The White Tiger (2021) Movie Review

The White Tiger – A Brilliant Examination of Class in India

Director: Ramin Bahrani

Writer: Ramin Bahrini (Screenplay) Aravind Adiga (Book)

Starring: Priyanka Chopra, Rajkummar Rao, Adarsh Gourav, Mahesh Manjrekar, Perrie Kapernaros

Plot: The epic journey of a poor Indian driver who must use his wit and cunning to break free from servitude to his rich masters and rise to the top of the heap.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The White Tiger starts as we meet Balram (Gourav) a young man from India that grew up in the poor part of the country, known as the darkness, he knows he wants better only he believes he will only ever be a servant, finding a role as a driver for Ashok (Rao) and his wife Pinky (Chopra).

As the three become friends, despite Balram still working for them, they show him respect as an employee, rather than seeing as a servant, an incident changes everything, with the elders looking for Balram to take the fall, this is when he decides he needs to stop letting the rich take advantage of the poor.

Thoughts on The White Tiger

Characters & Performances – Balram grew up in the poorest part of India, he never got an education or facing much of a future, until he takes a job as a driver, seeing himself as a servant, working for one of the richest families around, he is treated badly until he starts working for the son of the family who has seen more of the world, places where servants are treated with respect, he sees the good in him and his wife, but always finds himself back at the bottom of the food chain. He is our narrator and we learn from the opening that he has made it rich, we are learning how this happened and how he refused to let the rich walk over the poor. Adarsh Gourav gives us the strongest performance in the film, seeing the moments where he is breaking down are the most powerful moments in the film. Ashok is the son of the family that give Balram the job, he has spent time in America, which has seen him open his eyes to treating people more equally, sticking up for Balram, but always being in his father shadow of traditions. Rajkummar Rao does everything very well through the film, showing the difficulties of being from power, wanting to be more accepting, but not understanding the divide. Pinky is the wife of Ashok who has always pushed him to treat people better, she is sick of the divides in the country and pushes for the family to treat Balram with respect, challenging the traditions of class in the country. Priyanka Chopra does bring us a strong character one we would have liked to have seen more off in the film. We do get a host of elders who all are looking at different people through different eyes who could both make a break the careers, caught up in the traditions instead of forward thinking.

StoryThe story here follows the life of a young man who grew up in the poor side of India to become a driver for a powerful family, giving him a chance to learn about the world and put himself into a position of power, a place where he is telling the story of how he got there. The story will give us an examination of class in India, seeing how the poor are never given much of a chance to make it in life, expected to work for the rich as servants, not employees, we focus on how one man looked to break the traditions in the culture after learning from everything that he sees as wrong in the previous methods. The one big weakness does come from the narration meaning we know success is going to happen, so anything truly bad is only a stepping stone or learning curve for the man.

ThemesThe White Tiger is a slick crime drama that shows how one man started at the bottom and worked his way up from servant to business man who never imagined making the money he could have in life, we are focused more on the cultural change happening in India, moving away from masters and slaves and more into the business world of opportunities and business.

The White Tiger is a smart, slick and stylish crime drama bringing to light the culture change in India.

Deadly Sisters (2014) Movie Review

Director: Stan Brooks

Writer: Fab Filippo, Adam Till (Screenplay) Bob Mitchell (Book)

Starring: Abigail Breslin, Georgie Henley, Mira Sorvino, James Russo, Rusty Schwimmer, Zoe Belkin

Plot: Tired of their mother’s alcoholism and a string of her abusive boyfriends, two sisters plot to kill her.

Tagline – Being a teenager can be murder.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Lacks the Threat

Story: Deadly Sisters starts when Sandra (Breslin), Beth (Henley), their mother Linda (Sorvino) move to a new town to start a new life, only Linda doesn’t take long to fall of the wagon again, forcing Sandra and Beth to take a more adult role for their younger brother.

As the two sisters continue to get tired of the behaviour of their mother, they decide to look for an alternative answer, they plan to kill her, so they can escape her latest abusive boyfriend, only will they be able to follow through or it is just a project.

Thoughts on Deadly Sisters

Characters – Sandra is the stronger of the two sisters, she always wants to be the centre of attention, with her planning always doing the protecting work for her sister or younger brother, hitting the meetings her mother misses and with her spotlight craving nature, she grabs people’s attention. Beth is the other sister, she has decided to go goth for the new school year, she is the target the new boyfriends abuse and is treating everything more like the project to escape the position they find themselves in. Linda is the alcoholic mother of the girls, she constantly falls off the wagon, picks abusive men around the house, and while the girls try to see the best in her, she just keeps letting them down, forcing them going with their ideas.

PerformancesAbigail Breslin is great in the showboat side of her character with Georgie Henley bringing the quiet side of her character to life with ease, however when it comes to the final act, things seem to get taken away from them in the performance side of things. Mira Sorvino does well as the alcoholic parent who is struggling to stay on top of everything in her life.

StoryThe story here follows two sisters that decide they have had enough of their mother’s self-destructive ways and decide to take the matter into their own hands. This does play into the ideas that it could well be a project between sisters with it being more about how they could get away with it, this is the fun side, as it would make sense for them to act like this with what is going on in their personal lives. We do get to go down the road of committing a crime would lead to their own spiral of self-destruction. This is based on a real story of two sisters, with the names changed, which does end up making this fill like an MTV documentary on the incident, rather than an edgy thriller.

CrimeThe crime side of this film does follow in planning by the sisters and how they look to get away with it, showing the rookie mistakes along the way.

SettingsThe film does use the settings to show us how the sisters are getting tired of the lives they are being put through, wishing they would have more from their lives.

Scene of the Movie – The day after.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The planning with friends seems too naïve.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting crime thriller that takes a look at two sisters trying to fix their own struggles in life, only they end up going too far, well enough acted, only it doesn’t seem to finish as strong as it starts.

Overall: Fizzles Out.

Blood Money (2017) Movie Review

Director: Lucky McKee

Writer: Jared Butler, Lars Norberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Willa Fitzgerald, Jacob Artist, John Cusack, Ned Bellamy, Antonio J Bell, Johanna McGinley

Plot: 3 friends go rafting in the wilderness. Bags are dropped from a plane followed by a man in parachute. The 3 find the bags with USD8,000,000. The couple wants it and Victor splits, wanting to stay alive, out of prison.

Tagline – Greed has its price

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Standard Thriller

Story: Blood Money starts as three friends Victor (Coltrane), Lynn (Fitzgerald) and Jeff (Artist) come back together for a rafting trip away, to catch up and share their memories of their childhood, only they have their own secrets from each other.

When Lynn discovers a large amount money $8 Million, Lynn wants to keep it, with Jeff is willing to help, only Victor isn’t willing to take the money, despite the fact he would need it, to make matters worse Miller (Cusack) the man who was involved in the robbery is searching for the money, leading to a race through the woods to escape with the money.

Thoughts on Blood Money

Characters – Victor is the one of the group that hasn’t made too many career progressions, he is still living in a world he could have once had with Lynn, wanting to make something out of it, he isn’t looking for greed in anyway. Lynn has some secrets at play, she is desperate for money and when this opportunity falls at her feet, she simply can’t pass on the chance to become a millionaire overnight. She always puts the guys down and not in the fun way. This might well be a spin on the typical female character in this type of movie though. Jeff is the wealthy one of the group, he has come from money, he doesn’t need to work and at the start of this trip, he is with Lynn. Miller is the man looking to collect the money that has been dropped from the sky, when he learns who has the money he will show a deadlier side to him.

PerformancesWe get to see John Cusack in another one of these straight to DVD style thrillers, he seems to be doing a lot of these at the money and this one shows he can do the basics with ease. The rest of the cast are fine, only they don’t seem to get into the roles enough.

StoryThe story here follows three old friends that find some stolen money and get to show their true colours, while the true criminal is hot on their tracks searching for the money he has stolen. The story does seem to try and give us a new spin on the characters involved with finding money, by making the female character the be the one so desperate for the money, while the male ones are the voice of reason. The criminal just seems to appear, we don’t see what his plan really is or was, which falls flat, with the overall core of the story being about greed showing the true identity of people’s friends.

CrimeThe crime side of the film is the aftermath of a crime we never saw, it is trying to gain control of the money.

SettingsThe film is set in the woodland area with a river that can be used for rafting, only it could be anywhere, nothing feels special.

Scene of the Movie – The ranger bump.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Trying to hide the money from the cops.

Final Thoughts This is a typical, but routine crime thriller that just doesn’t get going in anyway, falling flat more than anything else.

Overall: Plain.

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.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – L – Lakeview Terrace (2008) Movie Review

Director: Neil LaBute

Writer: David Loughery, Howard Korder (Screenplay) David Loughery (Story)

Starring: Samuel L Jackson, Patrick Wilson, Kerry Washington, Ron Glass, Justin Chambers, Jay Hernandez, Regine Nehy

Plot: Based on a true story, a troubled and racist African-American L.A.P.D. Officer will stop at nothing to force out a friendly interracial couple who just moved in next door to him.

Tagline – What could be safer than living next to a cop?

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow Burning Thriller

Story: Lakeview Terrace starts when couple Chris (Wilson) and Lisa (Washington) move into their new home, one of their neighbours is widowed cop Abel Turner (Jackson) isn’t keen on having a mixed-race couple next door to him, starting by teasing Chris.

When Abel continues to clash with Chris, the games start to become more targeted, with damage to property and with Abel using his power of being on the side of the law, it makes it very difficult to deal with the neighbour from hell.

Thoughts on Lakeview Terrace

Characters – Abel is a widowed father and police officer, he has very strict rules for his children to follow, which is pushing them away from him, when he see the mixed-race couple move in next door, he doesn’t like them in anyway and always finds a way to get back at time, if they do something that he doesn’t like. His action and position of power make him feel like he could get away with anything. Chris the husband in the couple, being white he attracts the attention of Abel who takes an instant dislike towards him, his temper doesn’t help as when he clashes with Abel, he doesn’t handle it in the best way and his constant seeking approval from his wife father only adds pressure to him. Lisa is the wife that spends a lot more of the time in the home, she wants to be a good neighbour and be open for the children next door, only for her desire to start her own family being stronger desire to future. Harold is the father of Lisa that has always looked down on Chris, and wanted more for his daughter.

PerformancesSamuel L Jackson is very unsettling through this film, we see just how demanding he wants to be through the film. Patrick Wilson is always strong in his roles in film, this is no different, while Kerry Washington holds her own in the mix, even if her character does seem to just be woman at home.

StoryThe story here does follow a couple that finds themselves living next door to the neighbour from hell, who wants to torment them because he doesn’t believe in mixed race couples. This does focus on the slow build of a neighbourly rivalry before it starts getting completely out of hand. It does show how people in a position of authority can abuse their power to make other people’s a living hell, which is what we see with everything that happens in this film, the couple are left feeling powerless when it comes to dealing with the neighbour. The pacing is slightly weaker because it does seem to show us how one minute they get on the next they hate each other, which just doesn’t add up to everything going on.

CrimeThe crime side of the film follows the actions of the law enforcement officer that does seem to just do what he wants believing the law with support him.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings in the neighbourhood, where we see just how the two must learn to get on even though they live next to each other and don’t like each other.

Scene of the Movie – Incoming fire.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Lisa does just seem to be female character or wife, while she makes a point about her job, but never seems to go to work.

Final Thoughts This is a simple thriller that does push the limits on how you would or could treat your neighbour.

Overall: Simple thriller.