ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – I – I Saw the Devil (2010)

Director: Jee-woon Kim

Writer: Hoon-jung Park (Screenplay) Jee-woon Kim (Adaptation)

Starring: Byung-hun Lee, Min-sik Choi, Joon-hyeok Lee, In-seo Kim, Ho-jin Chun, Bo-ra Nam

 

Plot: A secret agent exacts revenge on a serial killer through a series of captures and releases.


Tagline – Prey For Revenge

Runtime: 2 Hours 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Outstanding

 

Story: I Saw the Devil starts as Joo-yeon becomes the latest victim of serial killer Kyung-chul (Choi), we see how this killer operates with no remorse butchery his victims, but this victim happens to be the former Chief of police daughter and fiancée of agent Soo-hyeon (Lee), who swears revenge, even with having any leads.

Given a shortlist of four potential suspects, Soo-hyeon goes out to get answers from any crime these men have committed, as we continue to see Kyung-chul kill his victims. Once Soo-hyeon knows the truth, he enters into a dangerous game of capture and release against the killer.

 

Thoughts on I Saw the Devil

 

Characters – Soo-hyeon is a special agent, engaged to the love of his life with a baby on the way. When his fiancée is murdered, he will stop and nothing using his connection to get the equipment to track and torture the man responsible. He shuts his whole life out to make this man pay, doing unthinkable things to get his own revenge. Kyung-chul is a serial killer, he abducts woman before butchering them, he has it down to an art form in his head, but when he picks the wrong victim he finds the tables have been turned on him.

PerformancesByung-hun Lee is fantastic as the broken police officer, he shows the complete lack of emotion his character needs as he seeks revenge. Talking of emotionless performance, but with all the psychotic you need, we have Min-sik Choi as the serial killer, you can see him planning every movement his character is making.

StoryThe story follows a broken police detective that goes on his own path of vengeance against a serial killer which butchered his fiancée. This seems simple, but the detective will turn the tables the hunter becomes the hunted. This brings a new fresh take to the revenge genre, we are used to seeing a group picked off one by one, but going squarely head to head with the killer in this style shows just how far the revenge will go for this man. This is a story that keeps you on the edge from start to finish even being well over two hours long.

Action/Crime/HorrorThe action focuses on the violence that both killer and police detective get involved in against the victims or each other, this does dive into the crime side of the film which is the cat and mouse elements and what these two do fill out the disturbing horror quota.

SettingsThe film takes us around parts of South Korea as we see how the serial killer hunts his latest victims.

Special EffectsThe effects when it comes to the violence is brutally realistic for each blow any character takes.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While paced well, it does feel like certain moments seem skipped over.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best crime horror movies you will ever see, it takes revenge films to a new level making each blow as disturbing as possible and will test just how far you can watch these characters go.

 

Overall: Fantastic Brutal Revenge Thriller

Rating

 

 

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I, Daniel Blake (2016)

Director: Ken Loach

Writer: Paul Laverty (Screenplay)

Starring: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Briana Shann, Dylan McKiernan, Kate Rutter, Sharon Percy, Kema Sikazwe

 

Plot: After having suffered a heart-attack, a 59-year-old carpenter must fight the bureaucratic forces of the system in order to receive Employment and Support Allowance.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Must Watch Movie

 

Story: I, Daniel Blake starts as we learn that Daniel (Johns) has suffered a heart attack and is on the mend, not ready to return to work as per doctor’s orders, only he financial support allowance has been taken away from him. Calming going through the processes to get it collecting again Daniel finds himself going round in circles.

When he meets and defends single mother Katie (Squires) who is new to the area trying to get signed up for her own allowances, the two become friends and offer to support each other in their battle to just keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables, it what is a shocking look at the benefit system.

 

Thoughts on I, Daniel Blake

 

Characters – Daniel Blake has worked his whole life, he lost his wife and suffered a heart attack while working, living on support allowance while recovering until the doctors clear him to work, he learns that he has lost his allowance and gets forced into a battle just to get enough money to live, getting sent round in circles to get an appeal date. Katie is a Londoner forced to move to Newcastle for a flat with her two children, working with Daniel she has her own battles to stay afloat putting her children first, seeing Daniel as the friend she needs to help her settle. Daisy is the eldest child of Katie that has been seeing the good in Daniel who is one of the only people outside of her family to help her. China is the neighbour of Daniel’s he offers to help if Daniel needed anything even if he is from a different generation or background.

PerformancesDave Johns steps in the first film role and is fantastic, giving us a performance, we truly sympathise with. Hayley Squires is strong through the film where we see how she has been beaten down by life and needs to remain strong for her children. The supporting cast are good and help Dave get the spotlight like he deserves.

StoryThe story gives us a shocking look at the benefit system in the UK, we follow Daniel who has worked his whole adult life until his heart attack meaning he can’t return to work, which leads to him to need to fight for benefits he is entitled to, but the government wouldn’t give him the benefits. The story shows us the flaws in the system which could leave people with nothing and even on the streets. This could easily be considered a warning to what people are going through without needing to ask for help and how the system can be considered for a new look to help.

SettingsThe film is set in Newcastle the northern city in England, one that has been known for harder times but unity between the people there.


Scene of the Movie –
Spray paint,

That Moment That Annoyed Me That this is a real problem.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the more important movies you will see, especially if you are UK based, it will give you a shocking look at the benefit system and just how flawed it is, while making you want to support the lead character in his battle for basic support.

 

Overall: Essential viewing for all.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – I – Invictus (2009)

Director: Clint Eastwood

Writer: Anthony Peckham (Screenplay) John Carlin (Book)

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Tony Kgoroge, Patrick Mofokeng, Matt Stern, Julian Lewis Jones

 

Plot: Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.


Tagline – He was a prisoner who became a president. To unite his country, he asked one man to do the impossible.

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Biopic

 

Story: Invictus starts when Nelson Mandela (Freeman) becomes the President of South Africa, this causes a divide in the country with the white people rejecting his election, with the black people seeing him a hero. Nelson wants to try and put the past behind them and unite the country, with him first introducing mixed raced bodyguards, even if his own Jason (Kgoroge) and Linga (Mofokeng) disapprove.

When Nelson sees the divide in a simple rugby match, he sees a opportunity to unite his country, as the black community will cheer whoever the Springbok are playing, inviting the captain Francois Pienaar (Damon) to tea, he explains his plans to unite with the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

 

Thoughts on Invictus

 

Characters – Nelson Mandela is one of the biggest icons in history, we follow his life from the time he becomes President of South Africa, he has been in prison for 27 years beforehand and has decided he wants to unite the race war within the country. He must put aside what he was raised to believe to change the mindsets, starting with his own staff, Nelson sees the Rugby World Cup as a chance to bring the country together to celebrate if they can defy the odds and win it. Francois Pienaar is the captain of the Springbok, he comes from a wealthy family and becomes the connection to the President as they look to change the country together. Jason Tshabalala is the head of Nelson’ security, he must put aside he own feelings towards the white community to help Nelson achieve the union he desires.

PerformancesMorgan Freeman is fantastic in this leading role, he delivers the speeches to make us believe we are watching the incredible man himself. Matt Damon did seem like a strange pick for the South African rugby player, though he does make us believe he will help bring the team together. The supporting cast might not be as well known, but they all give performances that help us understand the struggles being experienced.

StoryThe story follows the time that Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa and his first year in charge with the build up to the Rugby World Cup where he uses the tournament as a way to bring the nation together to try to stop the racial divide. This shows how any sport can see differences put aside to see the better future, one without them needing to hate people just because that is what they once were told. If you want to see how a truly inspirational leader operates, he sees the peoples love and finds a way to make them work together to support a common goal. We could look at the story a say, this only happened because of the Rugby World Cup falling at the right time, but that is over thinking.

Biopic/SportLearning what Nelson Mandela achieved in this year is incredible, we might not learn his whole story, but this is the chapter that helped change a nation. When it comes to the sports side of the film, we get to see Rugby in all its glory, seeing the hard hitting nature of the sport, showing that sport can bring people together.

SettingsThe film is set in South Africa, with it setting showing us the divide between the people and how the biggest occasion in the countries sporting history being the most important one.


Scene of the Movie –
The prison visit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Casting Scott Eastwood, he is a good young actor, but his role is too important for family casting roles.

Final ThoughtsThis is an incredible look at what Nelson Mandela achieved in a year as President in the country, the spirit of sport bringing a nation together and a moment in sporting history.

 

Overall: Incredible sporting drama.

Rating

 

 

I Trapped the Devil (2019)

Director: Josh Lobo

Writer: Josh Lobo (Screenplay)

Starring: AJ Bowen, Susan Burke, Scott Poythress, Chris Sullivan, Jocelin Donahue, John Marrott, Rowan Russell

 

Plot: A man descends into paranoia after trapping what he believes to be the devil in his basement, but things take a dark turn when his family unexpectedly arrive for Christmas.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intensely Atmospheric

 

Story: I Trapped the Devil starts when Matt (Bowen) and Karen (Burke) visit Steve (Poythress) who has been living in the family home alone for a long time. Steve has been off the radar for a reason though, which is to do with the mysterious man he has locked in his basement.

Steve believes he has trapped the devil and must convince his brother and Karen to believe this person is in fact the devil and this is for the greater good.

 

Thoughts on I Trapped the Devil

 

Characters – Steve is the man who has lived alone for too long, he has isolated himself from the world, with a man locked in his basement, one he believes is the devil. He believes he has evidence to prove this and must convince his brother this isn’t a stunt looking for attention. Matt is the brother who has returned with his wife to celebrate Christmas, he is caught in the middle as he doesn’t want to give up his brother, but knows if this is an innocent person, they can’t be kept in the basement. Karen is Matt’s wife that wanted to see the family at Christmas, she gets put in the same position, while looking at the reality that this could well be the devil.

PerformancesScott Poythress as the brother that has trapped the man, completely performs in this role, we feel his characters paranoid nature through each moment in the film, while believing he has done what he has said. AJ Bowen is great as the brother caught in the middle, we see the conflict going on in his head, while Susan Burke completes the main cast with a role that makes you see how people do believe what they can be told.

StoryThe story follows one man that believes he has captured and locked up the devil in his basement, when his brother and his wife visit, he must convince them that this is the devil, while they question whether he has lost his mind or not. This story does get to pose the questions of what if somebody had captured the devil, would you risk letting them out or not? Would you risk letting the devil back into the world or is there no such thing as the devil. We get plenty of questions on how you could react, while also hearing the voice calling for help. We do get moments that are designed for shock, while most of the story is designed to keep more away from us, leaving our imaginations to run wild. This does help build the atmosphere through the film, because you just don’t know what will happen next.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from seeing how each character reacts to what could be going on if this is in fact the devil, with Steve believing he is the one in the right.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings simple, we remain in the house for the whole film, this shows how the joint secret will need to be discussed, with the boundaries being drawn out.


Scene of the Movie –
The final shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have seen more of what caused the strain between Steve and Matt.

Final ThoughtsThis is an atmospheric horror that keeps us guessing by asking the difficult question about what would you do if you trapped the devil, even if it wasn’t the devil, could you risk letting them out?

 

Overall: Horror that makes you think.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – I – Immortals (2011)

Director: Tarsem Singh

Writer: Charley Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides (Screenplay)

Starring: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Stephen Dorff, Freida Pinto, Luke Evans, John Hurt, Joseph Morgan

 

Plot: Theseus is a mortal man chosen by Zeus to lead the fight against the ruthless King Hyperion, who is on a rampage across Greece to obtain a weapon that can destroy humanity.


Tagline – The Gods Need a Hero

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Glossy Greek Muscles

 

Story: Immortals starts in a world where the immortals battled, the winners became Gods, the loser became Titans and buried under the mountain. With King Hyperion (Rourke) destroying village after villages in search for a stone that will grant him power. An average farmer Theseus (Cavill) trained in combat sees the war come to him, he is destined for greatness as the Gods watch over him with Zeus (Evans) knowing who will win the battle, but unable to interfere.

With the oracles including Phaedra (Pinto) knowing the truth about Theseus, she plans to release him and his fellow prisoners to go into battle against King Hyperion before becoming part of his plan.

 

Thoughts on Immortals

 

Characters – Theseus is from a quiet village that has lived in peace, but when the war comes to him, he must us his fighting skills to defeat the tyrant trying to conquer the land ad fulfil his destiny. He is the man that we see in many of these titles, a man that is meant to bring people together. King Hyperion has been taking control of the land of Greece, his armies are not taking prisoners in their conquering ways. This is a villain we are used to seeing because it is one that will go to any lengths to get what he wants. Stavros is a thief that joins Theseus and with this gets to plant the comical lines in places. Phaedra is the oracle that has seen the paths in which Theseus will take, believe he can bring the country to the freedom is deserves. Zeus is the all powerful God that is watching from the skies, he doesn’t want to interfere in this battle or any of the Gods to with the punishment of death.

PerformancesThe actors all have the look for their roles, so that won’t need discussing anymore. Henry Cavill is fine in the leading role, he doesn’t handle the emotion moments enough, but is saved with the fighting. Mickey Rourke is always good as a villain and he does a good enough job for the film. The rest are fine they just have nobody that sticks out long enough to be memorable.

StoryThe story plays into the idea of Gods and Titans that once ruled Greece, we see how they watched over the world waiting for the war which the humans will bring on themselves, now they must wait to see if the on man can fulfil the destiny. This is sword and saddles with what you are expecting to see after seeing 300. It all works fine but won’t become one of the more memorable within the genre.

Action/Fantasy/RomanceThe action is the highlight of the film, with plenty of big sequences that are left to see elements of the mythology. This dives us into the fantasy world we will be entering and there is a weaker romance side to the story.

SettingsThe film makes us feel like we are part of this world with ease, though most scenes look like they are from the same location and not looking special enough.

Special EffectsThe effects are nice to see because they play into this over the top style the film tries to make its own. Zeus coming to Earth is the highlight moment.


Scene of the Movie –
Hammer time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Feels long.

Final ThoughtsThis will keep the fans of the films like 300 will enjoy this one, this is an entertaining watch if you don’t need to want to think and can be enjoyed.

 

Overall: Simple saddles and swords.

Rating