Mosul (2019) Netflix Movie Review

Director: Matthew Michael Carnahan

Writer: Matthew Michael Carnahan (Screenplay)

Starring: Waleed Elgadi, Hayat Kamille, Thaer Al-Shayei, Suhail Dabbach, Adam Bessa

Plot: A police unit from Mosul fight to liberate the Iraqi city from thousands of ISIS militants.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Mosul starts as we meet a rookie police officer Kawa (Bessa) who along with his partner is cornered by the ISIS militant before getting rescued by Jasem (Dabbach) SWAT unit, Kawa gets recruited on the spot and gets to learn how this elite team operates within the city, looking to fight for the freedom they want their family to have.

We follow this unit as they work their way through the city in an attempt to eliminate the ISIS militant threat from the streets, leaving bodies behind, both the enemies and their own.

Thoughts on Mosul

Characters – Jasem leads the elite SWAT unit, he trusts his men to stand by him and fight, recruiting Kawa, knowing he will want to fight back against the people controlling the city, he is blunt, calm and isn’t afraid to challenge his men to be their best, creating the leadership skills in them all. Kawa is the young police officers thrown into this world after being recruited, he must learn on his feet if he is going to survive his time with the unit, learn the heart break of losing a fellow soldier and how to fight to the death to beat the relentless enemies. We do meet the other soldiers who are all fighting for something, they all follow the orders and know they can’t lose.

PerformancesSuhail Dabbach in the leading role is brilliant, showing his dominance on the unit, while keeping his character in control of every situation. Adam Bessa is the audience entry performance, which must go through the biggest evolution as the film unfold, going from rookie police officer, to relentless soldier. The rest of the supporting cast are strong too, without anyone looking out of place and the men looking like a unit.

StoryThe story here follows a group of Iraqi SWAT soldiers that are fighting the ISIS Militant who are controlling the city, we follow a rookie officer that gets to learn what the fight is for. This is a raw story that will show us just how much is at stake for the soldiers on the ground fighting an enemy that isn’t taking an prisoners, that will give up their own lives to take the innocence of others. The story does give us a character to help us understand how much this means to the men in Kawa, which will give us the questions needed to get us into the unit mindsets.

Action/WarThe action in the film is non-stop, with plenty of military fighting showing us the different position the men find themselves in during the ongoing war.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to create the war torn city that is realistic and shows us the destruction that has been happening for years, not just what has been happening during the recent conflict.

Scene of the Movie – The reveal of the mission.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing.

Final Thoughts Mosul is a truly relentless movie that will show us the truly costs of the conflict in Iraq for the soldiers looking to keep their family safe.

The Ringmaster (2018) Movie Review

Director: Soren Juul Petersen

Writer: Carsten Juul Bladt, Soren Juul Petersen (Screenplay) Steen Landstrup (Novel)

Starring: Anne Bergfeld, Karin Michelsen, Damon Younger, Kristoffer Fabricius, Mads Koudal, Kim Sonderholm

Plot: During the night of the biggest sports final of the year, two girls working in a gas station experience strange incidents. Is it just staged pranks or is it something of a more aggressive intent?

Tagline – Entertainment knows no boundaries

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Ringmaster starts as we follow Agnes Berger (Bergfeld) and Belinda Andersen (Michelsen) as they are working a night shift at a gas station, they don’t get many customers and the ones they do get seem strange until they find themselves dealing with a couple of creepy men.

The women find themselves captured and placed into a twisted game run by The Ringmaster (Younger) where he will torture them for his audiences pleasure, they need to figure out how to escape before he gets to finish them off.

Thoughts on The Ringmaster

Characters – Agnes is looking to better herself with her education, using the time in the quiet shop to study, she does deal with the more difficult customers, and have to go through the more brutal parts of the torturous games. Belinda is the worker that is dealing with personal problems and her boyfriend that wants to use her, she is forced into being part of the game against her will. The Ringmaster gets the pleasure from torturing the victims, he listens to his audience and what they want and decides to make each action as twisted as he would like it to be.

PerformancesAnne Bergfeld and Karin Michelsen are both strong in the leading role, doing better with the pre-horror side of the film, over the torture moments. Damon Younger brings the charisma through the film which is key for the torture scenes, otherwise they would be very hollow.

StoryThe story here follows two gas station shop workers that get weird experiences through the night before finding themselves part of a twisted torture game run by the ringmaster who listens to his audience on what to do to his victims. This story does have time jumps which are more annoying than anything, with each visitor to the gas station, we see the slow emerging from the trapped contain before the game, this seems to be designed to keep us guessing as to who is involved in capturing them. When the games start, it isn’t anything overly fresh with what we are put through, but does make us feel like we are watching a performance.

HorrorThe horror in the film is all about the torture and what the ringmaster is willing to do to his victims, while one victim does go through seems more extreme than what they make the two women go through.

SettingsThe film uses the two main settings, first the gas station, which feels remote and isolated, making the victims seem like easier targets, with the second location being the performance stage, where the sick games occur.

Scene of the Movie – The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The jump between gas station and just moving around in a box.

Final Thoughts The Ringmaster is a torture fans entry movie, holding back on the brutality it could give us, never hitting the heights of a Hostel, but being twisted enough to show us how to get into the sub-genre.

The Ringmaster will be available on DVD & Digital Download from 30th November & In UK Cinemas from 2nd December

Beasts Clawing at Straws (2020) Movie Review

Director: Yong-Hoon Kim

Writer: Yong-Hoon Kim (Screenplay) Keisuke Sone (Novel)

Starring: Do-yeon Jeon, Woo-sung Jung, Sung-Woo Bae, Man-sik Jeong, Kyung Jin, Hyun Been Shin

Plot: A struggling restaurant owner, caring for his sick mom, finds a bag of cash in a sauna locker, while a customs officer gets into trouble when his girlfriend runs off with money he borrowed from a loan shark.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Beasts Clawing at Straws starts Tae-Young (Jung) is searching for his missing girlfriend Yeon-Hee (Jeon) who has vanished with money that he borrowed from a loan shark, he has been working with a close friend Carp to locate her, but Mr Park wants his money back, as time is running out.

Another man Woebegone (Bae) finds a bag filled with money at work and looks to use it to help his mother and wife escape the hardship they have been through, even under a strict boss, while Mi Ran (Shin) is suffering domestic abuse from her husband, with a young man Jin-Tae (Jung) offering her an escape from this world.

Thoughts on Beasts Clawing at Straws

Thoughts – Beast Clawing at Straws is an award winning movie that will give us three stories of people needing to escape a life they find themselves trapped in, each looking for a way out, all seeing them turn to something illegal to make it happen. We get to see how each character will have a different motivation for what they are doing, showing the desperation of a poor man to support his family, a woman trying to escape her abusive relationship and a lover who has lost the most important person in his life. The performance are wonderful throughout, showing us the different levels of sympathy the characters deserve. The story does play out in different chapters, which will crossover through the film, which will lead to the bigger moments of what has drawn so heavily towards the money bag, which will change the lives of everyone involved.

Final Thoughts Beasts Clawing at Straws a beautifully blend thriller that will constantly keep you guessing to what will happen next.

BEASTS CLAWING AT STRAWS streaming on December 15.

Fugue (2018) Movie Review

Director: Tomas Street

Writer: Tomas Street (Screenplay)

Starring: Jack Foley, Laura Tremblay, Mike Donis, Kristen Da Silva, Michael Lipka

Plot: Amnesic Malcolm struggles to put the pieces of his life back together and begins questioning those closest to him in this puzzle of memory and identity.

Tagline – Who do you think you are?

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Fugue starts when Malcolm (Foley) wakes up without the memories of his life, his wife Helen (Tremblay) helping fill him in with the blanks of their life together, the small stories about them, until that night they get attacked, with Malcolm waking up not remembering anything.

Malcolm starts a new story, leading us to discover that people are trying to get a safe open in his life, with a code he can’t remember.

Thoughts on Fugue

Final Thoughts Fugue is a film that follows one man who is suffering from amnesia and finds himself being forced into giving up a code for a safe, he doesn’t remember each day, which will show from how the story is willing to shuffle to the timeline on everything we see. We do keep going through the different ideas of what might be happening with twists around each scene. The performances through the film are strong with Jack Foley in the leading role, showing us the strength of his character and the uncertainty required. The mystery we are looking to solve does keep us guessing, but we don’t seem to learn enough by the conclusion of the film, leaving a lot of empty loose ends to everything we have been watching.

The Hatton Garden Job (2017) Movie Review

Director: Ronnie Thompson

Writer: Dean Lines, Ray Bogdanovich, Ronnie Thompson (Screenplay)

Starring: Matthew Goode, Phil Daniels, Larry Lamb, Clive Russell, David Calder, Mark Harris, Stephen Moyer, Joely Richardson

Plot: In April 2015, the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company, an underground safe deposit facility in London’s Hatton Garden area, was burgled by 4 elderly men. The total stolen may have a value of up to £200 million, the incident has been called the “largest burglary in English history.”

Tagline – The mastermind. The driver. The fixer.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: By the Book

Story: The Hatton Garden Job starts as we meet thief XXX (Goode) who has been working with young thieves, which has landed him in prison, inside he makes new contacts which offer up a massive job. XXX must put together a team, he goes old school with Danny (Daniels), Brian (Lamb), Kenny (Russell) and Terry (Calder) as they prepare to put the job together to break into the Hatton Garden security vault, one that is considered unreachable.

The team funded by Hungarian mobster Erzebet Zslondos (Richardson) who will sell them information, for what is inside, the job looks like it could work, even with ex-copper Frank Baskin (Harris) sniffing around XXX’s activities.

Thoughts on The Hatton Garden Job

Characters – XXX is the man that has been robbing bankers, only to see himself end up in jail, once released he uses his new contacts to get a new job, the biggest of his career, he turns to the old school members of the criminal world for this job, which sees him needing to take risks, while listening to others who take charge of the operation. Danny is the contact between the two sides, he has worked with XXX for years now, he trusts his style and will back him when it comes to the old school. Brian is the old school thief, he has all the contacts in the city, knows who to trust and who to not, he plans the operation, his way and only his way. Kenny is the driver, the dumbest member of the crew, with most of his scenes, being him struggling to understand a joke.

PerformancesMatthew Goode in the leading role is strong enough, he brings the cockney to his performances, which does work for the leading role, while Phil Daniels, Larry Lamb, Clive Russell and David Calder complete the full cockney required for the film.

StoryThe story follows five thieves that looks to break into one of the most secure vaults in London, the Hatton Garden vault, with pressure from the mobster paying for the job, a nosey ex-cop and time, can they pull this off. This story is based of one of the most famous recent crimes in England, it made front page news because of what was stolen, how the thieves got into the vault and how no clues about them were found. This is also one of the biggest problems with the story, we know the aftermath, we don’t need to be spending the whole story watching how they planned it and did it, we needed to spend more time on the aftermath, which is the more interesting story. How the story is told, is everything we have seen before, with a couple of old people jokes thrown in.

Action/Crime The film uses the action to show the crime, it isn’t the most flashy action, with the crime story taking centre stage, which does hold back the thrilling side of the film being sucked out, by knowing the truth.

SettingsThe film uses the London setting, which is filled with cockney neighbourhood that is all about respect.

Scene of the Movie – The robbery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not showing enough of the aftermath.

Final Thoughts This is a by the book heist movie that we have seen before in how it unfolds, it is filled with old timer jokes, only for it to fall short on how everything is executed, only for the film to fail to shine on the aftermath of the crime.

Overall: Simple Heist Film.