ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – O – Our Kind of Traitor (2016)

Director: Susanna White

Writer: Hossein Amini (Screenplay) John le Carre (Novel)

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgard, Damian Lewis, Naomie Harris, Jeremy Northam, Khalid Abdalla, Mark Gatiss

 

Plot: A couple finds themselves lured into a Russian oligarch’s plans to defect, and are soon positioned between the Russian Mafia and the British Secret Service, neither of whom they can trust.


Tagline – Who can you trust with the truth?

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Crime Thriller

 

Story: Our Kind of Traitor starts when British couple Perry (McGregor) and Gail (Harris) holidaying in Morocco meet Russian Mafia member Dima (Skarsgard) and the two men bond. Dima talks Perry into taking information back to MI6, which opens the door for the secret service agent Hector (Lewis) trying to investigate the information.

Returning with the information, Perry and Gail gets caught up in the middle of both sides even though they want to get on with their own lives, soon it is their lives that are in danger, who will come out on top.

 

Thoughts on Our Kind of Traitor

 

Characters – Perry is a university professor, he is trying to make amends with his wife on a romantic holiday, he reluctantly gets involved in the information trade with his good nature being used by both sides. Gail is the lawyer wife of Perry, she has become distant from him while still loving him and does question his decision to help Dima. Dima is the Russian mafia handling the accounts, but he wants out to help his own children become safe, he uses his connection with Perry to get MI6 involved in the truth. Hector is the MI6 agent that is willing to work with Dima for the information in exchange for the family, he does have his own grudge with the man they are trying to take down too.

PerformancesThe performances through the film show us just what Le Carre does with his characters, he gives them good moments, without making them stand out. McGregor is good, but you feel a younger up and comer would have been perfect here, Harris is good and doesn’t put a foot wrong, while Skarsgard enjoys his role, shady but loyal. Damian Lewis brings back his true English role which at times does feel weird knowing how often he has been an American character recently.

StoryThe story comes from a John Le Carre novel, so instantly we know we are going to get a thriller that keeps us guessing on what everyone’s motivation will be. The idea that a normal couple get mixed up in the middle of an international information exchange is different and does work for the film because it helps us stay on edge thinking and wondering if they do have a bigger involvement. The story does feel like that one moment to make it great is missing, as everything does end up feeling just normal and good only.

CrimeThe crime side of the film follows a criminal looking for a safe way out of the life for his family in exchange for bringing down the mafia’s dealings in London.

SettingsThe film splits the settings between London, for the deals, Morocco for the exchanges and the final location for the next chapter of the lives, they work because they show how this world would operate.


Scene of the Movie –
The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It lacks the edge of your seat style of Le Carre novels have given us.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid thriller even if it lacks that final factor to make it one of the best ones, it does the by the book material well, but never develops the characters enough to understand the situation they put themselves in.

 

Overall: Simple thriller.

Rating

 

 

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Christopher Robin (2018)

Director: Marc Forster

Writer: Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, Allison Schroeder (Screenplay) Greg Brooker, Mark Steven Johnson, A.A. Milne, Ernest Shepard (Story/Characters)

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, Mark Gatiss, Oliver Ford Davies, Ronke Adekoluejo

 

Plot: A working-class family man, Christopher Robin, encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh, who helps him to rediscover the joys of life.


Tagline – Out of the Wood. Into the City.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Absolute Delight

 

Story: Christopher Robin starts when Christopher Robin leaves the 100 Acre Wood as he grows up, saying goodbye to Winnie the Pooh and friends, promising never to forget about them, the years flyby and soon Christopher (McGregor) is married to Evelyn (Atwell) with a daughter Madeline (Carmichael), he goes to and returns from war, becoming a businessman needing to make difficult decisions.

When Christopher is facing the most difficult time in his life, with his professional career facing dismissing staff and his personal life showing how distant he is becoming from his family, Winnie ends up paying him a visit in London, as he searches for his own friends from 100 Acre Wood.

 

Thoughts on Christopher Robin

 

Characters – Christopher Robin is now grown up, not the child we know from the Winnie the Pooh adventures, he is married with his own child and his own responsibilities, he is struggling to balance the two lives showing how his imagination is losing out to the real world. being visited by Winnie, he must look at his life and decide just what is right for him, his family or his career. Evelyn is his wife that has supported him through all his decisions, she is growing tired of Christopher’s actions, deciding what is best for their daughter, Madeline is the daughter that is being pushed down a path that Christopher never did, one with discipline and no imagination. Winnie the Pooh is the lovable bear that loves his honey, he visits Christopher to try and save him from his own misguidance.

PerformancesEwan McGregor is fantastic in this leading role, he shows us just how difficult life can be with the balance as we see how he will show the struggle to be a family man or a businessman. Hayley Atwell is good without having to do that much in her role. Bronte Carmichael gives us a good child actor performance.

StoryThe story shows what happens to Christopher Robin once he grows up and starts to make the same mistakes his own father would make for him. This is a story about needing to learn how to balance a career and personal life to make sure that you enjoy the most part of your own life, bring back the popular figures from the Winnie the Pooh world, it all comes together to make you leave the film with a true smile on your face. This story will connect to people of all ages and play into the love for the Winnie the Pooh characters.

Adventure/Comedy/FantasyThe adventure takes Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh and the rest of the gang on the biggest adventure, one that is important to life, not just enjoyment. The comedy connects well through the film, you will be laughing a lot in this film even with it having serious moments in. the fantasy side of the film shows how these colourful characters are real in this world.

SettingsThe film is set in two main locations, first is London showing how far away from the boy from the 100 Acre Wood has go, the second is the 100 Acre Wood to which will bring the boy out of Christopher.

AnimationThe animation focuses on just bring the animals into the real world and it does hit very well never looking out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
The adventure to work.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a delightful film to watch, it is one of the film that will leave you smiling with pleasure and true enjoyment.

 

Overall: Wonderful.

Rating

 

 

The Mercy (2018)

Director: James Marsh

Writer: Scott Z Burns (Screenplay)

Starring: Rachel Weisz, Colin Firth, David Thewlis, Mark Gatiss, Andrew Buchan, Anna Madeley

 

Plot: The incredible story of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst and his solo attempt to circumnavigate the globe. The struggles he confronted on the journey while his family awaited his return is one of the most enduring mysteries of recent times.


Tagline – Based on the true story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nicely Paced, Lacks Impact

 

Story: The Mercy starts when inventor Donald Crowhurst (Firth) who has been working on boating equipment for years decides he wants to try and circumnavigate the globe alone, with no experience of sailing behind him. His wife Clare (Weisz) supports his decision believe he knows what he is getting himself into and Rodney Hallworth (Thewlis) handling the press and Mr Best (Stott) financing the trip.

While on the adventure, plans don’t go to plan and alone Donald must make a difficult decision to cut the corners to both save his life from danger and break the records set out on front of him. When his journey gets studied questions arise and soon the mystery about his pace come to light.

 

Thoughts on The Mercy

 

Characters – Donald Crowhurst has been inventing equipment for boats for years, the one things he desires more is to go around the world, which he puts into motion by building the fastest boat, but with no experience can he do the impossible? Clare is his wife back home and mother to their children, she faces the anxious wait for him to return from his journey, while dealing with the idea he might not make it back and the increased public spotlight thrown on the family because of his success. Rodney is the press officer arranging the sponsors for Donald and bring in the press to tell his story to the world, he becomes more involved the better and faster Donald does.

PerformancesColin Firth is the star of this show, he does much of the work in solo takes showing the endurance he is facing in the middle of the ocean, the moments of beauty and the moments or loneliness shine through in his expressions. Rachel Weisz is good and shines in a couple of scenes, but doesn’t show her full skills. David Thewlis is always an excellent supporting performer too.

StoryThe story follows an unlikely sailor taking on one of the riskiest and most dangerous journey a sailor can take alone. He brings hope to any sailor with the idea, but the truth will leave that hope shattered in one of the biggest mysteries in the sailing world. this is based on a real-event which is interesting to see unfold, my problem with the way the story is told, is that we don’t really know what happened and never get any real evidence either way, which by the end leaves you playing into theories over the truths.

Adventure/BiopicThe adventure plays into the idea that Donald could be going on a journey that could inspire anyone. The biopic side of the film shows how the family was dealing with the journey, but what Donald did on the boat can’t be answered.

SettingsThe film creates the time period well and the time spent on the boat feels like the adventure it was meant to be.


Scene of the Movie –
The wildlife shots.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not knowing the truth.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting biopic that shows a mystery that was never truly solved, it is paced nicely but lack that point of solving the mystery only making suggestions.

 

Overall: Solid biopic with great performances.

Rating