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I taped this movie on the USA Network at three o'clock in the morning,
watched it some time afterward, and I was blown away by this film.
Former gangster Carlo Bartolucci aka Charlie Barrett (Christopher
Walken in one of his best roles ever) attends a bistro where he finds
that a group of swaggering young men, consisting of Max (Sean Patrick
Flanery), Avery (Henry Thomas), Brett (Jay Mohr), T.K. (Jeremy Sisto),
and Ira (Johnny Galecki), have taken over his usual booth. Charmed by
the guys, Charlie takes them for a ride, only for them to knock him out
with some chloroform while going down the Queens tunnel in a hilarious
sequence. Charlie regains consciousness inside of Ira's mansion taped
to a chair with one of his fingers missing, having been cut off to
compensate for Avery's kidnapped sister's missing limb. The guys keep
Charlie prisoner in the mansion, but soon, Charlie starts to play head
games with them, and it soon becomes obvious that there is a traitor in
This darkly humorous crime thriller can be described in the most simple terms as "The Breakfast Club" meets "The Godfather" or something like that, even though I myself never saw "The Godfather." Walken is increasingly laughter-provoking, suave, and creepy all at the same time as he delivers witticism after witticism despite his usual situation. Four of the lead males (Henry Thomas, Jay Mohr, Sean Patrick Flanery, and Jeremy Sisto) all portray swaggering rich boys, while Johnny Galecki (David from TV's "Roseanne") is screamingly funny as the nitpicking nerd of the bunch and Denis Leary is his usual laid-back self as slick and wisecracking gangster Lono (what a funny name!).
I said it once and I'll say it again -- "Suicide Kings" is a darkly comical film, but it is highly recommended (for those with kids) that you watch this either late at night or while the kids are away.
I give "Suicide Kings" a 10 out of 10 on a scale of 1-10 in my humble opinion.
It's hard to name a genre for Suicide Kings, so I put it in my beloved category of "twisted thriller". I compare it with movies like Reservoir Dogs, The Usual Suspects, U-Turn, Kalifornia, Wild Things, True Romance and A Simple Plan. Like all of the above, SK was violent, bloody and full of surprising twists. To add to its shadowy charm, it had a psychotic sense of humor. But the most amazing thing about this movie is Christopher Walken's subtly venomous performance, which complements the sharp, individualized performances of the younger cast members. Walken plays Charlie Barrett, a man who is unwittingly "recruited" to help five college-aged rich kids rescue one of their sisters, who has been kidnapped for a $2 million ransom. The five kids: nervous Avery (Henry Thomas), the one whose sis Elise (Laura Harris) is endangered; handsome Max (Sean Patrick Flanery), who is Elise's sweetheart; Brett (Jay Mohr), the one with a hell of an anger problem; aspiring doctor TK (Jeremy Sisto); and ultra-neurotic Ira (Johnny Galecki) whose house becomes a hideout for the kids after they kidnap Barrett. Brett concocts the plan. Max drugs him, TK severs one of his digits, and Charlie is duct-taped to a fancy office chair, hooked up to an IV which is pumping more drugs into him. Meantime, Avery broods nervously over his missing sis and Ira squeals endlessly about the blood TK is getting all over the nice varnished floor. While the boys bicker at each other about how to continue their insanely flawed caper, Barrett regards this group of inexperienced whipper-snappers with a myriad mix of sympathy, amusement and anger. But anger from a man like Charlie Barrett is not to be taken lightly, it is to be feared. Charlie is a man who with one spoken word, could have these five kids murdered and their bodies hidden where no one will ever find them. You know that from the minute you meet him, but the scariest thing about Charlie is his quiet mannerism. This serpent is indeed subtil. He does not shout, he gently whispers hints of warning to the kids that they've made a bad mistake messing with him. He taps into these kids early on, uncovering their dirty little family secrets and their own individual not-so-secret addictions, to drink, to drugs, to gambling. And he uses devices, honed from years of experience in a world these kids know nothing about, to his advantage. He may be physically incapacitated, he may be outnumbered, but he knows the kids are still no match for him. There's no arrogance in this knowledge, and it is truly creepy. It's a battle of wits that kept me on the edge of my seat, gave me the most delicious shivers of perverse anticipation, and it was honestly very hard to know which side to route for. I really love this movie. See it if you haven't. : )~
This movie exemplifies the praise a movie gets by virtue of the
plethora of outstanding acting talent it possesses!! Christopher Walken
could have coasted on his credentials in the elitist Hollywood venue
after his performance in "Deer Hunter" but, he decided not do that!! He
combines psychotic reasoning with deliberate hostility, you the movie
viewer may take your pick as to what you prefer!! Either way, he is
sensational in every movie he stars in !!! Denis Leary (The former Cop)
always seems to make his point very clearly with a gun and/or a lethal
object!! Jay Mohr has a flippant demeanor towards his roles no matter
how serious these roles are!! This acting mode of his makes him very
effective!! He is wonderful at engaging in degrading condescension and
intellectual obviation of anyone he perceives as his
adversary!!!Anything that has to be accomplished in a role, Jay Mohr
seems to carry it off and flawlessly!! The list of all other actors in
this movie merely epitomizes the superb acting talent in "Suicide
Kings"..Very few films exude such acting ability!!
The movie starts out with an amateurishly orchestrated kidnapping attempt which is used as a defense strategy to abort another kidnapping!! It is a proverbial case of the adolescent's version of an eye for an eye!! This convoluted logic serves as a dementedly lingering discontentment for a bunch of educated pipsqueaks!! The bottom line on this whole charade is that there is little or no organization for the expedition of this particular kidnapping!! Mutilation of Christopher Walken's finger serve as a cry for attention!! It really does not work, of course, this is the movies, not real life!! The intensity of emotions in this film makes everything cohesive in terms of what depraved mixes of irrationality prevail in these affluent derelict's lives!!
I thought the acting was fantastic in this film, and it was a simple plot outline of age and experience winning out over precocious recreation with criminal chicanery!! Everything was an argument..there were more issues out there besides a kidnapping!!! Criminal doubts and insecurities are always depicted in movies like these, just not so succinctly!! This movie illustrates how ideological disagreement with a prevailing situation does not sufficiently justify engaging in a felony!! I thought this film was excellent!!!
Kidnap films have been made for decades. (Check out Ransom for a typical
example.) In a way Suicide Kings starts out like a low budget "B" movie of
the 40's and 50's. The beginning is obvious and a bit overly dramatic. But
this is when Suicide Kings began to surprise me.
Christopher Walken in an amazing performance shows that an actor can be the center of a film while sitting down for almost an hour. Also, this movie pulls no punches in showing organized crime/mob violence. Yet, the vigilante college kidnapers are shown in such a harsh manner that after a while you begin to root for the mobsters over the ivy league losers. It's an amazing turn around.
On top of this there is some wicked humor in the film not unlike Goodfellas. Denis Leary as he was in the Ref is great as the abusive and befuddled thug.
What was very satisfying was that the ending was just right. Finally a movie that does not have a ridiculous happy ending tacked on to it. Suicide Kings is brutal in its logic but the story makes sense from start to finish. Despite its low budget and its routine beginning, this is a very good film.
I was surprised with Suicide Kings. In the same spirit as Something Wild
and The Usual Suspects, this movie is not about the end, but getting you
there. The film is well told, keeping you on the edge wanting to know
"who's on the inside". Unlike some movies where the wrap up at the end
seems too improbable, this one works and works well.
I was unsure of what the movie would be like and so my expectations were low. At the end I had done an 180 degree turn. I was impressed. I look forward to watching this again and picking up on all the clues as to who was doing what and seeing the small details from the start.
I can't believe I hadn't heard of this movie before last night, although I do live in a fairly cinematically sheltered environment. I was walking through Blockbuster when I see out of the corner of my eye a picture of Chris Walken taped to a chair in front of Dennis Leary and Jay Mohr. I pick up the box, I read the back, I rent the movie. When I got home and watched it, I was, to say the very least, impressed. Left with only one question regarding Dennis Leary's character's heritage (which isn't all that important), I really liked this movie. I wouldn't call it a film for the ages, but I surely would disregard it as decent entertainment either. I would call it a really good movie. Chris Walken is fantastic and the dialouge is great. Come to find out this is Peter O'Fallon's first film, and that he has only done one other film since (he's done a bunch of television), I'm surprized and impressed.
First, I like Mafia movies. Second, I like comedy. I find this movie to be more of the latter. And I enjoy it. I found Johnny Galecki to play the most interesting and funniest character in this movie. It's a good movie overall, enjoyable, and yes, I do own it. In my massive collection of 10 DVD's, this is one of them. I'm no film buff, but it has its good parts and it has its bad parts. I won't over-analyze it, but I liked the plot twists... all of them.. didn't like the overuse of profanity... loved the comedy parts. It has some awkward dialog and what sounds like dubbing, but it is entertaining, and I watch it on a regular basis. Give it a shot! I rated it 7 / 10
When the sister of one young man is kidnapped while she is out on a date
with another young man, the group of friends kidnap an ex-mobster to make
use of his contacts and his money to help get her back in one piece.
However the longer they keep Bartolucci the closer his right hand man Veccio
gets to finding them and the more the friends realise that the kidnapping
plot may be more complex than first thought.
Attracted to this film by the presence of Walken playing the role he does best some sort of mobster I wasn't really sure what to expect. The overly stylised opening credits and the initially confusing mix of flashbacks within flashbacks to set the story were quite distracting however soon settled down into a more straightforward plot. This plot holds the interest due to the confined situation in which most of the action occurs and is quite involving. The first few twists are well handled but it starts to put the film into a spin from which it doesn't recover, as more twists mount up and become increasingly alienating and contrived. At the end I didn't feel any involvement or surprise by the twists whereas I had sat up and paid attention to the first few.
The film is quite comic at places and this makes it feel like a more enjoyable piece than it would have if it had just been played straight. However this comic touch doesn't take away from the fact that the film is really a thriller of sorts. The cast is roundly good, without anyone of the main group really stealing the show. Walken does his role in his sleep but is still effective his transformation as he gains confidence during the film is well put across. The young group of actors playing the friends are all pretty good although the `where have I seen him before factor' was a little distracting (6 Feet Under, Roseanne etc). However it is the (wisely expanded) character played by Leary that really is the one that I kept looking forward to seeing. His character almost feels like he is in a movie of his own which is a distraction, but means his scenes are all very enjoyable. His dialogue is knowingly cool and his character is comically overblown to good effect. The film truly benefits from having him in the role.
Overall this film wants to be cooler and better than it really is, the end result of which is a spiral of twists which become increasingly uncontrolled and uninvolving. It is enjoyable enough to watch and the use of one main set helps to add to the tension of the story, however once the twists come they don't stop which sadly leads to them becoming increasingly less effective. Worth a watch but subject to the law of diminishing returns in terms of plotting.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A sort of frat boy and his girl friend get lost in uptown New York and
the girl is kidnapped. Two million dollars in ransom is demanded. Her
finger arrives in the mail. (I think this is what happens anyway. I
missed a few critical minutes at the beginning.) The frat boy organizes
a handful of his upper-middle-class friends and they manage to kidnap a
notorious capo, Christopher Walken, who is either behind the kidnapping
or knows who is, and so will help them retrieve the rest of her body,
minus the finger. They chloroform him and take him to an empty mansion
on Long Island where, to convince him they are hard-hearted and
determined, instead of the inexperienced nudniks they are, they remove
his finger while he's unconscious.
Walken wakes up in this large house belonging to one of the preppies and the rest of the film is taken up with his trying to get the girl back from the wheelchair he is duct-taped into.
Doesn't sound too promising. It's mostly shot on one set, like a filmed play. But three things lift this effort above the level I'd expected.
One is the working out of the plot, which has several unexpected pirouettes. The kidnapping is pegged by the mob almost immediately as "an inside job," which is about as far as attorney-client privilege will allow me to go.
The second is the dialog, which has innumerable sparkles in it -- and that's critical because it's a talky movie. Some lines are very amusing. Some are dead serious. Here's one of the funnier ones. Walken is taped into his chair and has to pee. So how will it be managed? Do they free his hands, something they're understandable loathe to do, or does somebody unzip Walken and make sure he evacuates his bladder in a tidy manner? ("Aim him good!", cries the chubby little kid whose parents own the mansion.) While this mission is being discussed, Walken contributes his point of view. "If somebody is going to be holding hands with my ****, can I at least get a drink first? I'm not asking for dinner and dancing. I'm not asking for a commitment." The third is the acting. Man, do these guys put it across. Especially notable are Dennis Leary as Walken's chief agent, and Walken himself. Neither steps wrong. Christopher Walken is a marvelous actor. He's confined to a chair. He's bled half to death. He's strung out behind some analgesics and booze. And his set expression is one that artfully blends boredom with mild interest in the proceedings. At times he speaks like the soul of reason amidst these adolescent collisions of will. The director, Peter O'Fallon, gives us multiple reaction shots of Walker placidly watching the arguments and barbs being thrown back and forth by his captors, and they're funny as hell.
But don't be misled. It's not ALL talk. There's action too for the aficionados. Several shootings take place and while none of them results in a bath tub full of gore and splattered brains, none is done for laughs either.
It's well written, nicely directed, and the cast is fine.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tarantino is greatly overrated to my mind. This film isn't great, but it is better than `Dogs.' Tarantino's innovation was to add a more self-aware cinematic quotation of prior films. The humor over violence is just an instance of that new distance with the viewer. Seemed novel at the time, but since so many people are doing this better, now it seems rather trivial.
`Kings' is a very simple thing, done well. The ensemble works. The camerawork and editing isn't very adventuresome, but does do some impressive continuous shots. I think it is worth seeing for the framing.
The plot twists the requisite number of times in the last 15 minutes. But it is the simplest and cheapest kind of twist: the doublecross. It is a shame that they cut the women so severely. I think more development on that side would have made this seem less derivative.
Is it art? No. Neither is `Dogs.'
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