Under Suspicion (2000) Movie Review

Director: Stephen Hopkins

Writer: Tom Provost, W. Peter Iliff (Screenplay) Claude Miller, Jean Herman, Michel Audiard/John Wainwright (Original Screenplay/Book)

Starring: Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Monica Bellucci, Nydia Caro, Miguel Angel Suarez, Pablo Cunqueiro

Plot: A wealthy attorney in San Juan comes to the police station for “10 min.” of follow up questions to finding a 12-year old girl’s body in a park. Another young girl was also raped and murdered weeks earlier and the evidence points to him.

Tagline – A hidden past, a secret life, witness or suspect, guilty or innocent?

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Tense

Story: Under Suspicion starts as Henry Hearst (Hackman) agrees to go into see Captain Victor Benezet (Freeman) in a follow up to discovering a dead body on his daily run, only part of Henry’s story doesn’t add up. As Victor and Detective Felix Owen (Jane) start investigating Henry’s story more, they start to see him being the prime suspect.

Henry’s position of power as an attorney makes the case more difficult, as any false story would ruin both Henry and Victor, with each conversation offering new clues to the truth about what really happened to the murdered young girls.

Thoughts on Under Suspicion

Characters – Henry Hearst is wealthy attorney, married to a young wife, respected in the neighbourhood, he discovers a dead body of a young girl, whose story doesn’t add up, making him the prime suspect, he must give details about his personal life, which sees that his life isn’t what everyone else believes, having secrets that aren’t going to help his side of the case, always claiming his innocence to the truth. Captain Victor Benezet has worked with Henry in the past, they have been through cases for years and he knows that if the investigation comes out, he will handle things with more care, only to need to play both sides of Henry, his friend and the cop after a killer. Detective Felix Owen is the younger investigator, he wants the case solved, he will step over the line at time, needing to be kept in place by Victor, while needing to push the boundaries. Chantal Hearst is the younger wife of Henry, she has become distant from him, with his actions driving her away, she could answer a few of the big questions, but doesn’t want to bring her family down, even though she has a grudge about what Henry might have done before.

PerformancesWe do have two of Hollywood’s heavyweights in the leading roles, Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman, who both show why they are on top of most best actor lists, they carry the film with their performances, while being joined by Thomas Jane and Monica Bellucci giving very strong supporting performances too.

StoryThe story here follows what is simply a follow up set of questions about discovering a dead, soon turns into a full blown investigation into the man that could have been behind the murders. This is a story about people on power being able to play this card to try and get out of questioning, though we do balance the guilty or not guilty side of the story very well, showing us who could be behind the crime. The constant switch in stories does help us question everything we are seeing, showing that trust is what will always be the most difficult thing to maintain. The do only see how one man is being questioned to new limits and how this pressure could create differences in stories given too.

CrimeThe crime is two murders of young girls, they need to be solved fast with the police needing to focus on all sides of the story, making sure everything is covered before the killer could strike again.

SettingsThe film is set on an island, which shows us just how the characters are living in luxury away from the big cities.

Scene of the Movie – Henry and Felix questioning.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough investigating into the murders seems to be happening, only the questioning.

Final Thoughts This is a tense thriller that does keep us on the edge of our seat throughout, as we are left to wonder just what is really happened, being carried by powerhouse performances.

Overall: Twist Filled Thriller.

Signature Entertainment presents Under Suspicion on Digital HD July 31 and on Amazon Prime August 3rd

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – W – All About Nina (2018) Movie Review

This is under W because of Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

Director: Eva Vives

Writer: Eva Vives (Screenplay)

Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Common, Chace Crawford, Jay Mohr, Kate del Castillo, Beau Bridges, Clea DuVall

Plot: Nina is a stand-up comedian who sees her life turned upside down when she meets Rafe.

Tagline – Get your act together.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Edgy, Personal Comedy

Story: All About Nina starts as we meet stand-up comedian Nina (Winstead) whose routines work winning over the audiences with her reputation being very high in New York, only off stage she is stuck in an abusive relationship with a cop that is cheating on his wife.

To start a fresh Nina heads of to LA to try her hand on a new scene. On her first night performing Nina meets Rafe (Common) one of the first men that looks to treat her differently to the rest of the guys in her, changing everything in her life in one night.

Thoughts on All About Nina

Characters – Nina is a stand-up comedian, she doesn’t have a limit to her routine making jokes out of everything in her life, she has her own problems off the stage, with choices in men and not wanting to let anybody get close to her, she takes a chance with a move to LA to get a slot on a comedy show, only this gives her a chance at a new life, both professionally and personally. Rafe is the man Nina meets in one of her shows, he turns out to be something very different to anything Nina has met before. We do meet other parts of Nina’s life, be it guys that have used her in past.

PerformancesMary Elizabeth Winstead does give us one of the best performances of her career, the character is nothing like we would have managed to see in real life, being completely no off button. Common is great to showing he will always be somebody who can step into a supporting role with ease. The rest of the cast manage to fill the supporting roles well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a female stand-up comedian who moves across country for a big break only to meet a guy that could help her turn her life around, even if she continues to use comedy for protection from the real world. This story does show us what the price of success could be, how even if somebody is on the verge of success, they might find their own way to sabotage her own future. The story is trying to put the important highlight on the fact that we do have female stand-up comedians and they will need to overcome different problems in their desire for success, though the style of comedy isn’t going to be for everyone.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is all about the routine that Nina has, it will no holds barred style, which won’t be for everyone, with the romance showing us just how difficult being yourself when you have a shattered past could be.

SettingsThe film uses the two main entertainment centres in America, first New York and then LA, they both work to show how much progress Nina is making in her career.

Scene of the Movie – The truth show.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The comedy style is too much.

Final Thoughts This is easily Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s best performance of her career, it has a strong story only the comedy does hold it back by being too no-holds barred.

Overall: Winstead is a Powerhouse.

Cotton Wool (2017) Short Movie Review

Director: Nicholas Connor

Writer: Nicholas Connor (Screenplay)

Starring: Leanne Best, Crissy Rock, Kate Rutter, Max Vento, Gemma Paige North, Katherine Quinn

Plot: A single mother (Leanne Best) suffers a devastating stroke leaving her teenage daughter (Katherine Quinn) and 7-year-old son (Max Vento) to care for her.

Runtime: 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Important Drama

Story: Cotton Wool starts when single mother Rachel (Best) has a stroke, her children teenager Jennifer (Quinn) and Sam (Vento) are left in her care, with Jennifer needing to start taking responsibility more in life.

Jennifer struggles with the new responsibilities through mixture of fear and unknowing of what to do, but deep down all she wants is what is best for her mother, the one person that has always stuck around for her.

Thoughts on Cotton Wool

Final Thoughts Cotton Wool brings to life the reality that young people, children, teenagers are having to become carers for sick relatives, we get to see the sudden change in the whole family’s life, how unprepared the children are to be in this situation. We see just how the change will change the life of Jennifer more than Sam, how people will be there to support them the best they can. This is important to show us just how helpless the system can be for the family’s that might not get the help they need. The performances in the film are brilliant, everyone in the family, Leanne Best, Max Vento and Katherine Quinn shine, making us believe they are all a real family, dealing with the struggles. This is a short film that you should check out, understand the changes people are going through and offering to help the people in need.

Overall: Must Watch.