ABC Film Challenge – Crime – # – 22 Chaser (2018)

Director: Rafal Sokolowski

Writer: Jeremy Boxen (Screenplay)

Starring: Brian J Smith, Kaniehtiio Horn, Raoul Max Trujillo, Aaron Ashmore


Plot: One of the city’s last decent tow truck drivers risks everything on a desperate quest to become king of the road and provide for his struggling family.


Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Slow Burner


Story: 22 Chaser starts as we meet Ben (Smith) a tow truck driver who has been struggling to keep everything together with his family and with friendly rivalries in the field with the like of Wayne (Trujillo) and Sean (Ashmore) who offer him the advice he needs.

When his company gets a big break he must make the decision to continue to work for the company even if it means he must pay upfront it should bring more money back at the end, while his wife Avery (Horn) trying to get into cookery school. We are left to see just how far he will go.


Thoughts on 22 Chaser


Characters – Ben is an honest hard-working tow truck driver, he does the right thing for the injured people on accident sites which often loses him the tows. He is struggling with money back home which is putting a strain on his marriage and on this one night he will go for broke to make his son’s birthday special. Avery is Ben’s wife who is being strong around their son, trying to push Ben into a better life for them both. The rest of the characters we meet a different people in the tow truck business, we see how they operate both sides of the law.

PerformancesBrian J Smith in the leading role shows how desperate side to his character, we feel how much he needs his break from this world and life. When we dive into the rest of the cast each performer is good without taking the spotlight off Brian.

StoryThe story here focuses on a tow truck driver that needs to learn the reality of the game he is in, while trying to support his family, it is strange that we can compare this to ‘Nightcrawler’ when talking about the story because it shows us one man that gets deeper into a field that has darker sides about it becoming everything he doesn’t want to be to make sure his wife and child are supported. It does show how hard working people are often over looked until they show a meaner side. This isn’t the deepest and stories and does have a slow pace about it for the most part which can bring it down at times.

CrimeThe crime side of the film shows us how Ben can fall into the wrong side of the law when it comes to making the right decisions about what is happening with accidents, he doesn’t cause them and the competition can become fierce.

SettingsThe film keeps us in a big city, this gives us enough reason for traffic accidents to happen and shows us who the people cleaning them up are.

Scene of the Movie –
The race to the accident.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pacing is very slow early on.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough movie that does get to put us in the world of tow trucks, showing the competition between drivers for jobs and how good guys might not always be first on call.


Overall: Slow but interesting crime drama.





An Acceptable Loss (2018)

Director: Joe Chappelle

Writer: Joe Chappelle (Screenplay)

Starring: Tika Sumpter, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ben Tavassoli, Jeff Hephner, Deanne Dunagan, Alex Weisman


Plot: Libby teaches at a university but 4 years ago she was top aide to VP Rachel and was part of a total victory action. Rachel is now US president and worried about Libby keeping quiet. Libby also has a student spying on her.

Tagline – The Truth is a Moving Target

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: An Acceptable Thriller


Story: An Acceptable Loss starts as Libby (Sumpter) takes a new job in education, her former career saw her working under the Vice President Rachel (Curtis) being part of a campaign known as ‘Total Victory’ which saw her career change. Libby’s new job shows how she doesn’t have any forms of communication and one of the students Martin (Tavassoli) has taken an extra interest in her life, following her around, spying her on her.

Rachel now being President sends her Chief of Staff Adrian (Hephner) and former lover of Libby to make sure she isn’t going to spill the beans on what happened in this case, all while Libby is trying to make sure she can just get on with her life.


Thoughts on An Acceptable Loss


Characters – Libby once worked for the Vice President on one of the most controversial projects in defence and dealing with potential terrorist against America, she has left this job because of what happened trying to find a new career in education, she wants to stay off the radar with how she lives, which sees her avoid her former colleagues and fellow members of the faculty. Rachel is the former Vice-President, now President who is trying to tie up the loose ends of operation Total Victory, this will see her challenge Libby on whether she will expose the truth of her actions. Martin is a student that has taken an interest in Libby following her around spying on her looking for some kind of answer. Adrian is the Chief of Staff and former lover of Libby’s, he has been assigned to keep Libby quiet.

PerformancesTika Sumpter does give us a strong performance, we do see how her guilt is controlling her life, while showing how she will do what she can to fix her mistake. Jamie Lee Curtis is the star of the film because every time she is on camera we seeing everything upped to the next level. Ben Tavassoli and Jeff Hepnher both complete the main cast and both do a solid enough role.

StoryThe story follows a former staff worker for the Vice President and one of the major parts of a project which saw many people killed, she has moved on with her life away from politics, hoping to one day tell the truth against the now current President. This story is a heavy political set up which shows us just how they will do anything to cover up any secrets, the story does jump around between the two times and careers that Libby has which does just come and go way to often. The problem with this story comes from the fact this could have been a lot more intense because of the subject matter we are going into.

ThrillerThe could be a thriller that is truly one of the most intense movies of the year, because the subject could have been showing bigger consequences instead of a couple of friendly conversations.

SettingsThe film is set in the everyday location, it shows how easy it could be to get people coming after somebody who might hold a secret.

Scene of the Movie –
Jamie Lee Curtis scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does become very predictable.

Final ThoughtsThis is a predictable thriller that does tackle a bigger subject matter that goes through cover ups, we are saved by Jamie Lee Curtis scene stealing performance.


Overall: Predictable, through entertaining.




Crown and Anchor (2019)

Director: Andrew Rowe

Writer: Andrew Rowe, Michael Rowe, Matt Wells (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Rowe, Matt Wells, Natalie Brown, Robert Joy, Stephen McHattie, Ben Cotton, Jonathan Watton


Plot: A raw look at the effects of childhood trauma through the eyes of two estranged cousins.


Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Tension Filled


Story: Crown and Anchor starts when police officer James (Rowe) returns home for his mother’s funeral, with his estranged drug abusing criminal cousin Danny (Wells) having already dealt with the formalities. James isn’t happy and stays away from most of the family apart from Doug (Joy) who informs him of a drug problem in the town.

James decides that he wants to look to end the problem in the town, getting Danny out of the problem he has found himself in and finally facing the childhood trauma they both went through.


Thoughts on Crown and Anchor


Characters – James is a police officer with a violent side, he keeps his isolated working out listening to aggressive metal music when off duty, he did suffer a trauma as a child and with his mother’s passing things have only gotten worse for him, returning home he wants to fix the drug problem in his hometown which will see him clashing with his cousin. Danny is the druggie criminal who has just lost his job, he has turned to crime for money to support his family, only to learn this has started to cause more problems with the security of money coming into the family, along with James he suffered a childhood trauma which is why he has reacted the way his has too. The rest of the characters we met are family who have their own stories about the cousins and the crime boss who wants to stay in power, with plenty of threats through the film.

PerformancesMichael Rowe and Matt Wells are both our main performers, they are both intense with their roles from either side of the law, we get to see the emotional impact that both have with what has happened to them in the past. The supporting cast all work for this film without getting tested to the levels of the leads.

StoryThe story here follows two relatives that suffered a childhood trauma and have gone in completely different directions in their lives, while still battling the demons that they are suffering through from their past. This story does try to show how reluctant men are to talk about their emotional traumas they have suffered in life, turning to different vices to help them, be it drink, drugs or violence, we get to see how they can become distant because of their action. One of the weaker sides of the story comes from the pacing, which does make the opening part of the film feel like it is dragging along and it is getting into the truth which is what we want to learn the most about in the film.

CrimeThe crime side of the film follows the two cousins that have gone either side of the law, using their positions to commit crimes, with the police officer going across the line, while the criminal falling deeper into the criminal world he has been drawn towards.

SettingsThe film is set in one city which has seen a drug problem start to take over, one man wants to stop this to save his family, it shows us just how different worlds can be created for these people to be living in.

Scene of the Movie –
Lucky shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slow starting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow paced film that does want to tackle a couple of serious issues going on in the world, we have strong leading performance to keep everything going strong through the film.


Overall: Nice drama even if it has a slow start.




A Murder of Innocence (2019)

Director: Shawn Justice

Writer: Shawn Justice, Aimee Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Rachel MacMillan, Frank Chiesurin, Xander Steel, Katie O’Grady, Marc Steele, Scott Galbraith, Jeremy McLaughlin, Lily Haug


Plot: Based on a true story, a community is rocked by the double-homicide of a prominent couple and the local police struggle to find the killer. As a darkness settles over the town, Albert, the new resident pastor must help his church and family overcome the aftershocks by providing stability, healing and hope while his wife Aimee must come to grips with her own fear through her faith.


Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Simple Real-Life Crime Drama


Story: A Murder of Innocence starts when new pastor Albert Anderson (Chiesurin), his wife Aimee (MacMillan) and six kids move to a new town to take over the local church, the community is very tight and the people are welcoming to new residents.

When a couple of the most-respected members of the neighbourhood are murdered, this puts panic in the community, with Aimee becoming paranoid for her own family’s safety, with Sheriff Kirk Tomlin (Steel) trying to solve the murders before everyone getting out of control pointing fingers at each other, Albert will face his toughest task, to bring the community back together in their time of need.


Thoughts on A Murder of Innocence


Characters – Albert is the new pastor in town, he does everything to make his town see he has come to do good for the religious neighbourhood, he will face a difficult couple of weeks after the murder of two members of his community, which will see the locals getting upset, scared and even with his wife dealing with these problems too. Aimee is the pastor’s wife, she is just as welcoming as he is, trying to make everybody feel comfortable with the new Pastor, after the murders, she does become paranoid, needing reassurance that they are safe. Sheriff Kirk Tomlin is left to try and solve the crime, he doesn’t have much to go on and doesn’t know if anyone in his neighbourhood could have done this. We do meet plenty of members of the community, each one that will have their own reason for suspecting somebody for the crime.

PerformancesRachel MacMillan and Frank Chiesurin both give us the strongest lead performances in the film, they bring real emotions that the real people would have gone through during the events of the film. the rest of the cast don’t hit the levels of the lead two, though Xander Steel does make big improvement through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a religious community that are welcoming a new pastor, only to be left in shock after the murders of the respected member of the community. This causes panic with in the community until the murderer is captured, with on the Pastor to try and keep the people calm. This story does feel like it could be a made for television drama, because it does keep the themes on the softer side, without hitting the level of violence involved in the crime. We do have a religious undertone which will see a lot of praying going on, which is fine for the neighbourhood, but we don’t need to see this happening this often. The crime investigation never feels as intense as it should be though.

CrimeThe crime is a horrible double homicide, seeing how people react to this is the important part of the story.

SettingsThe small community created here shows us how close everybody is and will be when it comes to getting to make sure they are safe within their own homes.

Scene of the Movie –
Welcoming the Pastor to the church.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Sheriff Kirk reading a statement, which comes off like a draft reading, over any acting.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting real-crime drama, based on a real events and the effect it had on the neighbourhood. It doesn’t ever hit any levels of intensity, but is more about showing the people coming together.


Overall: Real-Life Crime Drama.




The Captor (2019)

Director: Robert Budreau

Writer: Robert Budreau (Screenplay)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Noomi Rapace, Mark Strong, Christopher Heyerdahl, Bea Santos, Mark Rendall, Ian Matthews


Plot: Based on the absurd but true 1973 bank heist and hostage crisis in Stockholm that was documented in the New Yorker as the origins of the ‘Stockholm Syndrome’.

Tagline – Based on an Absurd but True Story

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Hawke is a Blast


Story: The Captor starts when American Kaj Hansson (Hawke) walks into a bank taking hostages in bank clerks Bianca Lind (Rapace) and Klara Mardh (Santos), he wants Gunnar Sorensson (Strong) released from prison along with his outlandish demands that Chief Mattsson (Heyerdahl) must try to put together.

As the hostage situation continue we start to see the truth unravel and see how Bianca starts to respect Kaj even feeling like she is part of the heist herself, can they make it out of the heist as the origin of the term ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ is born here.


Thoughts on The Captor


Characters – Kaj Hansson is the American that has walked into the bank, he doesn’t really have a plan, he knows what he wants though, he wants to be fair to his hostages, never actually wanting to hurt anybody, just to make sure the police see him as a threat. He starts to make friends with the hostages too. Bianca Lind is the bank clerk that has her own family and finds herself being held hostage, she becomes the stronger of the two women, she starts to become attracted to Kaj believing he isn’t a bad guy, this is her story. Gunnar Sorensson is the man that Kaj wants released from prison, he is one of the most famous bank robbers in the country and he sees the mistakes that Kaj is making, while having a deal with the Chief. Chief Mattsson is the man trying to end the situation, he is trying to stay one step ahead of Kaj to get everyone out alive.

PerformancesEthan Hawke is a delight to watch in this film, he plays the over the top which sums up what the character needs to be through this film. Noomi Rapace plays her role well giving us a character which is both interested and scared through the film. Mark Strong is the supporting acting for a generation, he brings his complex character to life with ease once again. Christopher Heyerdahl is strong through the film showing a determined, though calm man through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a bank heist which led to the first case of Stockholm Syndrome, where the hostage falls in love with the hostage taker, we see how this hostage situation unfolds with the outlandish demands as the woman starts to fall for him. When it comes to bank heist movies, we have seen plenty, they usually revolve around the criminals and the police trying to stay ahead of each other, with this one we do have that, but we have the added dynamic of seeing how the hostages and takers start to bond when they see that everything can be kept under control, remember this is set in 1973 so the technology isn’t going to be a game changer in how everything is solved. Seeing both sides get to the talking can go through moments of slow story telling, but it isn’t long until Kaj goes a little bit crazy demanding our attention once again. With a subplot involving Gunnar’s position in the situation, we get to see how Kaj really doesn’t know what he is doing making it easier to help the hostages take sympathy with him. It was nice to have just normal police that aren’t looking to solve a personal problem with this case, which is so often the case in these stories.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in the film comes from everything Kaj seems to do, from his outfit with wig, cowboy hat and American swagger, to how he overreacts to everything that is going on, the crime is loosely based on a real incident, with the names changed, it is a hostage situation, but you never feel like there is a threat.

SettingsMost of the film is set within the walls of the bank, it is a simple and well craft set that shows us just how the people have been thrown together in this situation.

Scene of the Movie –
Kaj shares a pear.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t feel like there is a threat in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a different way to tell a heist movie, it does show us how hostages can fall in love with their captors and overtime even support them, we get the routine hostage talks and end up right where we need to for the story to flow with ease.


Overall: Nice spin on the heist genre.