The Keeping Room (2014)

Director: Daniel Barber

Writer: Julia Hart (Screenplay)

Starring: Brit Marling, Hailee Steinfeld, Muna Otaru, Sam Worthington, Kyle Soller, Ned Dennehy

 

Plot: Left without men in the dying days of the American Civil War, three women must fight to defend their home and themselves from two rogue soldiers who have broken off from the fast-approaching Union Army.


Tagline – Some things are worth fighting for

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow & Effective

 

Story: The Keeping Room starts as during the civil war, Augusta (Marling), Louise (Steinfeld) and their slave Mad (Otaru) must work together to look after their family home together, while the men are out at war, they are getting by with Louise wanting to do more than just work around the house.

The women soon become targets for the rogue soldiers Moses (Worthington) and Henry (Soller), without the normal support they must defend their home before the war comes to them.

 

Thoughts on The Keeping Room

 

Characters – Augusta is the lady of the house, keeping Louise in line, while making it fair for everyone under the roof, no matter what their status is. She will be the one that will go for help and risk her life to protect the rest. Louise is the younger of the two women, she doesn’t like being forced into work believing the slave should do it all, her failure to follow instructions only makes it difficult for Augusta. Mad is the slave that has been welcomed as part of the family, joining in the defence of the home too. Moses is one of the soldiers that is leaving a path of destruction as they run away from the war. He targets the women’s home and the women to make his own for the time being.

PerformancesBrit Marling is good in the leading role, we see strong performances from the three women if we are being honest, Hailee Steinfeld continues to show her ability, where as unknown Muna Otaru should be a name we pay more attention too. Sam Worthington does a fine job in the villainous role where we see him deliver lines in a disturbing manner.

StoryThe story follows three women that must put their classes a side during the American Civil War to protect their home from rogue soldiers that only want to do unthinkable things to them. We get to see how the women do have their own problems to deal without the soldier adding to them, the unsure feeling about whether they will have the men in their lives returning to them. Once the soldiers arrive it does become a survival story which is good, it shows how difficult and risky it would be for either side just to attack they must focus on defending. The pacing of the story seems solid with giving away too much too early before leading to the night of the event.

WesternThe film does use the western themes in the elements of the war time western not the wild west style it works well enough with the rogue soldiers trying to take a home.

SettingsThe film uses the lone settings of the house in the middle of nowhere and the paths leading to it, to show us how isolated people would become during the war time.


Scene of the Movie –
The night of the event.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain parts feel slow though.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow-moving western that shows the effects of the civil war on the women left behind that could face their own uncertain future as the men out at war. It has strong performances and a dark feeling about what could happen next.

 

Overall: darkly depressive look at the American Civil War.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Crime – K – Kidnapping Freddy Heineken (2015)

Director: Daniel Alfredson

Writer: William Brookfield (Screenplay) Peter R de Vries (Book)

Starring: Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington, Ryan Kwanten, Anthony Hopkins, Mark van Eeuwen

 

Plot: The inside story of the planning, execution, rousing aftermath and ultimate downfall of the kidnappers of beer tycoon Alfred “Freddy” Heineken, which resulted in the largest ransom ever paid for an individual.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Action Crime

 

Story: Kidnapping Freddy Heineken starts as we follow our five criminals Cor Van Hout (Sturgess), Willem (Worthington), Cat (Kwanten), Spikes (Eeuwen) and Brakes (Cocquerel) who have always been looking for a way to make money quickly instead of getting real jobs in Holland. Their latest plan is to kidnap beer tycoon Freddy Heineken (Hopkins) and collecting the ransom.

With the plan in place the kidnapping goes well the wait for the ransom is what takes the time and tests the strength of the kidnappers over the victims as we follow what could be the undoing of the men.

 

Thoughts on Kidnapping Freddy Heineken

 

Characters – Cor Van Hout is the leader of the gang, he brings his men together to complete the jobs with some failing and others not, he comes up with the latest job while his personal life is about to hit the highs a father could experience. Willem is the hot head of the group who will go past the marks to make the job get done and he could become the biggest problem involved. Freddy Heineken is the beer tycoon that has become the target of this men and he stays extremely calm through his ordeal trying to friend his kidnappers too.

PerformanceJim Sturgess is strong in the leading role of this film throughout feeling like the rest would listen to his every word. Sam Worthington is good in the loose cannon role too. Anthony Hopkins is as always the star of the show here as you want to see all of his scenes.

StoryThe story is based on the true story of what happened when a group of criminals kidnap the tycoon and how they were not completely sure things would work and how things could go wrong. This is good because it doesn’t go down a slick as the best heist movies but is also calm enough to feel like it is based on real people human errors through the heist.

Action/CrimeThere are a couple of good car chases through the film which do make up the action side of things while the whole story is about the crime being committed.

SettingsThe streets involved in Amsterdam show us how tight the car chases can be and escape routes by more than just road, we do feel like this is authentic with how everything unfolds during the crime.

Scene of the Movie – Freddy’s orders.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The clear choice for a problem is having some Dutch cast members but the leads are not.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the films that didn’t get much talk when it came out but I don’t understand why, it is an enjoyable and one film that is worth watching for all the heist fans out there.

 

Overall: Good heist film.

Rating

 

 

The Titan (2018)

Director: Lennart Ruff

Writer: Max Hurwitz (Screenplay) Arash Amel (Story)

Starring: Sam Worthington, Tayor Schilling, Tom Wilkinson, Agyness Deyn, Nathalie Emmanuel, Noah Jupe, Corey Johnson

 

Plot: A military family takes part in a ground-breaking experiment of genetic evolution and space exploration.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Pilot for a Show?

 

Story: The Titan starts as we learn that the world is facing extinction, Professor Martin Collingwood (Wilkinson) is conducting experiments to select a candidate to go through a genetic evolution that would make their body ready to land and survive on Saturn’s moon Titan.

LT Rick Janssen (Worthington) moves his family wife Dr Abi Janssen (Schilling) and son Lucas (Jupe) to the training camp as one of the candidates and easily one of the most promising. When the candidates start showing side effects, Abi starts investigating just what the experiments are about.

 

Thoughts on The Titan

 

Characters – LT Rick Janssen is one of the candidates selected because an unbelievable survival story, he quickly becomes the number candidate with his ability to adapt to change better than any of the others selected, though the change is hard on him and his family. Dr Abi Janssen is the wife of Rick, she isn’t involved in the experiment though does pick up on the idea that something doesn’t seem right with what is being done to her husband. Professor Martin Collingwood is the man running the experiment, he knows and believes this could be the last hope for humanity

PerformancesSam Worthington in the leading role is solid enough in the leading role without doing too much with his role, this is the same as Taylor Schilling who for the first half of the film she doesn’t do too much, but quickly becomes the standout of the second half. Tom Wilkinson in his scientist role is one he could do in his sleep.

StoryThe story here shows us how the end of the world is coming and we follow an experiment which is designed to hopefully offer humanity a new hope. Now this story is misleading because we are sold on the idea of the evolving to surviving on Titan, rather than just watching the almost training process for the change. This story will leave people wanting more and less because we are promised so much either from the race against time side of the film or the future we are searching for, with neither getting the focus needed. There is also a moment where the experiment gets challenged on ethics only to fall short and never follow through. This story has too many missed opportunities for a truly challenging sci-fi story.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi side of the film shows us just how the scientist are planning to find a new home for the human race when the world needs to become saved. This is solid enough idea, though never uses them enough.

SettingsThe film takes us to a remote base for the experiment, it has nothing that makes it stand out or make it memorable.

Special EffectsThe effects are solid enough for the most part, we do to see moments of change even though it isn’t anything that isn’t that much standing out here.


Scene of the Movie –
The underwater moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of time in space.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that feels like a pilot to a TV show, it has all the potential to be fantastic, only to not including the more fascinating parts of the ideas.

 

Overall: Fails to capture the potential.

Rating

 

 

Jessica Chastain Weekend – The Debt (2010)

Director: John Madden

Writer: Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, Peter Straughan (Screenplay) Assaf Bernstein, Ido Rosenblum (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Ciaran Hinds, Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, Sam Worthington

 

Plot: In 1965, three Mossad agents cross into East Berlin to apprehend a notorious Nazi war criminal. Thirty years later, the secrets the agents share come back to haunt them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Thriller

 

Story: The Debt starts in 1997 where Rachel Singer (Mirren), David Peretz (Hings) and Stephan Gold (Wilkinson) are about to have their life story about their time in the intelligence agency thirty years early helped take down a Nazi war criminal, but this event brings us David’s suicide.

We flashback to thirty years earlier where the younger version of the characters Rachel (Chastain), Stephan (Csokas) and David (Worthington) learn how they first meet and start to work together to take down the war criminal, but why is that effecting their lives in the modern day, well only time will tell.

 

Thoughts on The Debt

 

Characters – First we will look at the present-day versions of the characters, Rachel is now a grandmother and proud reason for her daughter’s book, Stephan is wheelchair bound that still on the job while David isn’t sure whether to trust Stephan anymore killing himself over just meeting with him.

In the past, we have junior agent Rachel that must first join her partners in the mission but learn about how the field works when it comes to taking on a war criminal. Stephan is the leader of the group, he pulls the strings in the mission as well as warning Rachel of any mistakes she makes. David is the quiet member of the group, he has taken things to a personal level and isn’t willing to let anyone into his life.

PerformanceWe have six great actors here, we have the two different generations which show us just how talented the newer generation are with Chastain, Huntington and Csokas compared to Mirren, Wilkinson and Hinds, they all give great performances throughout.

StoryThe story mixes the two times about the story, first we learn what is on the record about what happened in the 1960’s story, but then we learn the truth about the what happened. When you look at any secret mission going on we get to see how secretive it needed to be when being told about what really happened. We also see how things could be made to be true to cover up a mistake and how they will need to be fixed if things come to light.

ThrillerThis does keep us on the edge of our seat as we wait to see what happened to make this a difficult situation for the elder characters.

SettingsWe have the different times for each setting which shows us the different worlds our characters faced the same problem.

Scene of the Movie – The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The love triangle does feel forced.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good thriller that does keep us on edge through the film, we are left to guess just where it will all go and what was the truth from the past.

 

Overall: Good intense thriller but lacking the final punch

Rating

 

 

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

hacksawDirector: Mel Gibson

Writer: Robert Schenkkan, Andrew Knight (Screenplay)

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Hugo Weaving, Teresa Palmer, Vince Vaughn

 

Plot: WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Absolutely Amazing

 

Story: Hacksaw Ridge starts as we meet a young Desmond Doss who along with his brother Hal must deal with their abusive father Tom (Weaving), once Desmond reaches his early twenties Desmond finds his calling in life to become a doctor after saving a local man’s life, even though he hasn’t the education to do so.

Meeting beautiful nurse Dorothy Schutte (Palmer) he falls in love but like his brother is drawn to support his country in World War II. Desmond wants to be a field medic refusing to carry a weapon which Sgt Howell (Vaughn) and Captain Glover (Worthington) use to turn the company against him with Smitty Ryker (Bracey) leading the ribbing.

With everyone against Desmond he must fight for his right to go to war to save the soldier’s lives without using a firearm through court before he joins the forces in Japan. What follows is the incredible story of Desmond Dobbs as he risks his own life to save as many soldiers as he can during the battle for Hacksaw Ridge.

 

Thoughts on Hacksaw Ridge

 

StoryThe story we are shown is of one man’s act of heroism during the Battle for Hacksaw Ridge, we do get to see how hard Desmond had to fight to get the chance to even serve his country against all the odds. The film is split into two stories with the first being about being able to go to war and the second is for battle. You hardly notice the time pass through this film either.

History/WarThe film gives us a look into one of the many brutal battles through World War II this one on Hacksaw Ridge as we follow the hero of the battle who saved countless lives. The war side of this story is realistic throughout showing the full brutality of the events.

Characters/PerformancesDesmond Doss is one of the most heroic characters we have seen in any film and the fact he was a real hero makes this man more than just any hero. With most of the other characters all being the expected levels for a war movie. The performances are brilliant with Andrew Garfield giving a performance that will re-define his career. I think we get brilliant performance from both Sam Worthington and Vince Vaughn showing they both have all the ability given the right direction and I finally think Luke Bracey gives a great supporting performance as another member of the unit.

SettingsThe settings are used to show how brutal the battle was, everything is put together to make this feel like one of the most realistic war movies you will ever see.

Special EffectsWhen you look at the effects used to re-create this battle you are left to see just how difficult the battle was and just how brutal the combat would have been for the soldiers.

Final ThoughtsThis is by far the great war film I have seen in my life when it comes to the battle side of the film.

 

Overall: Breath-takingly amazing that cannot stop grabbing your attention.

Ratingcard