ABC Film Challenge – Crime – Sexy Beast (2000)

Director: Jonathan Glazer

Writer: Louis Mellis, David Scinto (Screenplay)

Starring: Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley, Ian McShane, Amanda Redman, James Fox, Cavan Kendall, Julianne White

 

Plot: Brutal gangster Don Logan recruits “retired” safecracker Gal for one last job, but it goes badly for both of them.


Tagline – Sometimes It’s Hard To Say No

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Insult Heavy Crime Thriller

 

Story: Sexy Beast starts as we meet retired safecracker Gal (Winstone) living the life of luxury in a Spanish villa which he enjoys relaxing by the pool enjoying his retirement. His retirement is put to the test when brutal gangster Don Logan (Kingsley) arrives in Spain to try and force him into doing one more job for him, he won’t take no for an answer.

Reluctantly taking the job, Gal returns to London and as most heist style movies, things don’t go to plan.

 

Thoughts on Sexy Beast

 

Characters – Gal was once the go to safecracker, now he is in retirement in Spain loving his life in the sun with his pool and friends, he has zero interest in returning to the game even after Don Logan pushes him. He stays relaxed through each scene because he knows his answer will always be no. he does reluctantly return for this last job mostly to get rid of Don. Don Logan is the brutal gangster, he knows who he wants for the jobs and this time it is Gal, he will not take ‘No’ as an answer, he will get violent and his outbursts will be the things you remember the most. Teddy is the man that the job is for, a fellow gangster that wants the best men for the job. DeeDee is the wife of Gal, she will stand by Gal in every decision even after the endless insults thrown their way.

PerformancesRay Winstone is great in this leading role, he is the perfect choice for a cockney criminal who knows there is a better life out there away from London. Ben Kingsley clearly steals every single scene in this movie with his performance that is filed with so much anger and aggression, you won’t be able to take your eyes off him. Ian McShane is great too where he brings us a calmer gangster who is also filled with anger. These three take most of the spotlight away from any other performers in the film.

StoryThe story follows a retired criminal that gets forced to return to the game for one final job by an aggressive gangster, where this film does stand out from the other films in this genre, is that our hero Gal is 100% not interested in returning as most film give us the idea of ‘ok, I will do it’ on an easier formula. The story does have a nice twist on how things go and gives us the characters we could believe are from this world. if you are looking for a heist storyline, you will be disappointed though as this film focuses on the idea of getting the man to do the job.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime world we enter giving us gangsters which will not take no for an answer, we don’t learn enough of their previous lives in the world though, only going on reputations.

SettingsThe film uses Spain for the setting which gives us the retirement feel for a Brit to take, the sun increases the idea of the heat in the scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
The heated argument.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of heist action.

Final ThoughtsThis is a true British crime film, it has great characters and a stunning performance from Ben Kingsley.

 

Overall: British Crime 101

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Crime – G – The Gunman (2015)

Director: Pierre Morel

Writer: Don MacPherson, Peter Travis, Sean Penn (Screenplay) Jean-Patrick Manchette (Novel)

Starring: Sean Penn, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance, Idris Elba

 

Plot: A sniper on a mercenary assassination team, kills the minister of mines of the Congo. Terrier’s successful kill shot forces him into hiding. Returning to the Congo years later, he becomes the target of a hit squad himself.


Tagline – Guard the truth.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre

 

Story: The Gunman starts as we meet Terrier (Penn) a mercenary whose cover as a humanitarian working in Congo who assignment was to kill the new minster of mining whose new policy could bring the country to its knees again. With the mission being a success, Terrier is forced to flee the country for his own safety. Years past and Terrier believes he is being followed and turns to his old friends who worked on that last mission, Stanley (Winstone), Terrance (Rylance) and Felix (Bardem) to see if anyone leaked the information about the hit.

Not knowing who to trust Terrier must race against tie to figure out the truth with his own life and loved ones lives on the line as the past continues to come back and haunt him.

 

Thoughts on The Gunman

 

Characters – Terrier is a sniper mercenary who poses as a humanitarian, he knows how to make connections and uses them to complete jobs, though his latest job turns out to be his last as he goes into hiding. Learning his life is in danger he goes in search for answers about who is after him, giving him a chance to see his love once again. Annie is the woman that Terrier must leave when he goes into hiding, the woman he loved, she has moved on though she still does love Terrier even after all these years. Felix is one of the connections from the job, he had always been jealous of the relationship Terrier and Annie had, leaving him to make his move once Terrier is out of the picture. Stanley is the connection in London that is a good friend that will help out where needed. Terrance is the one of the group which continued his success and knows who is still in the loop.

PerformancesWhen it comes to performances we need to face the reality that Sean Penn is trying his luck at the Liam Neeson style of action film, he just doesn’t have the same levels of action in him and for the most part he doesn’t do anything to make us truly care about his character. When we look at the supporting cast on the male side we get four big-names we know do solid enough supporting roles, while Jasmine Trinca is solid enough as the love interest for Terrier.

StoryThe story follows a mercenary that finds his previous job exposed to the people it has effective, but soon needs to learn who released the information. The was sold to be a fast paced action thriller, though the story is slow burning political thriller which focuses on the ideas that have been put forward when the rich try to control countries for their own means. The slow pace takes us out of the story because things just become boring for the most part.

Action/CrimeFor an action film we get the very basic levels of shooting and combat which are covering up the bigger crime going on between the men.

SettingsThe film takes us from growing African country that the Europeans and Americans are looking to take advantage off, to Europe as we get the locations that are designed to show us the hiding places are in every city.

Special EffectsThe effects come from how the wounds look and that is about it, for the most part they are the strongest part of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Sniper time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pacing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow burning action crime thriller that lacks any tension, suspicious about who the villain is and ends up playing out like a paint by numbers cliché.

 

Overall: Cliched and boring.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – E – Edge of Darkness (2010)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: William Monahan, Andrew Bovell (Screenplay) Troy Kennedy-Martin (Original Television show)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Bojana Novakovic, Shawn Roberts, David Aaron Baker, Jay O Sanders

 

Plot: As homicide detective Thomas Craven investigates the death of his activist daughter, he uncovers not only her secret life, but a corporate cover-up and government collusion that attracts an agent tasked with cleaning up the evidence.


Tagline – Few escape justice. None escape vengeance.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Crime Thriller

 

Story: Edge of Darkness starts when Craven (Gibson) get to spend his daughter Emma (Novakovic) only for an unknown gunman killing her on his doorstep, Craven being a homicide detective isn’t allowed to investigate the case for legal reasons, so he decides to go against the law in his search for the murderer.

The early signs make it looks like Craven himself was the target, but it soon comes to light that it might be Emma’s work for a government company run by Jack Bennett (Huston) that might have made her the target and the deeper he digs the more he learns about his daughter.

 

Thoughts on Edge of Darkness

 

Characters – Craven is a respect homicide detective, everyone in the force knows just how capable of solving a murder he can be, but when his own daughter is murdered, he starts to go against the law to figure out who and why she was murdered. He will not stop at anything to locate the truth and take out the people that murdered his daughter. Jedburgh is an English man that will help Craven fill in the gaps, while trying to keep him away from the answers, he has been hired to make sure the investment stays safe, without building up a body count. Jack Bennett runs the company that Emma works for, he knows how to answer questions to keep the press happy, while keeping the shady operations under wraps. Emma is the daughter that Craven is delighted to spend time with once again, only she gets murdered and it is her life before this meeting that we get to see her in.

PerformancesMel Gibson might well have had his problems in Hollywood, but when it comes to crime thrillers, he is in his element always shining in these roles without ever looking out of place, and demanding the screen whenever he steps on screen. Ray Winstone is great in his role, which only seems to be around for the calmer or criminal sides of the film. Danny Huston is an actor that can play a villain in his sleep and this is no different, he brings the smug figure to life here. Bojana Novakovic is great in her smaller role which doesn’t need to get much more screen time to add to the story.

StoryThe story here follows a homicide detective that starts to investigate the murder of his daughter only to find himself in the middle of a much bigger conspiracy that puts his own life in danger. This story starts off looking like it is going to be a revenge like movie because of how the first murder happens only to become a big conspiracy movie that offers up plenty of miss-direction as we lead to the truth. Any story that can keep you guessing and let try to figure out the ending yourself is an entertaining watch, with the outcome not even needing to be spoon fed to us either. This might well be a remake of a television show, but it plays into the modern ideas and works with how the conspiracy could be relevant for today’s climate.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the film starts by just looking like a murder, it soon dives into cover ups, conspiracy and secret groups which shows how the government might go about trying to cover up a secret. The mystery in the film comes from just how the conspiracy keeps managing to unfold to expose more truth about what Emma was involved in.

SettingsThe film uses the Boston setting to show how many crimes have been committed in this stricter state which does show us just how big of a conspiracy needs covering up.


Scene of the Movie –
Riverside meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It would have been nice to see more of Jedburgh.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully intense crime thriller that does keep you guessing throughout the film, we get strong performance throughout and a story that has been modernized without looking out of place.

 

Overall: Hugely entertaining crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

Quadrophenia (1979)

Director: Franc Roddam

Writer: Dave Humphries, Martin Stellman, Franc Roddam (Screenplay)

Starring: Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash, Phil Davis, Mark Wingett, Sting, Ray Winstone, Garry Cooper

 

Plot: Jimmy loathes his job and parents. He seeks solace with his mod clique, scooter riding, and drugs only to be disappointed.


Tagline – The Year Was 1964, and The Battle Was Just Beginning!

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Rebels Without Much Cause

 

Story: Quadrophenia starts as we meet Jimmy (Daniels) a young man with a simple job who spends his time riding his moped, doing drugs and trying to rock along with The Who. Jimmy spends nearly every night out with his best friends Chalky (Davis) and Dave (Wingett) looking for a good time.

With a big trip to Brighton for an event coming up Jimmy gets his supplies ready and along with his crush Steph (Ash) heads of to the event, which goes against the establishment.

 

Thoughts on Quadrophenia

 

Characters – Jimmy is our main character, he is a young man I want to say just about to hit his twenties, he has a dead end job he hates, spends his time riding his moped around London looking for a party and a quick score, he idolises The Who which helps him be the rebel society isn’t ready to accept. We do meet members of his gang though they aren’t that different from each other, we also get to meet the love interest who is busy with another guy.

PerformancesI don’t think we say anything bad about the performances in the film, Phil Daniels does what the character is meant to be while the rest feel like the gangs we are following.

StoryThe story here follows a young man in London who doesn’t like his life when it comes to job and family, only wanting to spend his time partying with his friends and drugs during the boom of the punk era in 1960s England. This story does have historical point to where people could find themselves in this era in time, one that has been addressed for the next generation too. We get the friendship and unity between friends shown strongly here, though Jimmy being mostly unlikable doesn’t help us get sucked into the story. This doesn’t paint the British youth in the best light either which I guess is the point behind this movie.

SettingsLondon and Brighton were two of the big locations for the whole rebel movement from the 1960s which helps make this use of settings one of the best.


Scene of the Movie –
Stage Dive.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Jimmy is so unlikable.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that wants to show us the rebels of the world only to show us the annoying idiots of the world.

 

Overall: Just gang nonsense.

Rating

 

 

The Sweeney (2012)

Director: Nick Love

Writer: Nick Love, John Hodge (Screenplay) Ian Kennedy Martin (Source Material)

Starring: Ray Winstone, Plan B, Hayley Atwell, Steven Mackintosh, Paul Anderson Alan Ford, Damian Lewis

 

Plot: A hardened detective in the Flying Squad of London’s Metropolitan police. Based on the ’70s UK TV show.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gritty Crime Thriller

 

Story: The Sweeney starts as we see just how efficient DI Jack Regan (Winstone) and his team known as the Flying Squad taking down the criminals in any way they know how. Along with his team including rookie George Carter (Plan B) and the woman he is having a fling with DC Nancy Lewis (Atwell).

After a group of criminals that leave one woman dead which leads to the Sweeney needing to get to the bottom of this crime by any means necessary, which will be the toughest case of Regan career with his boss DCI Haskins (Lewis) on his back.

 

Thoughts on The Sweeney

 

Characters/PerformanceDI Jack Regan is a nonsense detective who always gets his man no matter how much he is risking making this happen while also balancing an affair with a young colleague. Carter is the youngest member of the unit and one that is destine to rise through the forces if he doesn’t follow in the footsteps of Regan. Nancy is the younger officers that is married but involved in an affair with Regan, she is a good cop and loyal to the unit.

Winstone does suit this role with just how you could imagine the man fighting crime. Plan B is fine without excelling because you can tell he is not the fully trained actor with Hayley Atwell doing a good job.

StoryThe crime story is what you would have come to understand because it is just another one of these stories where rough cop who pushes the boundaries slightly too much faces his toughest crime to solve. It does have twists along the way but in the end, does have a very British street feeling about it all.

Action/CrimeThe action is all fine with a basic car chase down a country road and some wild shoot outs around London with the crime side of the story focusing on the idea this could be the toughest case Regan has faced.

SettingsLondon makes for a great setting because it shows how tight knit the crime groups are as well as how difficult it could be o get to the truth for the cops.

Final ThoughtsThis is a gritty crime thriller that could be great but I feel the audience won’t quite enjoy it to the levels expected.

 

Overall: Does everything I needs to for the small target audience.

Rating