Outlaw King (2018)

Director: David Mackenzie

Writer: Bathsheba Doran, David Mackenzie, James MacInnes (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Pine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Florence Pugh, Billy Howle, Paul Blair, Sam Spruell


Plot: A true David v Goliath story of how the great 14th Century Scottish ‘Outlaw King’ Robert The Bruce used cunning and bravery to defeat and repel the much larger and better equipped occupying English army.

Tagline – Based on the Untold True Story

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: The Brutality of War


Story: Outlaw King starts after William Wallace has been defeated and the English have taken over Scotland, accepting the surrounding kings and lords. Robert Bruce (Pine) is ready to take over his father’s role with King Edward I (Dilldane) controlling the land, with Elizabeth (Pugh) being married to Robert.

When Robert kills, he breaks the peace between the two nations with Scotland naming him King, England brand him the Outlaw king forcing him to build a new army to fight back against the English against all the odds.


Thoughts on Outlaw King


Characters – Robert Bruce is the son of his father’s name, next in line for royalty during a time of peace under English control, his action start a new war where he becomes King and must lead the fellow Scots in battle against the odds. He offers the people a chance to be by his side or against him without holding their decision against them, remaining fair to everyone in conflict. Elizabeth Burgh is the English lady that is forced to marry Robert, the two do get on which helps complete the peace, when the peace is broken she stands by his side and is used to bait Robert out of hiding. James Douglas joins the battle with Robert as he looks to regain the honour his family name deserves. Prince Edward is leading the English army in hunting down Robert and the rebels, he is doing this to impress his father with his place of King in his future.

PerformancesChris Pine gives us a wonderful performance showing us once again how he can adapt to any role given to him, never looking out of place playing a Scotsman. Florence Pugh continues her run in the period piece films, she shows us once again that she does have the talent for someone as young as she is. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is strong in the supporting role, he looks like the desperate man that he is meant to be playing. Billy Howle is strong too, we see how he can make his desire for power be the thing which drives his performance.

StoryThe story here shows us the story of Robert Bruce the Outlaw King of Scotland who fought against the odds to reclaim the kingdom of Scotland from the English. We know how ‘Braveheart’ has its own version of the battle which the English won, this story takes place in the aftermath of the real story which peace couldn’t be kept leading us to battle once again and showed us just how confrontational the two nations were. We get a lot of different titles which can become slightly confusing to keep up on who is what and in what line to become king of whichever nation they are fighting for.

Action/Biopic/HistoryThe action is massive scale battles which are shot in the same style of Game of Thrones, this being realistic is great for effect, but difficult to watch when it comes to see the horses getting slaughtered in the battle. The history lesson and biopic side of the film shows who Robert and his men were along with they would end up becoming.

SettingsThe film gives us locations that feel like they could be from the same time, we get the beauty of the Scottish countryside which only shows how they made their own advantage.

Scene of the Movie –
The battles.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Keeping on top of who is what ranking.

Final ThoughtsThis is a new brutal battle movie, it gives the history lesson needed and shows how people defined the future for people in the world.


Overall: Brutal history lesson.




Siberia (2018)

Director: Matthew Ross

Writer: Scott B Smith (Screenplay) Stephen Hamal, Scott B Smith (Story)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Ana Ularu, Molly Ringwald, Pasha D Lychnikoff


Plot: When an American diamond trader’s Russian partner goes missing, he journeys to Siberia in search of him, but instead begins a love affair.

Tagline – This was not the plan.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Lacklustre Thriller Waiting for a Sting


Story: Siberia starts when American diamond trader Lucas Hill (Reeves) loses contact with his partner Pyotr (Gulyarin) he must head to Russia to figure out just what went wrong, meeting with his client Boris Volkov (Lychnikoff) he has two days to locate the diamonds who face drastic consequences.

Lucas finds himself in a small town waiting for contact where he meets the locals including café owner Katya (Ularu) who takes a shine to him, Lucas starts to befriend the locals and Katya which makes him feel more welcome, though the job and his wife Gabby (Ringwald) keep his attention.


Thoughts on Siberia


Characters – Lucas Hill is a diamond trader based in America, his latest job goes wrong, forcing him to head to St Petersburg to figure out just what has happened, here he learns of multiply interested parties and his partner is nowhere to be seen. He gets romantically involved with a local woman putting his personal life in danger. His problems are mounting up which only leads him to make rash decisions. Katya is a café owner that gets romantically involved in an affair with Lucas, she knows he has a wife and still gets involved, helping him with his dealings. Boris Volkov is the criminal client that Lucas is trying to make happy with his diamonds, he isn’t happy that the deal isn’t going smoothly forcing Lucas to search with his threats. Gabby is Lucas’s wife back in America, she knows his business and that he will be away for long periods of time.

PerformancesKeanu Reeves does the basics well in this film, he doesn’t reach the levels he can and has been in recent years, but he does take a chance on another project which would be different. An Ulrau is solid too, she seems to have a difficult character to play with most of her scenes involving the relationship with Lucas. Pasha is fine in the generic villain role and Molly Ringwald is in this film, it is unfair to say anything bad about her, most of the question are around why we barely see her.

StoryThe story here follows a diamond trader that must travel to Russia to figure out what went wrong on the latest job only for him to get caught up in an affair with a local woman. The problems with this film comes from focusing too long on the affair and meeting the locals which takes up a large amount of the film, the dealings some late and are glossed over feeling like we have seen it all before. We even have a moment where we have the phone call with the wife and for some reason we show the wife who isn’t seen again. The story is the weakest part of the film and just gets confused with what it is trying to tell us.

Crime/RomanceThe crime world we enter shows Lucas conducting his diamond trades which never feels like it is as shady as it should be, you don’t get a full sense of how confrontational Lucas would be either. The romance angle in the film follows the basic affair one which would put our character in a position where he meets an unlikely person in his life.

SettingsThe film is set in Russia, well Siberia, look at the title of the film. none of the location stand out as anything new or original.

Scene of the Movie –
Learning the truth about the diamonds.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Hunting scene, not needing and barbaric.

Final ThoughtsThis is a lacklustre crime romance film that gets clogged down focusing on the certain sides of the film which makes you forget the other side of the film.


Overall: Crime thriller that just doesn’t hit home.




ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – I – It’s a Wonderful Afterlife (2010)

Director: Gurinder Chadha

Writer: Gurinder Chadha (Screenplay)

Starring: Sanjeev Bhaskar, Steve Morphew, Steve Jones, Jamie Sives, Sendhill Ramamurthy, Mark Addy


Plot: A comedy centered on an Indian mother who takes her obsession with marriage into the world of serial murder.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Enjoyable Rom Com Horror


Story: It’s a Wonderful Afterlife starts with four mysterious Indian cuisine related murders, D S Raj Murthy (Ramamurthy) is bought into help get information from the Indian community but we learn early on that his old family friend Mrs Sethi (Azmi) is behind the murders as she is trying to find a husband for her daughter Roopi (Notay) and all the victims have insulted her daughter but are now haunting Mrs Sethi.

As the investigation points in Roopi’s direction the spirits haunting her mother works with them to find her a husband before she will confess to the murders giving the spirits a chance to be reincarnated and with Raj back in the life he makes for a perfect choice.


Thoughts on It’s a Wonderful Afterlife


Characters – D S Raj Murthy is assigned to go undercover in search for the killer that is killing people in the Indian community, he offers a love interest for Roopi but is also finding out if she is the killer. Roopi is the Indian woman that hasn’t gotten married yet with her mother trying to find her a husband, she is a kind woman helping others but just doesn’t believe in herself. Linda is the best friend that returns believing she can handle spirits and that she will be finding her partner. Mrs Sethi is the murderer, she is killing people that insult her daughter but finds herself being haunted by the spirits.

PerformanceThe performances through the film are great with Sendhil Ramamurthy from heroes taking the leading man role with ease, Shabana Azmi is also great as the concerned murdering mother. Goldy Notay does a great job too as the daughter looking for love but not searching for it and Sally Hawkins does seem to get the most laughs from her character.

StoryThe story uses the idea of arranged marriage being around in Indian culture still and this film takes things to the next level showing how a mother would kill to make sure her daughter would get married to the right person. It does have the usual misleading issues with our characters being involved in a murder case but otherwise things all go the way you would expect in the story.

Comedy/Horror/RomanceThe comedy comes from all the idea of the kills, the spirits haunting the mother and the arranging of finding Roopi a husband. The horror comes from the haunting of Mrs Sethi but is used for the comedy with the romance focusing on the idea of searching for the husband.

SettingsThe settings show how the Indian culture has become a part of England and the mix can work in harmony for the story.

Special EffectsThe effects are good through the film only being used to show interaction with the spirits.

Scene of the Movie – Carrie parody.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It focuses too much on the rom com side of things over the horror.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable rom com with a small part horror, it shows us about how people can go too far for the happiness of their own family with laughter and murder.


Overall: One to try for rom com community out there.