The Hour of the Lynx (2013)

Director: Soren Kragh-Jacobsen

Writer: Jonas T Bengtsson, Soren Kragh-Jacobsen, Tobias Lindholm (Screenplay) Per Olov Enquist (Play)

Starring: Sofie Grabol, Signe Egholm Olsen, Frederik Christian Johansen, Soren Malling, Borje Ahlstedt, Pelle Falk Krusbaek

Plot: Helen, who is a priest, is approached by scientist Lisbeth with a desperate plea for help. A young man, who has been sent to a high security psychiatric ward after having killed an old couple, has attempted suicide while rambling about God. In a race against time the two women begin a shocking journey deeper and deeper into the sick mind of a young man’s soul.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Throughout

Story: The Hour of the Lynx starts when a young man Drengen (Johansen) butchers a family before trying to commit suicide, he fails, two years later his psychologist in a psychiatric prison Lisbeth (Olsen) turns to a priest Helen (Grabol) to understand why he used the excuse of God when he committed the murders.

Lisbeth has been using animals to help keep the patients calm, with Drengen getting a cat and showing huge improvements, only once another patient hurts the cat, the pure rage in him comes out, throwing right back to where he started, this brings Helen back to help give him a knew way to cure this disturbed young man.

Thoughts on The Hour of the Lynx

Characters – Helen is a priest asked to come and help understand what is troubling a young man who has committed a seemingly random crime, she is asked to join by a psychologist who is struggling to find answers behind his religious beliefs behind his crimes. Lisbeth has been trying to help her patients by giving them animals to keep them calm, it has worked with some, but not others and she is facing pressure to prove her findings, which sees her needing to turn to Helen to help find a solution. Drengen has committed the murder of two people, he tries to kill himself afterwards claiming it to be in the name of God, he spent two years in a psychiatric hospital where he doesn’t seem to improve until Helen starts communicating with him about God, where we learn his disturbing truth. Knud is the head warden in the hospital, he wants to keep both sides safe and finds certain things difficult to make happen.

PerformancesSofie Grabol gives us a great listening performance, we see how her character needs to let people speak instead of speak for them. Signe Egholm Olsen shows us a character which will fight for what she wants well, showing how much this means to her. Frederik Christian Johansen is disturbing while looking vulnerable through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a young man that seemingly kills two random people in the name of God, they try to get through to him and turn to a priest to help, this does unlock his troubled past which explains his actions, it just all about unlocking the truth. This is an interesting story because it does show how scientist could put their own career above helping people and even with God being an answer, it is communication that will unlock the truth of a troubled life. This story does show us just how difficult life can be for some young people which could see them being led down the wrong paths in life.

CrimeThe crime side of film shows us what Drengen did and how his treatment is being handled.

SettingsThe film is set in the hospital which sees Drengen being held until he can understand about his actions.


Scene of the Movie – The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We do spend a lot of time looking at Lisbeth pet experiment.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting crime drama, we see the consequences of a murder and needing to find the motivation at times.

Overall: Crime with consequences.

Rating

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The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019)

Director: Gideon Raff

Writer: Gideon Raff (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Evans, Haley Bennett, Alona Tal, Michiel Huisman, Ben Kingsley, Michael Kenneth Williams, Alex Hassell, Alessandro Nivola, Greg Kinnear

Plot: Israel’s Mossad agents attempt to rescue Ethiopian Jewish refugees in Sudan in 1977.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Amazing True Story

Story: The Red Sea Diving Resort starts as Ari (Evans) an American Ari (Evans) working for the Israel Mossad agents rescues refugees from Ethiopia with his latest mission seeing Kabede (Williams) rescued. Ari does become grounded, but isn’t willing to let more innocent people murder, he comes up with an idea that could see thousands rescued.

Ari puts together a team including Rachel Reiter (Bennett), Jake (Huisman), Max (Hassell) and Sammy (Nivola) with the plan to lease a hotel known as the Red Sea Diving Resort to use it to get refugees out of Africa back to Israel. This is one of the riskiest rescue attempts tried and one that will bring history to life.

Thoughts on The Red Sea Diving Resort

Characters – Ari Levinson is leading an Israeli group of agent, who are trying to rescue Ethiopian refugees by taking them through Sudan, giving them their only hope to make it out alive. He is willing to risk everything to make it happen by taking a mission which will risk their own lives to lead them out to see, remaining calm through the operations which will see them become targets of the local generals. Rachel is one of the team, just by being a woman she is risking even more than the rest, though her language skills are key to the whole operation. Kabede Bimro is the connection with Ari that leads the refugees to him, he becomes one of the most wanted men because of his actions, but will risk everything for his own family. Ethan Levin is the one that tries to control Ari on his mission, he doesn’t agree with most of what he does, knowing if he was to get caught it could create an international incident.

PerformancesChris Evans takes his first major role since leaving the role as Captain America, he does show he can handle the serious side of acting even though his character does feel like branch of what Captain America stood for. Haley Bennett is strong throughout, in a world that her character shouldn’t feel safe in. Ben Kingsley does what you would expect in his authority role, while Michael Kenneth Williams is the most interesting character though we could have spent more time with his character.

StoryThe story here follows an Israeli agent that risked everything to try and rescue as many Ethiopian refugees as he could using a Sudanese hotel as a cover to hide them and move them through to safety despite heavy pressure from the military forces in the country. This is another incredible story of how somebody and their team would do the right thing for the human race that would be left facing a future which would see them killed or forced into slavery if they couldn’t get free. It should be seen to highlight the continuing problems in the world along with the incredible work that was done. We are kept waiting to see how many will get rescued and how they will overcome the obstacles placed in their way, though it would be fair it wouldn’t be a story if they had failed.

HistoryThis is a moment in history which showed a country reaching out to help in secret when another country would rather butcher their own people.

SettingsThe film creates the realistic settings that only make this feel like we are part of the era it is set in, we see how much was being risked in what could be considered a calm location of a hotel.


Scene of the Movie – Runway.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The fact that his behaviour actually still happens in the world.

Final Thoughts This is a highlight on just what was risked to save thousands of stranded refugees, it has top class acting and shows that we can achieve great things if we worked together.

Overall: Brilliant look at bravery.

Rating

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – Z – Zulu (2013)

Director: Jerome Salle

Writer: Julien Rappeneau, Jerome Salle (Screenplay) Caryl Ferey (Book)

Starring: Orlando Bloom, Forest Whitaker, Conrad Kemp, Inge Beckmann, Tinarie van Wyk Loots, Regardt van den Bergh

 

Plot: Policemen Ali Sokhela and Brian Epkeen investigate the brutal murder of a young white woman, apparently provoked by the availability of a new illegal drug and somehow connected to the disappearance of black street children.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gritty Crime Drama

 

Story: Zulu starts when a young woman is murdered, police officer Ali Sokhela (Forest) and his team that includes the washed up Brian Epkeen (Bloom) and rookie Dan Fletcher (Kemp) must start to investigate the case.

As the investigation deepens Brian must hold himself together while Ali must face his demons from his past which becomes deadly as they fall into an illegal drug dealing ring with a new devasting drug on the market.

 

Thoughts on Zulu

 

Characters – Brian Epkeen is a washed-up police officer, he is great at solving crimes, he tends to have a different woman every night, which has made him distant from his son. He never looks professional but will always do the right thing for his team. Ali Sokhela is scared by his childhood in the racial torn country, now he is a captain in the police force which sees him needing to forgive the men his father fought against to work in the same team, he does have connections which helps him through the city, with his own demons he must locate the killer. Dan is a rookie officer that is part of the team, his innocence isn’t ready to be in the field with the seasoned vets. Ruby is Brian’s ex-wife that hates him and that Brian hassle when he feels like it.

PerformancesOrlando Bloom does show us that he can still be a leading man, an edgy side to his character is a big plus too, we could happily watch more of his work here. Forest Whitaker is great too, he has the darker backstory which pushes him into his decisions and hits the accent. The rest of the cast don’t get as much screen time as he does, but you do feel like they hired a lot of local talent which helps make the film feel authentic.

StoryThe story follows two cops, one with a dark past because of his skin colour as a child, the other lives in darkness because of his addiction that must use their skills to solve a crime which starts simple enough until things get out of hand to a much bigger problem running through the city. This does feel gritty with how we investigate things, it doesn’t hold back with what happens to the characters and shows us just how far the criminal underworld will go to keep a secret. While this doesn’t rely on twists to get the final outcome, it does show us just how far these two would go to solve a crime and bring the criminals to justice.

CrimeThe crime world we enter here shows us just how both sides in a drug war are waging against each other, we get bodies piling up that will only increase the battle with a racial tension that just increases the tension between the twos.

SettingsThe film is set in South Africa, we get to see how difficult the drug war is with the racial tension still between the people in the city.


Scene of the Movie –
Brian’s escape plan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The scene where the head turns up, there is such a pointless line here.

Final ThoughtsThis is a gritty crime drama that shows us the harsh reality of the drug world, the two cops must overcome demons that will put them through a major test to get to the bottom of a crime.

 

Overall: Crime fans surprise.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – Y – The Yards (2000)

Director: James Gray

Writer: James Gray, Matt Reeves (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, Charlize Theron, James Caan, Ellen Burstyn, Faye Dunaway, Steve Lawrence

 

Plot: In the rail yards of Queens, contractors repair and rebuild the city’s subway cars. These contracts are lucrative, so graft and corruption are rife. When Leo Handler gets out of prison, he finds his aunt married to Frank Olchin, one of the big contractors; he’s battling with a minority-owned firm for contracts. Willie Gutierrez, Leo’s best friend, is Frank’s bag man and heads a crew of midnight saboteurs who ruin the work of the Puerto Rican-owned firm. Leo needs a job, so Willie pays him to be his back-up. Then things go badly wrong one night, a cop IDs Leo, and everyone now wants him out of the picture. Besides his ailing mom and his cousin Erica, to whom can Leo turn?


Tagline – He’s the target of the most merciless family in New York. His own

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: By the Books

 

Story: The Yards starts when Leo (Wahlberg) gets released from prison, needing to lock down a job his Aunt Kitty (Dunaway) sets him up with her husband Frank Olchin (Caan) who runs a railway construction company in Queens. Without the skills set, he can’t be given a job, but his bag man Willie (Phoenix) who is also Leo’s best friend recruits him to do the dirty work for the company.

When a job goes wrong Willie and Leo both commit an act of violence, only Leo can be identified, he must go on the run while finding everybody trying to hunt him down, trying to expose the truth before it is too late, with only is mother Val (Burstyn) and cousin Erica (Theron) to trust.

 

Thoughts on The Yards

 

Characters – Leo is an ex-con that is released from prison, he best friend and Uncle offer him two different jobs, one he isn’t qualified for and one would mean working against the law. He finds himself on the wrong side of the law after a job goes wrong needing to do anything he can to clear his name, while being considered the most wanted man in Queens. Willie is the best friend of Leo, he has made a career being the bag man for Frank which will see him complete the deals to make the business succeed. He ends up leading Leo down the wrong path, when it is him that makes the biggest mistake. Erica is the cousin of Leo and girlfriend to Willie, she is completing her education and gets caught between who to remain loyal towards. Frank runs the corrupt railway construction company that has nearly every political figure in his back pocket. He keeps himself looking clean, letting his men do the dirty work, leading to him being forced into a difficult decision. Val is the mother of Leo that has always tried to give him everything he could give him in life, left to suffer when he gets blamed for the crimes.

PerformancesMark Wahlberg is strong in the leading role, he gives us a performance that shows his regret, confusion and worries about the future he is meant to have once out of prison. Joaquin Phoenix brings us a performance which shows us just how he can make us hate a character. Charlize Theron in the supporting role shows us everything she needs to without getting the same spotlight as the rest of the cast, while James Caan works in the corrupt businessman role with ease. The rest of the cast are solid without doing anything outside the comfort zones.

StoryThe story here takes us into the world of corruption within the Queens railway service construction company that pays off to get jobs after doing their own dirty work to make others look worse, we follow one ex-con being placed into this world who sees the bad only to become the prime suspect in the investigation of a murder. The story does try to keep us guessing to what will happen and who Leo could trust only for it to become to run of mill in the genre to make it new or original. It might be loosely based on a real case, it however doesn’t offer enough to make things feel like we could see too much going on, rather than focusing on the cover up itself.

Crime/RomanceThe crime world we enter is the political corruption of construction which shows us how quickly people can turn on each other without doubt. The romance side of this story takes a back burner which is here to show how difficult of a position Erica is put into.

SettingsThe film is set in Queen which shows us how the community will come together to work together or turn on somebody.


Scene of the Movie –
The incident.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story is overly generic.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting crime story that does everything by the book without doing anything overly special.

 

Overall: Simple crime film.

Rating

 

 

Villain (1971)

Director: Michael Tuchner

Writer: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais (Screenplay) James Barlow (Novel)

Starring: Richard Burton, Ian McShane, Nigel Davenport, Donald Sinden, Fiona Lewis, T.P. McKenna, Joss Ackland

 

Plot: In 1970s London, the Scotland Yard orchestrates the downfall of mob boss Vic Dakin after he crosses the line by blackmailing Members of Parliament.


Tagline – You are looking at the face of a Villain.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic British Gangster Film

 

Story: Villain starts as we see how gangster Vic Dakin (Burton) controls London, he has people that will grass on him to the cops with Inspector Bob Matthews (Davenport) trying to bring down the criminal.

Vic continues to use his business connections to stay ahead of the police, with Wolfe Lissner (McShane) being the latest person the inspectors are turning to try and give up Vic’s secrets.

 

Thoughts on Villain

 

Characters – Vic Dakin runs London with his criminal activities, he is feared by most people and if you cross him, you will get hurt if not killed. He has become over confident that he can get away with anything, making him one of the prime targets for everyone involved in law. Wolf Lissner works for Vic, he is one of the youngster members of the crew and the one that the police are trying to use to turn on him, even if he the one person that Vic will always turn to. Bob Matthews is the inspector that has been trying to bring down Vic for years, he has risen up the ranks, got the people in the gang, but never been able to get the conviction. Gerald Draycott is the politician that is being blackmailed to keep the business under wraps for Vic.

PerformancesWe do have two big names in his film, first Richard Burton that doesn’t get to show the skill he could bring to a film, while a younger Ian McShane shows us that he could be set for a career in this sidekick gangster role. The rest of the cast are doing all they need to without being in anyway stand out through the film.

StoryThe story follows a gangster that has the power over London, the police have been hunting him for years, but he always finds a way to get out of trouble. This time they get closer than ever before and could finally take down one of the biggest gangsters in London. When it comes to the gangster genre, we don’t really ever get much different when it comes to where the story goes, this one is based loosely on the Kray brother, but for some reason only one of the twins. It does feel like we have seen everything before, we don’t get drawn into support either side of the battle and end up feeling like it is just another gangster film.

CrimeThe crime world we enter shows us just where the criminals operate and just where the police will need to turn to, in any hope of bringing him down.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in London which see just how the criminals operate, where they can get away from crime.


Scene of the Movie –
The opening scene as we see just how Vic can operate.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The final shot.

Final ThoughtsThis is a typical British gangster film that starts with an intense opening, only to become a drag as the film unfolds.

 

Overall: British Gangster 101.

Rating