about his son’s reckless actions he has to inform him that John used to be an associate of his... that was an expert in ruthlessly killing people.  Whilst John prepares to get his revenge on the family, he checks in to The Coliseum – a kind of safe space hotel for criminals that operates by a strict formal code where favours are rewarded with bespoke gold coins:  Gold coins that can also be used to hire assassins or a dead body removal service...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Film Review: The Great Invisible (2015)

Exactly five years ago today, an offshore oil-drilling rig called the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico killing 11 people and leading to the biggest oil spill in human history – 76 million gallons over 87 days.  Although claiming responsibility almost immediately (how could they not) the oil giant BP are still depriving claimants out of compensation money and the industry has still not learned the lessons from such a devastating disaster.

The Great Invisible begins with the individual stories of the tragic loss of life on the day itself and how it affected the families of the deceased.  Told through moving interviews and ominous home videos, the families and survivors explain how the conditions on the rigs were exhausting and that cost-cutting measures resulted in instant income bonuses, regardless of safety.  Then the documentary leads into how the environmental catastrophe affected the livelihood of thousands of fishing towns along the South Coast of Texas, Louisiana and Alabama, and how whole communities have been devastated due to the polluting of the sea life and the mismanaged response from the Oil giants as well as the federal governments.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Film Review: Lost River (2015)

To save themselves from the threat of eviction from an ethereal post-financial collapse Detroit, single-mother Billy (Christina Hendricks) and her son Bones (Iain de Caestecker) must both resort to extreme measures in order to find money to protect themselves.  Billy reluctantly takes a job in a macabre horror/burlesque club where performers enact elaborate self-harm performance pieces under the stewardship of sinister and lecherous Dave (Ben Mendelsohn). Meanwhile Bones and his friend Rat (Saoirse Ronan) get hunted by the local bully – imaginatively named ‘Bully’ (Matt Smith) – whilst trying to repeal a curse put on the town connected to a abandoned town flooded after an artificial river was created. (Huh?)