Denis Villeneuve’s grindingly, unrelentingly pessimistic drug war thriller, with Emily Blunt as the FBI patsy brought along for the ride by spooks Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro.
Spooks: The Greater Good
TV spin-off which looks good, and pitches the tone better than the series, but still has the vibe of Enid Blyton trying to write a George Smiley story.
Kit Harington is the protagonist, a bitter former Security Service officer reeled back in by MI5 bosses for one last job – to locate his old section head Harry (Peter Firth), who has gone missing, apparently under a cloud.
Some nice set-pieces, but too glossy and derivative to be truly engaging. Directed by series creator Bharat Nalluri.
Narrow Margin (1990)
Gene Hackman is perfect as the deputy DA chasing down Anne Archer, a woman he presumes to be a gangster’s moll, who witnessed a gangland slaying. He needs to escort her to LA to tstify before a grand jury; the bad guys have other ideas. Great chase movie from Peter Hyams, who beefs up the original noir story on which it’s based.
Sort of a heightened realist version of Mad Max, with Guy Pearce as a taciturn man pursuing the criminals who stole his car in a post-global economic crash Australia.
Written and directed by David Michôd, with Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy (Halt And Catch Fire), David Field, Tawanda Manyimo, Anthony Hayes (The Square, Animal Kingdom) and Nash Edgerton (brother of Joel).
Had the chance of being up there with The Parallax View and The Conversation and Klute, but never quite makes it. Richard Gere is successful reputation management expert at a PR firm, advising politicians and military dictators and powerful corporations on how to win public support. His involvement with a sketchy senatorial candidate leads him to start questioning his own behaviour and success. Mid-table action from Sidney Lumet.
French director Yann Demange’s first big screen effort – after UK TV like Charlie Brooker’s Dead Set and the Top Boy series – is a confident and accomplished effort, perhaps helped by his distance from the subject matter. We’re in Belfast, 1971, stranded in the unfamiliar streets of a hostile city along with young English squaddie Jack O’Connell, after a riot separates him from his unit.
Whilst the main string of the film is about his efforts to get safely back to barracks, the parallel story of a hidden, dirty war (made flesh by Sean Harris and his MRF counter-gang) is as nail-biting; and by having the emotional, character-driven element running alongside the based-on-true-events conspiracy thriller element, there is a wholeness and a depth to the story which too many movies fail to offer.
Strong support from the likes of Killian Scott, Barry Keoghan and Charlie Murphy (all Love/Hate alumni), Sean Harris (Red Riding), Paul Anderson (Peaky Blinders) and others make this a visceral ride.