The Spy (2019) Movie Review

Director: Jens Jonsson

Writer: Harald Rosenlow-Eeg, Jan Trygve Royneland (Screenplay)

Starring: Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Rolf Lassgard, Damien Chapelle, Alexander Scheer, Erik Hivju, Edvin Endre

Plot: Sonja Wigert is a diva and star in Stockholm when WW2 breaks out, rapidly getting attention from the Nazi officer Josef Terboven. She’s then recruited by Swedish intelligence as a spy, but Terboven makes her spy on the Swedes.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Spy Thriller 101

Story: The Spy starts as we see entertainer Sonja Wigert (Berdal) wow the crowds in Sweden, she has drawn the attention of new Nazi leader of the country Josef Terboven (Scheer). As it becomes clear the Andor Gellert (Chapelle) would like to keep Sonja around, the Swedish intelligence turn to her to start spying on him, giving them crucial information during the war.

As Sonja gets closer to Josef, she meets Hungarian officer Andor, she starts to find herself being torn between finding the secrets, giving away secret or just being with a man that she loves.

Thoughts on The Spy

Characters – Sonja Wigert is a star of the stage, a diva that turned heads across Scandinavia, performing in Sweden she grabs the attention on a Nazi leader and is drawn into getting close to him in an attempt to get information for the intelligence in Sweden, she is left in the middle of wanting to help the people or the feelings she is having for a man that is considered the enemy. Andor Gellert is the Nazi solider placed into a position of power in Sweden, he falls for Sonja, proving to her that not every Nazi is as evil as the stories have been made out. We od have the Swedish handler, trying to keep Sonja on the right path when it comes to learning the truth and collecting information.

PerformancesIngrid Bolso Berdal is great in the leading role, she brings the presence to the stage, the insecurity off the stage and what it means to show falling in love. Damien Chapelle is strong too, which is what we will see from the whole cast in this film.

StoryThe story here follows a star and diva that is drawn into the world of espionage during World War II as she is forced to spy on the Nazis, while falling in love with her mark and being left in a position of not knowing which side to help out the most. When it comes to seeing what people have achieved in history, this will give another glimpse into the life on one of those people. The idea we watch Sonja getting caught up in the middle of what she wants to do or what she is expected to do, does come through strongly through the film.

Biopic/WarThe biopic side of the film shows what Sonja did during the war, it shows what she was forced into, risked and changed over the time.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the different environments that Sonja finds herself in, with it in the entertainment world and the shady underworld.

Scene of the Movie – The time away.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t seem to see many secrets exchanged.

Final ThoughtsThis is a romantic thriller that shows how somebody can be drawn into the world without knowing where to stand in the middle of the war.

Overall: Wartime thriller 101

Signature Entertainment release The Spy on DVD and Digital HD 29th June

Da 5 Bloods (2020) Movie Review

Director: Spike Lee

Writer: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee (Screenplay)

Starring: Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Melanie Thierry, Paul Walter Hauser

Plot: Four African-American vets battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their fallen Squad Leader and the gold fortune he helped them hide.

Runtime: 2 Hours 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Excellent

Story: Da 5 Bloods starts as four veterans Paul (Lindo), Otis (Peters), Eddie (Lewis) and Melvin (Whitlock Jr) return to Vietnam to locate the remains of one of their former squad leader Norman (Boseman) who died during the war and the gold fortune they wanted to claim for themselves.

With the four setting out their plan, they must first negotiate with Desroche (Reno) to sell the gold, before David’s estranged son David (Majors) turns up and needs to be put back in his place before the journey.

Thoughts on Da 5 Bloods

Characters – Paul is the leader of the group of friends, he has suffered the most after the war, with him being the closest to the fallen brother, he wants to complete the mission and honour his old friend, even if his estranged son tries to get in the way. David is the estranged son that ends up joining the men in Vietnam, he wants to make sure his dad is ok on the journey, while it also gives him a chance to get closer and have his own adventure in life. Otis has memories off the battlefield in Vietnam, a lost love, a secret he never knew about, the one who adds the connections for the cashing in process for the men. Eddie and Melvin complete the group on the mission, they complete the banter between the men, showing how important their friendship truly is between them all.

PerformancesDelroy Lindo is outstanding in the leading role, coming back to his best like we haven’t seen before. Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis and Isiah Whitlock Jr complete the main cast, each shining the in the supporting roles in the film, creating a brotherhood between the men.

StoryThe story here follows four former Vietnam war soldiers that head back years later to honour a fallen soldier and find the treasure they left behind. The story is filled with the flashbacks between the time in the war and modern day, showing how the unity between the men is still strong all these years later. We do get news clips to fill in the information that you might not understand from only learning basic history towards the Vietnam war. The tone of the story is very interesting too, because we start with the first 30 odd minutes, with the idea this could be a reunion with a serious side, that might have laughs along the way. This does drastically change when we see the affects the war had on Paul and the journey side of things, with the story continue to shift in tone through the film, which is a delight to see, with the moments of joy and intense moments both shining through.

WarThe film uses the war film to show how soldiers would have constantly been affected by the horrors they experienced long after leaving and how both sides will still be living in the haunted memories of people they lost in the war.

SettingsThe film does use the setting exceptional well too, with the opening in the big city where everything has moved on since the war, before returning to the jungle to see how this environment will continue to change Paul, after his previous experiences in the war.

Scene of the Movie – Reflection.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is longer than it needs to be.

Final Thoughts This is a performance heavy movie, that does show us the unity of brotherhood from war in a way that only Spike Lee can, showing a new light on the soldiers that would have been forgotten in time.

Overall: Best Performances of the year.

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – P – Insyriated (2017) Movie Review

This is under P because of the director Philippe Van Leeuw

Director: Philippe Van Leeuw

Writer: Philippe Van Leeuw (Screenplay)

Starring: Hiam Abbass, Diamand Bou Abboud, Juliette Navis, Mohsen Abbas, Moustapha Al Kar, Alissar Kaghadou

Plot: A mother attempts to keep her family safe as war rages and a sniper lies in wait outside her home. This nerve-wracking study of life in Damascus won an Audience Award at Berlinale.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Intense Drama

Story: Insyriated starts as we meet Oum Yazan (Abbass) who is living with her family in a warzone, the streets are kept empty because of a ruthless sniper, with her children, Delhani (Navis) Yara (Kaghadou), Aliya (Halabi), they are joined by a neighbour Halima (Abboud) and grandpa.

The group keep themselves quiet and safe during any of the attacks being felt on the streets, showing they will do whatever is necessary to make sure they stay in the home and safe from all the dangers of war.

Thoughts on Insyriated

Characters – Oum Yazan is the mother and daughter, home owner that doesn’t want to see her own family killed with the war outside their door, she wants to keep them all safe with strict rules that can make this happen, she sees the horrors outside the door and must turn away from helping anyone else. Halima has just had a baby, with her husband out for resources, find himself shot, only for Halima not to know this, she is planning on leaving once he returns, only here she is trapped for the horrendous ordeal of unwanted visitors. Delhani is one of the elder children, she witnesses the shot and does help around the house more than the rest of the children. We do have the rest of the family that work and need protecting from the outside world.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances Hiam Abbass and Diamand Bou Abboud are the stars of the show, going through the most intense scenes, dealing with the biggest traumas of war, while needing to remain strong for the rest of the family.

StoryThe story here shows a family living in the middle of a war-torn city that haven’t left because it is their home, we see how they must look to survive the terrors outside their door. The story shows how much fear can be held within one family, how they have little option but to stay together through the ordeals. We see how they get through bombing nights, needing to hide out from visitors all in an attempt to survive the world they have become trapped in. we are kept on the edge of our seats as we like family members know the fate of Halima’s husband, as she waits for his return and we are stuck waiting to see if they family can make it through the horrors of war.

War The war side of this film shows us just how dangerous living in the middle of a warzone would be, how risky it would be to stay and how people will do anything to stay safe.

SettingsThe film keeps us in one single apartment, it shows how close the family are, how they must look to be together through the horror filled night battles, showing how trapped they have become.

Scene of the Movie – Hardest scene it the visitors, the scene you will remember the most for the pure shock in it.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing.

Final Thoughts This is a powerful look at how war does affect everyone trapped in the middle, no matter the age and how it is always going to be hard to walk away from their home.

Overall: Powerful.

Enemy Lines (2020) Movie Review

Director: Anders Banke

Writer: Michael Wright (Screenplay) Tom George (Story)

Starring: Ed Westwick, John Hannah, Corey Johnson, Tom Wisdom, Pawel Delag, Ekaterina Vladimirova

Plot: In the frozen, war torn landscape of occupied Poland during World War II, a crack team of allied commandos are sent on a deadly mission behind enemy lines to extract a rocket scientist from the hands of the Nazis.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: War 101

Story: Enemy Lines starts when American General McCloud (Johnson) turns to British Colonel Preston (Hannah) to use his men to help Major Kaminski (Westwick) looks to extract a rocket scientist Dr Fabien (Delag) from Poland under the guard of the Germans, to bring back to the American’s.

Once the team has Fabien, the next challenge is getting home, with Kaminski needing to use his connections in Poland to elude the Germans that are now hunting down the people that have their scientist.

Thoughts on Enemy Lines

Characters – Kaminski is the American Major that is leading the mission, his connection to Poland is key to the mission with him being fluent in Polish and knows how important this mission will be, he shows the leadership, while making the tough decisions along the way. Colonel Preston is the British Colonel that must select a unit to support Kaminski, he picks his best and gives them everything they can to achieve the mission working with the General. General McCloud arranges the mission, he watches over the potential outcome with Preston, with them always planning their ideas to survive the situation. We do get to meet the unit, the resistance soldiers that are helping in the extraction, as well as the rocket scientist that is being extracted, who has become conflicted with the potential weapon he could create.

PerformancesEd Westwick in the leading role is the strongest part of the mission, with John Hannah and Corey Johnson doing everything right from the war room scenes. Elsewhere we don’t have the strongest acting, but most of the characters are meant to just be part of a military unit.

StoryThe story here follows a mission which sees British and American soldiers going behind enemy lines in Poland to extract a scientist who could help swing the victory of war and we follow the mission unfolding. This story does show the mission happening, it is a behind enemy lines mission, only it doesn’t feel as intense as it could do, we get to see how both sides are looking to capture the scientist. The story plays out like most stories in this genre, where we see how what could be a routine mission, does require something else to happen to make it a success, which should give the leader of the mission a dilemma about what to do if a problem arises.

WarThe film is set in World War II, with the mission being targeted in Poland, the war sequences being routine military positions with bullets flying.

SettingsThe settings are used for military positioning for the battles trying to get their hands on the scientist.

Scene of the Movie – The extraction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough John Hannah.

Final Thoughts This is a war movie that doesn’t become as intense as the mission implies, though it does like to look at the bigger decision of what the scientist could bring to the war.

Overall: Routine War Film.

Signature Entertainment presents Enemy Lines on DVD & Digital HD from May 4th

Wings (1927) Movie Review

Director: William A Wellman

Writer: Hope Loring, Louis D Lighton (Screenplay) John Monk Saunders (Story)

Starring: Clara Bow, Charles Rogers, Richard Arlen, Jobyna Ralston, El Brendel, Richard Tucker, Gary Cooper

Plot: Two young men, one rich, one middle class, who are in love with the same woman, become fighter pilots in World War I.

Tagline – An Epic of the Air

Runtime: 2 Hours 24 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautiful Portray of Love & War

Story: Wings starts as two young men Jack Powell (Rogers) and David Armstrong (Arlen) both sign up to become fighter pilots in the First World War, they are from different backgrounds, with Jack working with his hands, which has seen him get the attention of Mary Preston (Bow) and David being rich, with the pair both seeking the attention of Sylvia Lewis (Ralston).

What starts out in rivalry soon becomes friendship between the two men as through their training, they learn they need to be on the same side and want the same thing from their time in the service. They are followed by Mary who has taken up a job where she delivers medical supplies to troops, all while her love for Jack continues to grow.

Thoughts on Wings

Characters – Mary Preston has worked with Jack Powell for years, they work on cars and her love for Jack is clear, she doesn’t get the attention she desires of him though, with the men at war, she uses her driving skills to deliver medical supplies, hoping to find Jack too, which sees her needing to find a way to act more lady like for the era. Jack Powell is from the working class bracket of people, he has always been great with cars and mechanics, which sees him sign up for the air force during world war 1, he will do what he can get impress the rich Sylvia to whom he loves and after years of rivalry with David, they will become friends. David Armstrong has come from a rich family, he is set to be marrying Sylvia one day if the families have their say, he sees Jack as a rival, until they fight side by side in the skies. Sylvia is the woman that both men are fighting for the attention of, they both see her as the perfect woman and will go to lengths to impress her.

PerformancesThis being a silent movie, all the work from the actors in the film comes from face expressions and movements, which they are all fantastic with, Clara Bow shows the pain of being in love with somebody who doesn’t want you, while Charles Rogers and Richard Arlen show the rivalry men can have when it comes to women.

StoryThe story here follows two men from different backgrounds, one rich one working class, that are both fighting for the same woman, who join the air force to impress, where they become friends and learn the horrors of war. This is a story that is one that shows that love can be something people will always do crazy things for, it shows how the war bought enemies together and for a movie made in 1927, showed us a strong female character willing to go into war, unlike many films for years to come. Being a silent movie, we do get the expression and action doing a lot of the storytelling around the dialogue which is interesting because it keeps away a lot of unnecessary dialogue certain war films turn too.

Romance/WarThe romance in this film shows how people will do strange things for love, you might not always see it right under your nose either, with the war being the main location that our characters all go to impress, the dog fight scenes are brilliant to watch, with the use of music making a big impact on the quality too.

SettingsThe film uses the settings you would expect to see the war fought at, while we see the ground shots, it is when we are in the sky watching the dog fights that we get to feel the peril the characters are going through.

Scene of the Movie – Any of the dog fights.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does play into stereotypes of other nationalities.

Final Thoughts This is a genius war movie that rightly deserved to win the first Oscar, it brings us a story that shows how much people would have risked for war and just how far they would go for love.

Overall: Brilliant.