ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – B – Belle (2013)

Director: Amma Asante

Writer: Misan Sagay (Screenplay)

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Sarah Gadon, Tom Felton, Miranda Richardson, Sam Reid, Penelope Wilton

 

Plot: The mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle in 18th century England.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Impressive Look a Historical Change

 

Story: Belle starts in 1769 when Captain Sir John Lindsay (Goode) father’s a child with a slave girl who has died. He begs his Uncle Lord Mansfield (Wilkinson) and Lady Mansfield (Watson) to care for Dido Elizabeth Belle. Facing the difficult decision Lord Mansfield accepts Belle into the household as a new friend for their other niece Elizabeth, but for the social order they must wait and see.

Belle (Mbatha-Raw) and Elizabeth (Gadon) grown up to their 20’s as Belle learns of her father’s death and potential suitors for Elizabeth with Dido staying away from visitors because of her skin colour. When Lord Mansfield agrees to take vicar’s son John Davinier (Reid) under his wing to defend the rights of the slaves after a tragic event led to the death of them on board a transport ship by the captain.

With the case running in the background Belle uses this to work with Davinier to bring down the slavery industry running through Britain while dealing with the society marriages she has found herself involved with.

 

Thoughts on Belle

 

Characters/PerformanceBelle is the black woman in higher society England, only she isn’t accepted in all the ways the white high society people are. She lives in the rich homes but not welcome to the dinners but doesn’t understand the difference until she comes of age, she is a strong minded woman whose short memories of her father motivate her into wanting to make a change to rid England of slavery. Lord Mansfield is drawn into how society is meant to be but also wants the best for his adopted daughter. John Davinier is the idealistic young man who is in search for the change in slavery who sees how Belle also wants to change.

Performance wise I do feel Mbatha-Raw gives her best performance of her career to date here with Tom Wilkinson always showing us his acting class. Sam Reid is also great throughout with the rest of the cast all performing their roles just how you need them to be.

StoryThe story is showing an important part of history as we see how England had it’s first case that could bring down slavery in the country. The story unfolds showing how difficult it was for Belle in this time because of her blood line, skin colour and social standing. I think this is an unknow and important part of history that should be known.

Biography/RomanceLooking into this woman’s history was fascinating because we get to see how her choice in love help change a nation look at slavery.

SettingsEach setting looks perfect for time the film is set showing how the upper class looked at the life they had.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film I wasn’t sure about but found myself enjoying from start to finish.

 

Overall: This is a good film for all history buffs to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Tom Hiddleston Weekend – War Horse (2011)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Lee Hall, Richard Curtis (Screenplay) Michael Morpurgo (Novel)

Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, Niels Arestrup, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch

 

Plot: Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert’s hopeful journey takes him out of England and to the front lines as the war rages on.


Tagline – Separated by war. Tested by battle. Bound by friendship.

Runtime: 2 Hours 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Incredible Story

 

Story: War Horse starts as the poor farming family Narracotts, former war veteran Ted (Mullan), wife Rose (Watson) and son Albert (Irvine) end up with a horse that shouldn’t be able to work on a farm that Albert manages to teach how to plough, being the only one Joey will listen to.

When the latest crop fails, Ted is forced to sale Joey to the military once the first World War breaks outs, Captain Nicholls (Hiddleston) takes him promising to bring him back safely, however much it breaks Albert’s heart. When Captain Nicholls is killed in action, we see Joey’s next chapter in the war, as Albert enlists in an attempt to become reunited with Joey on the front lines.

 

Thoughts on War Horse

 

Characters – Albert is the farmers boy that proves he will never give up and shows us when it comes to training the horse, which will achieving things it should never get through, he has bonded with Joey who is taken away from him, determined to be reunited with Joey, he enlists in the British army heading off to World War I to fight and find his horse. Ted is the war veteran father, who drinks to get over his problems with what happened in his own battle, reckless in his behaviour, he must make the difficult decision to sell the horse. Rose is the ever-supporting wife and mother that sees the good in both her husband and son, knowing while they might clash they will forever be doing the right thing. Lyons is the landlord that is making the life of the Narracotts difficult forcing him into the decisions that could take the family out of their home. Captain Nicholls is the man that buys Joey, taking him to the war promising to keep him safe and return him after the war with Major Jamie Stewart being the one that naively going into battle underprepared.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are impacted by the number of characters involved in the film, with the likes of Hiddleston and Cumberbatch left with only supporting roles where they make an impact with their limited time. The two main stars of the film would be Jeremy Irvine and the horses themselves that go through the biggest struggles through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the incredible journey through the first World War that a horse endured being forced to work for both the British and the Germans, somehow surviving through the difficulties both sides were facing. We see how one young farmer’s boy risks his life to head to war in hopes o finding his horse in a battle which would take millions of lives. The story itself is incredible, the pacing of the story however does feel inconsistent because we spend ten to fifteen minutes with each chapter, which never gives us enough time for the impact of those scenes.

History/WarThe history involved in the First World War is a moment that changed everyone involved, this is clear from the characters we see, each war scene does feel realistic even if it is more focused on the less graphic moments involved.

SettingsThe film uses the settings wonderfully to make us feel like we are involved in the scenes with the war scenes showing us how difficult the moments were for the men and horses.


Scene of the Movie –
Running free in no man’s land.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not getting enough time with each of the characters we meet.

Final ThoughtsThis is an incredible story showing the journey of one horse through the first World War, this creates the shocking truth of war, while it does lack the time spent on each character.

 

Overall: Incredible story of one horses journey through war.

Rating

 

 

Everest (2015)

logoDirector: Baltasar Kormakur

Writer: William Nicholson, Simon Beaufoy (Screenplay)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Elizabeth Debicki, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright, Josh Brolin, Sam Worthington, Jason Clarke, Clive Standen, Emily Watson, Martin Henderson, Michael Kelly, John Hawkes, Michael Kelly

Plot: A climbing expedition on Mt. Everest is devastated by a severe snow storm.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Memorizing

Story: Everest starts by introducing us to Rob Hall (Clarke) a skilled climber with years of experience climbing Mount Everest. Rob is preparing for his latest expedition, we also meet Beck Weathers (Brolin), Doug Hansen (Hawkes) and Jon Krakauer (Kelly) all members of the latest expedition even with a rival climber Scott Fischer (Gyllenhaal) who has lost out on taking a journalist up the mountain.

We watch as Rob train the want to be climbers through their paces to prepare them for the climb of their life times. Realizing there are too many different expedition trying to reach the summit Rob tries to work out a plan to split climbs so they don’t end up having people waiting to climb the mountain.

Weather clear, teams prepared the time has come to climb Mount Everest with Rob and Scott leading the way, but getting to the top was the easy part it is getting back down during a sudden snow storm hits the team.

Everest is based on the true events of the 1996 incident which lead to the many death on Mount Everest. We follow these victims and survivors as they go up the mountain but have to fight unpredictable weather on their way back down, I think the film handles to subject brilliantly but I will say it struggles to give enough screen time to certain supporting characters. Saying this we do get to see how difficult the climb would be and we are left wondering what will happen (unless you know the real story) and who will make it down.

Actor Review

Jason Clarke: Rob Hall is the lead climber taking teams up Everest, he leads this latest expedition to the top of the highest point on Earth and while everything goes well on the way up to the summit it is the journey down which causes the problems as he needs to lead his team down through a sudden snow storm. Jason does a great job in this role continuing to impress in leading role over the recent years.rob

Jake Gyllenhaal: Scott Fischer is a rival lead climber who is on a mutual respect level with Rob, he works with Rob to make the increasing number of climbers climbing to the top of the mountain. He has a riskier style compared to Rob but he does understand the dangers all the same. Jake does a good job but I do feel like we needed more from his character.scott

John Hawkes: Doug Hansen is the man who has returned to the mountain after just missing out on the summit the year before, he works three jobs to make this dream a reality and will never give up on achieving this dream. John does a good job in this role because he looks like a guy who wouldn’t look like the made climber compared to the rest of the team.doug

Josh Brolin: Beck Weathers is the loud mouth American who see climbing the mountain as a rush, he struggles to deal with the rules because he expects to be getting a chance to climb the mountain not wait for time to do it, he does create a good bond with the rest of the climbers though. Josh does a good job in his role and brings something to the character that makes you not like him.beck

Sam Worthington: Guy Cotter is a fellow climber who helps make the mountain safer to climb, he works with Rob and is the one that guides him through the ascent from the top. Sam does a solid enough job in this supporting role but doesn’t get enough to do.

Support Cast: Everest has an even bigger supporting cast mostly filled with loved one of the men on the mountains along with the rest of the climbers who end up stuck on the mountain against the storm, they all help as we watch them desperately try to save their loved ones.

Director Review: Baltasar Kormakur Baltasar gives us a visually stunning looking film telling a tragic story of what happened on the mountain that fateful may.

Adventure: Everest shows what the perils of going on this ultimate adventure really are.

Thriller: Everest keeps you wondering what will happen to the characters from the start to the finish as you root for all of them.

Settings: Everest creates the settings perfectly to show how difficult it would be during the condition the climbers find themselves in.
Special Effects: Everest uses the effects to make each scene look realistic throughout.

Suggestion: Everest is one to watch because it will be one of the best visual treats of the year along with a story that shows how much people risked for that rush. (Watch)

Best Part: Visually brilliant.

Worst Part: I felt the supporting characters needed more screen time.

Believability: It is based on what really happened on Everest in 1996

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: Could get a few visual awards.

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minutes

Tagline: Never let go

Overall: One special film that tells such a brilliant and tragic story

Ratingcard

 

The Book Thief (2013)

logoDirector: Brian Percival

Writer: Michael Petroni (Screenplay) Markus Zusak (Novel)

Starring: Sophie Nelisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Kirsten Block, Heike Makatsch, Nico Liersch, Ben Schnetzer

 

Plot: While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. In the basement of her home, a Jewish refugee is being sheltered by her adoptive parents.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful, Moving Drama

 

Story: The Book Thief starts by when Liesel’s (Nelisse) brother dies, talk about a sad start right? Liesel gets adopted by the Hubermann’s Hans (Rush) and Rosa (Watson) who had planned to take both the children to help hide them during the war. Rosa is very strict while Hans is fun trying to make her time with them fun. Local boy Rudy (Liersch) tries his best to befriend Liesel and welcome her to the school. As Liesel time with Hans continues she learns how to read and the joy of books. Liesel has to copy with the Nazi book burning parades where she has to stand by everything against her.

Liesel manages to save a book and Hans agrees to help her hide the book making it their own secret. The Hubermann’s are also keeping their own secret when stranger Max (Schnetzer) turns up on their door step, this leads to Liesel being ordered to keep a secret but her interest in the books keeps her curiosity high. When we learn that Max is in a fact a Jew in hiding, he begins a friendship with Liesel while she learns that she isn’t the only lover of books. Liesel also learns how she will need to grow up through the wartime where so many children have to suffer.

The Book Thief is a very powerful story about one girl’s struggle through the war, abandoned by her mother she has to learn to grow up in a new family, new town under a belief she doesn’t want to follow. We watch how she learns about books, learns how to read and learns that even through such a hard time she can trust people. We also see the harsh reality of the war where we will lose people. The idea the story is told by death is very clever because the narration gives away what will happen but spares us the details and almost makes it touching how he takes the souls. This is an adaptation so I don’t personally know how well it compares to the books but as a film itself it is a good story to watch unfold. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Sophie Nelisse: Liesel Meminger young girl who gets sent to live with another family during the war where she learns she has a love of books during the wartime struggle. Sophie gives a great performance for an actress of her age, watch out for the name in the future. (8/10)

 liesel

Geoffrey Rush: Hans Hubermann father of the adopted family who is much more laid back than his wife, but his promises could put the whole family at danger. Geoffrey gives a good performance and one we all know he is very capable off. (7/10)

hans

Emily Watson: Rosa Hubermann mother of the adopted family who is very strict but equally has a heart of gold as she just wants to protect her family. Emily gives a good performance too and much like Rush we know we can trust her in these sort of roles. (7/10)

 

Ben Schnetzer: Max a Jewish man in hiding in the Hubermann house hold after his father saved Han’s life. He befriends Liesel and they both have their own way to hate Hitler and his men together. Ben gives a good performance and makes for an engaging character. (7/10)

 max

Support Cast: The Book Thief supporting cast is filled with the other town’s people who are all trying to keep their heads down and the soldiers trying to fight a war they have no control over.

 

Director Review: Brian Percival – Brian does a good job directing this powerful drama. (7/10)

 

Drama: The Book Thief shows the relationship between people during the wartime and how they struggled to keep things safe. (9/10)

War: The Book Thief tells of the struggle through the eyes of one of the innocent children who would have been caught up in the middle of it all. (9/10)

Settings: The Book Thief creates authentic settings to put us right in the middle of World War II. (10/10)

Suggestion: The Book Thief is one to try, if you have read the book I honestly can’t tell you if it is a good adaptations but it is an enjoyable film to watch. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Christmas.

Worst Part: Final Moments.

 

Believability: Even though the story is made up, the situation the people find themselves in would have been real. (7/10)

Chances of Tears: You may have some by the end. (5/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for best music written for motion picture.

Box Office: $76 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 11 Minutes

Tagline: Courage beyond words.

 

Overall: Beautiful Drama

Rating 75

Equilibrium (2002)

logoDirector: Kurt Wimmer

Writer: Kurt Wimmer (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Dominic Purcell, Sean Bean, Sean Pertwee, William Fichtner, Taye Diggs, Emily Watson

 

Plot: In a Fascist future where all forms of feeling are illegal, a man in charge of enforcing the law rises to overthrow the system.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Emotionless Action

 

Story: Equilibrium starts by telling us that we will have a third world war and to stop a fourth man has lost its humanity taking the idea that we can feel away from us. We meet elite team John Preston (Bale) and Partridge (Bean) who eliminate anyone caught with any items that could cause emotions. We see how they take out a whole hideout of ‘criminals’ (known as sense offenders) in an all guns blazing, picture burning style. We enter into what is a cult like city run by Father (Pertwee) who keeps the people on their drug Prozium which will cut out any emotion the people will ever have.

Discovering that his partner might have turned into a sense offender Preston has to locate and find out why he has changed and to give him a mercy killing rather than letting the leaders do it. (Yes Sean Bean does die again) this introduces Preston’s new partner Brandt (Diggs), we know have the rookie joining up with the experienced officer cliché. Preston haunted by the loss of his wife to sense offending. The latest bust finds involved a mysterious lady Mary (Watson) who starts to push Preston while he tries to discover who she is working with. After missing a dose of his medicine Preston starts to understand why everyone he was killing didn’t care because they were actually living but can he survive in a world where everyone knows when you are feeling and bring it down from the inside?

Equilibrium was doing the futuristic revolutions before any of the teenage ones we get flooded with now. I do feel the story has plenty of plot holes like how everyone seems to be on the plan for Preston and not a single person gives it away. I also do have an issue with the end, with the leader taken out and revolution happened why they saw it fit to butcher everyone who is only stuck on mind control rather than show that they had the mercy side to the humanity which they were fighting for. I also found the idea that Preston started doing everything that his partner did like he was the backup plan. On the positive I found the costumes very good with Preston starting in all black before turning to full white once he goes through the change. In the end it does lack certain storyline issues but is a simple action film. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Christian Bale: John Preston at first the best agent against sense offenders who fast turns into the very person they are hunting. He ends up fighting for the resistance against the very people he has worked for. Christian gives a good performance and shows the basic emotionless performance before he starts turning to emotions. (7/10)

 bale

Taye Diggs: Brandt rookie who is assigned to work with Preston but soon picks up on the emotions he has started to feel and leads the offensive against Preston and the resistance. Taye gives a good performance but fails to match Bale’s performance. (6/10)

 taye

Support Cast: Equilibrium has a group of supporting members who all have few scene that seem to help the story unfold.

 

Director Review: Kurt Wimmer – Kurt does a good job directing to make a new style of combat but the story telling falls flat. (7/10)

 

Action: Equilibrium has jaw dropping action with fight scenes, gun battling that comes thick and fast. (9/10)

Sci-Fi: Equilibrium paints a future that we have seen before just with slightly different motives and crimes. (7/10)

Settings: Equilibrium settings are all well created to show the uniformity on wide side and the freedom on the other. (9/10)

Suggestion: Equilibrium is one for the action fans to enjoy, it has plenty going on but don’t think about enjoy any major story. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Final Showdown battle.

Worst Part: Brutal killing of the innocent, but I know it was needed to show how villainous they are.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final battle.

Kill Of The Film: The sword finale

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Ultraviolet

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $5 Million

Budget: $20 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

Tagline: Two men. One battle. No compromise

 

Overall: The Matrix Knight Rises

Rating 60