ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – K – The King’s Choice (2016)

Director: Erik Poppe

Writer: Harald Rosenlow-Egg, Jane Trygve Royneland (Screenplay)

Starring: Jesper Christensen, Andrew Baasmo Christiansen, Karl Markovics, Tuva Novotny, Katharina Schuttler, Erik Hivju

 

Plot: On the 9th of April 1940, the German war machine arrive in the city of Oslo. The Norwegian King faces a choice that will change his country forever.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice History Lesson

 

Story: The King’s Choice starts in 1940 Norway, when the Germans start to invade, dragging the peaceful country into the war, King Haakon VII (Christensen) is left to see his country come under attack and communicate with his government on how to protect his people, Curt Brauer (Markovics) the German representative tries to play peacekeeper before Norway does something against the Germans.

As the Germans continue to advance in the country, King Haakon must make the difficult decision which will leave his country in their own position for the war that torn Europe apart.

 

Thoughts on The King’s Choice

 

Characters – King Haakon of Norway has kept his country at peace for years, now the war has come to his doorstep and he must be separated from his family while trying to keep his country together through the opening invasion, one they were not prepared for. Kronprins Olav is the son of Haakon who stands by his side through the difficult situation, he sees his children sent into hiding, knowing that their lives and his father lives will be put on the line against this enemy. Curt Brauer is the closest connection to the Germans in Norway, he tries to stop the bloodbath spreading. The characters in this film are based on the real people that has to make the difficult decisions during the war.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are strong throughout, Jesper Christensen in the leading role makes us understand every single struggle his character is going through. The rest of the performances let him take the starring role in the film.

StoryThe story here shows us just how Norway became involved in World War II, how they were first invaded by German and how the King made the difficult decision to help the country. This is a history lesson on another story from World War II, not knowing any of the Norwegian involvement, this made this much more interesting for me as I literally didn’t know what was going to happen in this story. if you do know the full history this will play it out for you nicely too.

Biopic/History/WarThe film uses both the history and biopic side of things to show us the couple of days from the first German invasion through any negotiations to keep the bloodshed down.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the film in the different locations the King went to during the first invasion, where he talks out any solutions the Norwegian people will need to make.


Scene of the Movie –
The speech to the cabinet.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is slower than it needs to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good history lesson about World War II which continues to give us new moments in film that we didn’t know unless we truly studied the time.

 

Overall: World War II history lesson.

Rating

 

 

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Braveheart (1995)

Director: Mel Gibson

Writer: Randall Wallace (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Catherine McCormack, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen, Brendan Gleeson, James Cosmo, Brian Cox

 

Plot: When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.


Tagline – Every man’s spirit is free. Not every man has the courage to follow it.

Runtime: 2 Hours 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long Biopic

 

Story: Braveheart starts when young William Wallace see his father and brother killed fighting for the independence of the land, taken in by his Uncle Argyle (Cox) he is raised to be a fighter. King Edward I (McGoohan) is trying to take control of the whole of Britain planning on leading the pressure on the Scots to fold, his son Prince Edward (Hanly) marries Princess Isabelle (Marceau) to unite with France.

William (Gibson) wants a life of peace which sees him marry Murron (McCormack) in secret after seeing what happens to the brides on their wedding night. When an English soldier tries to rape Murron, she fights back, only for this to lead to her execution. William is now ready for war and will lead the Scottish into battle against the English.

 

Thoughts on Braveheart

 

Characters – William Wallace saw his family die at war, raised in the peaceful land, wanting a peaceful life, his life if turned upside down when his wife is executed by the English. William becomes thee general for the Scottish army in the fight for freedom, becoming a leader put into legend. Princess Isabelle is from France, married to the Prince of England, she doesn’t like the conflict, turning to William to help him in the time of need. King Edward I is driven by war, he wants to conquer Scotland using his armies to try and keep them in order. Robert the Bruce is torn between keeping the peace or joining William’s war, he comes from the royal bloodline knowing his choice will be seen by the people. Murron is the common woman that William marries and sees killed for defending herself.

PerformancesMel Gibson in the leading role is strong for the most part even if he can’t manage to pull off the accent to a high enough standard, add in his age isn’t on the right scale required for this man. Sophie Marceau gets the strongest female role in the film, while the rest of the performance come off strong without anybody becoming overly memorable.

StoryThe story here shows a fictionalised version of the battle between William Wallace as he led the Scottish in battle with the English after the king tried to take control of the land, taking their freedom. While the scale of this story is massive, the reality it that most of the historical side of the film just doesn’t live up to the reality of what really happened, you can use the internet yourselves to learn the truth. For an inspirational hero of war leading a nation this is everything you want though. We do see how both sides prepare for the battles and just how they believe they are in the right, with both sides having people that don’t back what the leaders are doing to each others.

Biopic/History/WarThis is where we must look at how you read the movie, for a history lesson that is wrong this is easy to watch, it does everything to make it feel like a realistic version of events, but not the complete truth. The war between the English and the Scottish was real, was bloody and this film shows us just how brutal the wars of this time would have been.

SettingsThe film shows us just how large scale the battles were, when it comes to the pure numbers involved in the battles, we get the beauty of the highlands too which show us just how beautiful the land would have been for fighting for.


Scene of the Movie –
The battles.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The length of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a historically incorrect movie that can be watch for the pure scale of the epic battle between the nations, with have strong performance, wonderful directing when it comes to the battle scenes too.

 

Overall: Brutal at times, long at others.

Rating

 

 

Cillian Murphy Weekend – Anthropoid (2016)

Director: Sean Ellis

Writer: Sean Ellis, Anthony Frewin (Screenplay)

Starring: Jamie Dornan, Cillian Murphy, Toby Jones, Anna Geislerova, Sara Arnsteinova, Hana Frejkova, Sean Mahon

 

Plot: Based on the extraordinary true story of Operation Anthropoid, the WWII mission to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the main architect behind the Final Solution and the Reich’s third in command after Hitler and Himmler.


Tagline – The Only Thing More Terrifying Than the Leader of the SS Was the Operation to Take Him Out

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting History Lesson

 

Story: Anthropoid starts as two soldiers Jan Kubis (Dornan) and Josef Gabcik (Murphy) return to Czechoslovakia on the brink of World War II, to complete a mission known as Anthropoid, which will see them plan the assassination of SS General Reinhard Heydrich. Heydrich is one of the three main men behind the Final Solution, which was used to form the Nazi movement through Czechoslovakia, he is hated in the country.

With the location of Heydrich known, the men must work on a plan, which will see them place themselves in a situation which could change history as they know it.

 

Thoughts on Anthropoid

 

Characters – Jan Kubis and Josef Gabcik are both soldiers on a secret mission, they must sneak into the country to assassinate Heydrich third in line to the Nazi party. They must work around the town never looking out of place being strangers there, to prepare for a moment that could change history. They do try to blend into the background, not drawing attention to themselves to get their mission done. We do meet couple more characters including Uncle Hajsky who gives them shelter as they work on their mission. We do also meet love interests which will see the men put the mission in danger.

PerformancesJamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy take the leading roles, they both do a solid job as you can see them working well together on the mission, they can both hit higher levels though, which is a disappointment. Nobody makes the impact they could do through this film, with the subject being look at.

StoryThe story follows a secret mission of two soldiers who plan to assassinate one of the high ranking members of the Nazi party, we see how they plan comes together and just how much the people involved are willing to risk to end the executions of the innocent in their country. This is an interesting story, one that would be considered important because it is an important part of the pre-world war II events. It does show how the people were already starting to become scared of what might happen to them, what they would be willing to risk stopping it and just how much sacrifice was put into the events.

Biopic/WarThe biopic side of this film comes from seeing the risk the people involved took to try and stop one of the highest ranking men in the Nazi party, this also uses the war elements to show us just how people were being treated through World War II.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the action in Prague, where the events of the assassination attempt took place, the age for the scenery looks the most accurate for the time the film is set.


Scene of the Movie –
Church defence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It never feels as intense as it could or should be.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting history lesson, it shows the events of an attempted assassination of one of the Nazi’s most villainous men.

 

Overall: Interesting, but not intense enough.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – Y – The Young Victoria (2009)

Director: Jean-Marc Vallee

Writer: Julian Fellowes (Screenplay)

Starring: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, Thomas Kretschmann, Mark Strong

 

Plot: A dramatization of the turbulent first years of Queen Victoria’s rule, and her enduring romance with Prince Albert.


Tagline – She was the queen of an empire, but her heart belonged to one man.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Biopic

 

Story: The Young Victoria starts as young Victoria (Blunt) has been guarded from the world, knowing she will be next in line for the throne, Sir John Conroy (Strong) has been trying to get her to sign a regency order, meaning he would become king until she came of age, only for Victoria to refuse. We follow her 17th year as she starts meeting suiters for her husband, Belgium’s Prince Albert (Friend) being the prime candidate.

When King William (Broadbent) dies, it places Victoria in the position of Queen of England, Lord Melbourne (Bettany) must try to guide her in the decisions that she may face, while Victoria and Albert stay in contact through letters, that shares their love.

 

Thoughts on The Young Victoria

 

Characters – Victoria was raised to become Queen one day, forced to follow strict rules including walking down stairs holding somebody’s hand and sharing a bedroom with her mother. She is always under pressure about signing a regency, only to refuse because she knows that one day she will become Queen, she wants to make her rule, her own, which sees her wanting to pick her love, instead of following the rules the rest are trying to place for her. Prince Albert is the son of King Leopold of Belgium, the two fall in love and know that their union will keep the countries together stronger. Lord Melbourne is the advisor to Victoria, he has his own agenda which he wants to put into place, making him a danger figure in her connection to the common people of England. The Duchess of Kent is the mother of Victoria, who has been following the rules to protect her daughter and stuck following whatever John Conroy says.

PerformancesEmily Blunt shines in this leading role as the young Victoria, she brings the grace and determination to change the country through with her performance which you could believe the real Victoria doing to Britain. Rupert Friend as Prince Albert is wonderful too as he shows us the one person that would truly stand up against the Queen as many others would be in fear of her. Paul Bettany and Miranda Richardson round off the main cast as they both are great in their roles through the film.

StoryThe story follows the firs year that Queen Victoria was on the throne, we see how she had to learn quickly with how the politicians would try to sway her, meet a husband and try to help sort out a country with big divides between the upper class and the lower class. We see that even at a young age she was able to make these decisions to bring Britain forward and mark herself down as one of the most important leaders the nation ever saw. After becoming a fan of The Crown this was an easy story to step into as smaller moments made sense, if you don’t know certain historic rules the Queen must follow, you might not get why certain scenes in the film happen.

Biopic/History/RomanceThis movie shows us how important Queen Victoria’s reign was, we might only follow around a year, but she wanted to start making changes early on which will later become her legacy, the romance that she goes through shows how the Albert came into her life and showed her, they could rule together if they challenged the rules they believed to be wrong.

SettingsEach setting used in this film feels like the true settings we would see the royals living in, each one shows just how they could be living in the upper class, with the set design showing the beauty within the buildings.


Scene of the Movie –
The ride around town which changed everything.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We do have certain rules that never get explained, which people might not understand.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautifully shot biopic that shows us the first year’s reign of Queen Victoria, the difficulties she faced and how she overcame them all.

 

Overall: Must watch historical drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – W – World Trade Center (2006)

Director: Oliver Stone

Writer: Andrew Berloff (Screenplay) John McLoughlin, Donna LcLoughlin, William Jimeno, Allison Jimeno (True Story)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena, Maria Bello, Jay Hernandez, Jon Bernthal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: Two Port Authority police officers become trapped under the rubble of the World Trade Center.


Tagline – A True Story Of Courage And Survival

Runtime: 2 Hour 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Drama

 

Story: World Trade Center starts like every other day for police officers John McLoughlin (Cage) who sets the assignments for his department which include Will Jimeno (Pena) and Dominick Pezzulo (Hernandez). Today is going to change their lives, today is September 11th the day the World Trade Centers Twin Twos get hit by the planes, while being part of the rescue team the crew find themselves trapped.

When the dust settles Will and John are the only ones still alive with their loved ones Donna McLoughlin (Bello) and Allison Jimeno (Gyllenhaal) waiting to hear if they were in the towers when they went down. The two must support each other in hope that they would get rescued as New York and America comes together to rescue their own.

 

Thoughts on World Trade Center

 

Characters – All the characters in this film are based on real people, we have real victims from 9/11 being portrayed. John McLoughlin is the experience police officer that leads his men into the Twin Towers in a rescue attempt, he is a father of four which is one of his greatest motivations to survive once he becomes trapped in the rubble. Will Jimeno is the fellow officer that becomes trapped with John, he is a parent too with a second on the way, he is injured but uses the company of John to stay awake. We do have the wives and loved ones and fellow officers that helped in the rescues to being portrayed here showing the heroes involved on those days.

PerformancesNicolas Cage shows in this role that he still was a brilliant performer along with Michael Pena stepped to a leading role. We have fantastic performances from the whole cast if we are being honest.

StoryThe events of this day shocked the world like no other events, the stories of the survivors being found was a race for hope for anyone who might have had someone in the towers. We do focus on just two officers that became trapped as they fought to survive while waiting for rescue. Watching how the rescuers worked to save people trapped, the family waiting helplessly for news on their families, add this together and you get a powerful drama that showed the heroics during that tragic event.

History/ThrillerThe events of this movie are one of the most if not the most famous terrorist attack in modern history, seeing how the two officers just had to rely on hope to survive shows us just how the country was bought together to find a people which does make this edge of your seat waiting to see if they make it or not.

SettingsJohn and Will are trapped for the most part of this movie, it shows how hopeless the situation looked for the men, outside we see the aftermath of the attack.

Special EffectsThe effects used in the movie are fantastic to show the horror of the moment the towers came crashing down on the people inside to the surviving in the rumble and re-creation of the devastation.


Scene of the Movie –
For the visual the collapse is shocking to watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is still hard to watch because of the shock of the event.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful drama that shows how the city came together during the time of need.

 

Overall: This is a must watch but it is hard to re-live those moments.

Rating