Well, I really couldn’t on board with the ending (which I won’t spoil), but the fact the director and writer and indeed Ryan Reynolds could hold my attention so raptly is essentially a single setting involving once character onscreen shows a lot of talent in all respects. It was tense, gripping and extremely well executed. One of the best thrillers of the last 5 years, I’d say.
But the ending just made me want to punch the director. But I do acknowledge that was a very personal view of it, and others will think it’s a good ending. So don’t let my comments about it put you off.
Rather dull comedy thriller that really doesn’t do either of those things. Jill Clayburgh is quite good as the everywoman attracted to Gene Wilder, but the comedy just feels mostly off through the whole thing, and the plot gets tiresome.
High point is seeing Richard Kiel doing a kind of tryout for Jaws in The Spy who Love me.
Pretty damn good procedural murder/detective story from Hitchcock, where the cool, meticulous planner becomes unravelled by little deviations from the plan.
The only thing that seems unbelievable is what man in his right mind is tired of being married to Grace Kelly?
In the police inspector, I see the spiritual parent of Columbo.
This is an outrageously good-looking film, and every scene has tantalising and enthralling composition. It engages and keeps your attention.
The motivations and character development of the main focus of this story is just odd. I will avoid spoilers so I’ll not elaborate too much, but it jarred a little, and you had to have patience and acceptance of some pretty strange character development to really enjoy this film.
It nearly lost me, but it didn’t. I think mostly helped by the great performances.
Damn, it’s beautiful to look at.
This is a startling movie about psychopathy. The acting is stagey and melodramatic (it’s based on a Stage Play, with most, if not all, the original stage cast), and there’s a lot of monologues, but hell, does it work. Central is the little blonde girl, who psychopathy is clear – she’s charming but forcefully and oddly so, confident to a degree it feels unnatural for her age, and completely devoid of remorse. She feels trivial setups completely justify her murderous actions. Her glee is scary, but scarier still are the moments we detect a vacancy and absence of…something…behind those eyes.
And it’s not just her performance that electrifies the movie. The mother, torn by knowledge of her daughter’s evil actions, but still loving her daughter, gives a borderline hysterical performance that’s terrific, only surpassed by a grieving mother whose little son is dead…and she suspects it wasn’t an accident. Also, there’s a terrific Southern gardener who reminds you of William H. Macy, who is on to the little girl at the start, and threatens and teases her throughout…and it’s very unsettling how the little girl handles the (true) accusations with such clear confidence and offhandedness.
What I thought was the ending was extreme and shocking (I’m not going to spoil it, but you’ll know it when you see it), but there are further scenes that feel tacked on (kind of like the end of Psycho?), but that are in their own way, almost as weird as the preceding 2 hours, and in a way more dreamlike and pushing the story into archetype fairy tale.
Would make a great double bill with Night of the Hunter for a great night of fantastic black-and-white gothic-thriller-horror.
Nicely made film that looks great, and solid script and performances. The central conceit intrigues right up until you find out exactly who is responsible, and the revelation doesn’t live up to the original promise, and as you think it through, the logical flaws start to be bothersome. In some respects, it’s a slicker version of 1997’s Cube, but that movie at least had the balls to not explain itself – and the explanation here makes the film weaker by explaining the mystery. Still, great first and second acts.
This Gun for Hire (1942)
Containing Alan Ladd’s first starring role as a stone-cold killer, this is an excellent, though twisty (and rather contrived) plotted piece apparently based on a story by Graham Greene. Ladd is magnificent here as Raven, and I think the first instance of the solitary assassin movie archetype that we see in assorted movies, such as Le Samourai (whose main character Jeff probably saw this movie way too many times), through to Jean Reno’s Leon in The Professional.
Veronica Lake also stars and is rather fine in this movie as a singing magician (yep, that’s right) wo gets involved in this plot about revenge, stolen formulas, traitors and trains.
A classic noir in all senses – the brooding characters, the beautiful women, and the tough dialogue all add up to make this an excellent way to pass 80 minutes.
Age suitability: Early teens or even mature 10 year olds + upwards.
Fear is the Key (1973)
A good, twisty, jagged little thriller based on a book by Alistair Maclean where things are not what they seem. Barry Newman is excellent in this as the protagonist that is initially quite rotten as a character, but whose better qualities eventually shine through, especially once you understand his motivations (which you may pick up in the brief, unfussy first scene that might even slip your attention, so short and downplayed as it is).
It begins with a spectacular 10-minute car chase through the bayou-swamps of somewhere (let’s guess Louisiana) – it reminded me of a similar case in speedboats in the James Bond movie Live and Let Die. And then it gets progressively more engaging and intriguing.
John Vernon (Dean Wormer of Animal House) is the main bad guy, with Ben Kingsley as his main henchman (doing a good squeaky-voiced psycho, some years before his turn as Gandhi, and many years before his full-blown psycho Donnie Logan in Sexy Beast) – sporting a full head of hair. They make excellent bad guys who don’t realise who they’re actually getting mixed up with.
In addition to this, the score is pretty good – done by Roy Budd a little time after he did the spectacular score for Get Carter. The direction is also solid, with some memorable shots – a dead man in a shallow, muddy grave is shown during a rain storm, and the shot of his still face being spattered with muddy rain is particularly memorable.
Finally the ending is both very tense and quite distinct – I can’t remember anything similar at all.