The superior thriller of 2014, Gone Girl is a dark, twisty, psychological study of the worst seven-year itch imaginable. Abduction, sex, murder and revenge; trial-by-media and satire on America’s dark heart, this one has it all.
Gone Girl will have you on the edge of your seat for the first hour, until the biggest plot turn of the decade hits you for six; then it’s a tense white-water ride into a twisting canyon in which every scene threatens disaster for the lead characters.
Add career-defining performances from Ben Affleck (Armageddon, The Town) and Rosamund Pike (Jack Reacher, The World’s End) to a script that is impossible to second guess, and Gone Girl is a genuine must-see. Continue Reading
Michael Mann’s Gothic horror sees an Einsatzkommando unit taking over a keep in a Romanian village only to awaken an evil far greater than Hitler’s Nazis. Commander Jurgen Prochnow (Das Boot) quickly realises the Keep was a fortress built to hold something in; something the greed of his men release and pay with their lives.
Based on a horror pulp novel by F. Paul Wilson, The Keep was an unlikely early project for the American director of Manhunter, Heat, Miami Vice and The Insider. But, since his stated fascination is for the nature of evil, this tale of supernatural evil versus Nazis suited his nascent style very well. Whatever you admire about Michael Mann, subtlety is not the first quality that comes to mind. Continue Reading
Joaquin Phoenix and Claire Danes shine in this intriguing but overloaded noire-thriller romance.
Depending on your view of director Thomas Vinterberg’s work (of the original Dogme 95 movement, Festen, The Hunt), It’s all About Love will be a profound and moving exploration of the human condition set against global catastrophe, or the biggest load of pretentious, art-house twaddle in years.
And it’s not all about love, either. Continue Reading
I hate to say this but Daniel Craig has poor form with his movie choices. Invasion, Cowboys and Aliens, now Dream House; a supernatural-horror-mystery-thriller, re-cut by the studio without the director, where the cast disowned it as simply not good enough.
Daniel Craig is hotshot book editor Will Atenton, who decides to drop out of the Manhattan rat-race (boo-hoo) to spend more time with his family (Rachel Weisz and twins Taylor and Dee Dee Geare) and yet still write a novel (mutually incompatible activities).
Their all-American clap-board house in Connecticut has chilly neighbours, random trespassers and was where a family had been murdered five years earlier – supposedly by the father who’s just been released from a psychiatric hospital. Already you know this won’t end well… Continue Reading
Paul Abbott’s original BBC TV thriller is transformed into Not Quite All the President’s Men, where the best you can think is “workmanlike”.
British director Kevin MacDonald (The Last King Of Scotland) dives into Hollywood for this overdue makeover of the TV three-parter. Despite MacDonald’s flair and dynamism, the performances never rise above a choppy script and the overbearing presence of Russell Crowe.
Perhaps my view is jaundiced by the quality of the original. Continue Reading
Owing to the high mortality of the First World War, Britain was overrun with spiritualist charlatans preying on mourners desperate to make contact with the dead.
In Nick Murphy’s thrilling ghost story, Rebecca Hall plays Florence Cathcart, a ghost hunter, alias fraud hunter, who makes a living exposing fake séances. Florence is mourning her dead fiancé, a soldier in the war, to whom she sent a letter weeks before he died, saying that she no longer loved him. Her repeated efforts to prove that the afterlife is make-believe are in atonement for her cruelty.
When Robert Mallory (Dominic West) requests her services at Rookwood boarding school, Florence insists that the case will be as clear-cut as its predecessors, but on visiting the school, she realises that there is more to this case than meets the mortal eye… Continue Reading
The Millenium Trilogy slams into the ‘awkward middle episode’ as a jumble of TV detective fiction with some sex, violence and post-Cold War espionage thrown in to liven things up.
After the excellent, if un-cinematic, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it looked like the adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium novels would be the next hot film franchise. Made swiftly to capitalise on the International success of the first instalment, The Girl Who Played With Fire has all the elements but not quite the, well, fire…
Disjointed and with a disappointingly loopy plot, Noomi Rapace gets credit for saving this also-ran Sunday evening TV mystery. Continue Reading