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.

Werewolf (2018) Movie review

Director: Adrian Panek

Writer: Adrian Panek (Screenplay)

Starring: Kamil Polnisiak, Nicholas Prygoda, Sonia Mietielica, Danuta Stenka, Werner Daehn, Jakub Syska

Plot: Children liberated from a Nazi concentration camp have to overcome hunger, thirst and vicious dogs in an abandoned mansion surrounded by the forest.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Werewolf starts when a group of children are liberated from a Nazi concentration camp, finding refuge in a mansion in the middle of the forest, where they Wladek (Polnisiak), Hanys (Przygoda), Hanka (Mietielica), Jadwiga (Stenka) and others looks to hide out the rest of the war.

The children start to see enemies coming for them in soldiers, but more dangerously, a pack of ravenous dogs lurking in the forest, looking for their next meal, they children must work together to stay alive, despite running low on food, water and exits from the mansion.

Thoughts on Werewolf

Thoughts – Werewolf is a Polish movie with the original name of Wilkolak, we do get to see how the children have escaped from the concentration camp and are trying to survive by themselves, which in itself is a survival story, but add in the ravenous dogs, we get to see how they must band together, to evolve to survive the situation. The story shows how they will see other enemies coming too, need to deal with them, but one of the big things you will notice, there aren’t any werewolves in this film, the title is misleading. The performances from the whole cast is brilliant showing us just how difficult the lives they are living are and the desperation to survive they must show. There is an intensity to the dogs scenes, which is filled with the fear they would be going through too.

Final ThoughtsWerewolf is an intense survivor story.

A Call to Spy (2019) Movie Review

Director: Lydia Dean Pilcher

Writer: Sarah Megan Thomas (Screenplay)

Starring: Sarah Megan Thomas, Stana Katic, Radhika Apte, Linus Roache, Rossif Sutherland, Andrew Richardson

Plot: In the beginning of WWII, with Britain becoming desperate, Churchill orders his new spy agency – SOE – to recruit and train women as spies.

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: A Call to Spy starts during World War II, The British have seen the German walk through Europe and with their latest attempts to create spies failing, Winston Churchill has decided to try bringing in women spies, with Vera Atkins (Katic) needing to select the first candidates, with American Virginia Hall (Thomas) and Noor Inayat Khan (Apte) being the ladies she turns too.

We see how the three women all played their part in the war effort, form different locations, one from guiding from home, another on the field, while the other using their communication skills to show that everyone is fighting for the same thing.

Thoughts on A Call to Spy

Characters – Vera Atkins is the woman that is painted to be like a secretary, but her work is much more than that, she helps recruit the first female spies, she knows how to pick the women that will not look the part, making them perfect for the selections, while running the operations from back home. Virginia Hall is an American that is trying to get into an diplomatic role for the country, only to be getting rejected, she is selected because of language skills and due to her injury, which makes her look even less spy like from the outside, she however is very smart, resourceful and always keeps her calm. Noor Inayat Khan is from a mixed background, she is an expect on the communication side of things, which sees her being selected to hide away from enemy and communicate back to England.

PerformancesThe performances from the three leading women are wonderful throughout, they show the strength they needed to bring the real life people to life, easily being the strongest part of the acting in this film.

StoryThe story here follows the idea that in World War II, Britain looked to women to become spies to try and outsmart the Germans, we follow the first recruits as they risked their lives in the war effort and made history for their efforts. This is a brilliant look at the history of spies, seeing once again how many different people came together fight with what would be right. We see how some of the men wouldn’t be interested in letting women into the field, but we don’t seem to spend too much time covering this side of things. The only the other weaker side to the story comes from the fact we don’t seem to see how much intensity to any of the trading of material or attempts to rescue people.

BiopicThis biopic side of the film shows the women that risked their lives to help the country during the war, it shows more of their mission over their personal lives.

SettingsThe film gives us the setting ideas to show us the secret places people would turn to for support in doing the right things.

Scene of the Movie – Recruitment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The spy side of things could be seen as routine, without many thrillers about it all.

Final Thoughts This is an important look at how women become spies and helped changed things during World War II.

Signature Entertainment presents A Call to Spy in Cinemas and on Digital HD 23 October 2020

Summerland (2020) Movie Review

Director: Jessica Swale

Writer: Jessica Swale (Screenplay)

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Penelope Wilton, Tom Courtenay, Lucas Bond, Dixie Egerickx

Plot: During World War II, an Englishwoman (Gemma Arterton) opens her heart to an evacuee after initially resolving to be rid of him in this moving journey of womanhood, love and friendship.

Tagline – Love. Magic. Hope.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Summerland starts when a bitter at the world author Alice (Arterton) learns she is meant to be taking in an evacuee Frank (Bond) during World War II, something she isn’t prepared for, or willing to do, reluctantly accepting a week until they can find him a new home.

When Alice gets to know Frank, she starts looking back on her past love Vera (Mbatha-Raw) which changes her mind, as she looks to help someone in need, while the rest of the village always frowns on Alice, Frank starts to see the good in her.

Thoughts on Summerland

Characters – Alice is the village spinster, well that is how the village sees the reclusive author, she has suffered her own heartbreak and when an evacuee turns up on her doorstep, she isn’t willing to help, until she starts to get to know the boy, she puts aside the differences that the village has against her to try and teach the boy about life. Frank is the evacuee that Alice takes in, he is from the middle of London and like most, he is scared of what is happening to himself and his parents, he starts to open up over time, learning that life might be filled with heartache, showing the highs and lows a child might go through. Vera is the ex-lover of Alice, she is the reason Alice is considered an outsider, with their relationship being looked down on, she did leave her, but is stuck in Alice’s memories everyday. We do meet the other locals, with Mr Sullivan the headmaster, Edie the school friend that Frank makes.

PerformancesGemma Arterton in the leading role is fantastic showing a serious side we don’t always get from her roles, with Gugu Mbathe-Raw being an excellent supporting cast member. Lucas Bond gives us a great child star performance too to complete the main cast.

StoryThe story here follows a reclusive author that gets sent an evacuee during World War II, one she doesn’t want and slowly over time starts to welcome into her home, all while being filled with the memories of what could have been, with he village believe she could be a problem in the war effort. The story here does show us just how difficult the wartime was on people who were either taking in evacuees or being the evacuee taken away from their family. It shows that people will always shave their own struggles, people were still being frowned upon because of what people would expect. The story is filled with plenty of heart and heartbreak that will completely make you understand the struggles the characters are going through.

Romance/WarThe romance side of the film does show us something that could once have been, while the war side of the film, looks at the people would be left behind, needing to spend more time hoping they could be reunited once the war is over.

SettingsThe film uses the beauty of the Kent countryside to help us see the escape Frank could have from the horrors of the war in the big city.

Scene of the Movie – Chase to London

That Moment That Annoyed Me – How the village reacts to Alice.

Final Thoughts Summerland is a beautifully shot movie that will bring to life the struggles of war for the helpless, the children who were left with strangers who had to give them hope of a future, a film where Gemma Arterton shines in.



Escape and Evasion (2019) Movie Review

Director: Storm Ashwood

Writer: Storm Ashwood (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh McConville, Rena Owen, Hugh Sheridan, Firass Dirani, Bonnie Sveen, Steve Le Marquid

Plot: After his men are killed in Burma. A lone soldier returns home in search of solace. Hiding a dark secret and confronted by an unrelenting journalist, he’s forced to face the ghosts of his past one last time.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Escape and Evasion starts when journalist Rebecca (Sveen) decides to go in search of answers, as to what happened to her brother Josh (Sheridan) in his time in Burma, where only one person returned, Seth (McConville), a troubled man, who is still suffering the nightmares of his time in the war.

As the two get to know each other, Seth slowly start to relive the final moments of his team in a battle they shouldn’t have been caught in the middle of, helping Rebecca get the closure she needs, as well as helping Seth himself fight his own demons.

Thoughts on Escape and Evasion

Characters – Seth was the lone survivor of his unit, this has left him broken back home in Australia, the one thing keeping him on the right path, is his daughter, his sunshine in a world of darkness. He suffers nightmares of his time, seeing the fallen soldiers in everyday life and struggling to handle his aggression. He gets a chance to finally exorcism his own demons when he meets Rebecca. Rebecca is the sister of one of the soldiers who was lost in war, Seth’s best friend, she wants to know the truth about what happened to her brother, which sees her getting close to Seth, letting him open up for the first time since his return. Josh was Seth’s best friend, the two served together for years and knew how to trust each, but he never returned after their latest outing.

PerformancesJosh McConville does give us an excellent leading performance, showing the damaged caused by being involved in war, showing the inner conflict he is suffering through, being torn up by his time, but wanting to be the man he once was. Bonnie Sveen does bring the grieving sibling to life well through the film, with the rest of the cast doing everything they need to, to make us understand what happened to them.

StoryThe story here follows a war veteran who was the lone survivor of his unit, he is torn up with what happened to him suffering nightmares, but when one of the siblings of his unit wants answers, he will need to confront the truth about what happened. When it comes to this story, we get to see the aftermath of war, when only one survivor returns, left being filled with nightmares of his time in conflict, struggling to get his life back on track. It is important to show us how difficult surviving war can be, how it will have made people do things they should never have had to do and how difficult the recovery process will in fact be.

WarThe film shows us how one person surviving war will leave them broken, while showing us what happened during his time, will focus more on the basic conflict of losing people.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us where Seth is in life now, struggling to hold things together in life, with dreams of a better life, along with the moments during the war.

Scene of the Movie – The light at the end of the tunnel.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t see the help Seth gets to improve.

Final Thoughts This is an important drama that puts a highlight on just how difficult post-war can be on a soldier that is left to fend for himself.

Escape And Evasion will be released on Digital Download from September 28 and on DVD from October 26, both can be pre-ordered now: