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|Index||20 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Am i the only person leaving a review that has read the book that this
film is based upon ?. It was the first book by Neil Cross and i read it
around the late nineties. It has remained in my top ten ever since. The
sort of book you make a point of lending to certain friends who you
will know will appreciate it - not for all tastes. I found the book to
be highly disturbing yet a truly fantastic read, full of memorable
The film on the other hand follows the book quite closely for a while then veers away dramatically, coming back at the end.
In the film he kills the mother and child, which just did not gel with the story. The book has them almost as a shining light in Jon's world, a reminder of things that may have been and could even be. They are then killed in a tragic (aren't they always!) car accident which sends Jon off the rails even further, especially when he sees their father, his old friend, then start to fall in with the shady elements of his own existence. Then the sh*t really hits the fan.
Very disappointing for me, probably only because i hold the book in such high esteem. They were so close to getting it right and then, for some unfathomable reason, tripped over the final hurdle.
Jon (Andrew Howard) is a cold blood and very efficient assassin and
torturer with no friends, who works to his mentor and protector, the
sadistic Tattooed Man (David Calder). The murders of Jon are very clean
and sophisticated, as if they were a work of art. When Jon meets his
former school friend Andy (Andrew Thiernan) and his wife Cathy
(Geraldine O'Rawe), his world becomes divided by life (with Andy and
Cathy) and death (with Tattooed Man), and Jon becomes a conflicted man,
living between good and evil in the in-between of these realities, and
trying to redeem his soul.
"Mr. In-Between" is probably the greatest surprise of the year for me, a gem to be discovered by movie-lovers. This low-budget movie, if found by the viewers, certainly will become a cult-movie. The frightening and awesome story showing the personification of evil is spectacular, without any concessions to any characters. The battle between the good and the evil is amazing, and there are two specific scenes that impressed me a lot: the first one when Jon "saves" Cathy and her daughter from the Tattooed Man; and when the Father vomits in the church after hearing the confession of Jon, when he asked: "-Do you still love me, Father?". The direction is amazing, using magnificently the camera. Andrew Howard is one of the most scariest killers I have ever seen in films, and his cruelty is comparable to John Doe (Kevin Space) in "Seven". David Calder is perfect as the personification of the Devil, in a cruel and sadistic character. Sometimes, some friends of mine question me why I spend time watching B or C-movies, instead of only classics and famous movies. Movies like "Mr. In-Between" show that my procedure is correct, otherwise I would never find unknown jewels like this one. I am very impressed with this movie, scarier than most of the Hollywood horror movies, which I recommend to a very specific audience. My vote is nine.
Title (Brazil): "Sr. Morte" ("Mr. Death")
Ok, don't let the title throw you off. It's not so bad I want to vomit. It's because it was so good that I'm physically feeling nauseated at the moment. It's not because of blood or gore. This movie is so disturbing it's ridiculous. This is why I prefer thrillers to most other horror movies though. Suspense in a realistic situation is so much more motivating than blood, guts, and monsters. Man, it's hard to put into words the emotions that I feel after finishing this movie. I don't think my wife could watch it to be honest. I'm glad I watched it while she's at work today. I'm not normally moved by movies much. In fact, I think this is the first movie about a hitman that I've ever watched and didn't have some fun thoughts about killing people afterwards.(yes, I have a morbid sense of humor) DISTURBING is the perfect 1 word description for this movie if you need one.
I first saw this film several years ago but some of its imagery is indelibly scorched into my brain. What the film appears to lack in budget it more than makes up for with directorial vision. Also incredible writing. Deeply unsettlng, the key performances are absolutely note perfect. I can't imagine a better actor in the lead... horribly matter-of-fact, cold as ice, colder. Strange paranormal and occult undertones. The sort of thing to have nightmares about, particularly those who rarely get shaken by what they see on screen. Mesmerising, genius even. Something to watch if you feel jaded or bored by the same old same old, this will affect you to your core...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Underworld assassin Jon (Howard) is in thrall to his frightening, and
frighteningly erudite employer, the Machiavellian 'Tattooed Man'
(Calder), who demands nothing from his protégé but unquestioning
loyalty in return for his generosity.
But when a chance meeting with old school friend Andy (Tiernan) and his wife Cathy (O'Rawe) creates a rift between the pair, Jon must decide whether to continue in his brutal way of life or learn to "Accentuate the positive", redeeming his soul in the process.
Ostensibly a story charting the relationship between a trainee demon and his Luciferian master, Mr In-Between suffered from one of the most unexpected distribution mishaps: it was originally screened at 2001's Toronto Film Festival, just in time for September 11.
As with Paul Tickell's Christy Malry's Own Double Entry, scheduled for release around the same period, such dark and uncompromising material had a hard time finding favour among potential backers, until a comfortable two years had passed. As long-time Atom Egoyan collaborator director Paul Sarossy says, "Mr In-Between is definitely a challenging film. The comfortable resolution of Hollywood films, where the hero gets the 'maiden' and the bad guy gets his just desserts: that doesn't happen in this movie."
The trouble is, in attempting to shoehorn novelist Neil Cross's existential meditation on free will into a more palatable British crime flick, Mr In-Between's makers have produced a bit of a mess. Much, it must be said, like Cross's source novel, but that at least had its odd moments of brilliance.
Sadly, this film adaptation contains nothing of the sort. Though admittedly possessing an admirably arch (if overly self-conscious) gallows humour, one suspects dialogue exchanges like, "Killing's a useful form of social Darwinism", or "I feel like a drink", "Where do you fancy?" "Oblivion", are actually meant to be taken with the utmost seriousness. The sledgehammer symbolism (much hand-washing abounds) also begins to annoy pretty quickly.
I've very little time for the Brit crime explosion of recent years, especially all those cheeky chappy Cockney gangster movies inspired by Guy Ritchie. Even 'Sexy Beast' didn't quite do it for me. Apart from the underrated 'Gangster No.1' these movies aren't a patch on 1980s Brit gangster classics like 'The Long Good Friday' or 'The Hit'. I nearly bypassed 'Mr. In-Between' at first thinking it was going to more of the same, but it's actually much richer and more interesting. I was shocked at how impressed I was by this film. I'd definitely say it's one of the most underrated British movies of the last ten years. The story concerns a British hit man working for a gangster but the characters are more complex than usual and the plot doesn't go in the same old tired directions. The movie is a first for the director (Paul Sarossy) and writer (Paul Waddington). Sarossy is a Canadian cinematographer who has worked on some of Atom Egoyan's best known movies, and Waddington is usually an actor. But boy, is this an impressive debut! Andrew Howard is an unfamiliar face to me but he gives a superb performance as Jon, the hit man. Equally good is David Calder, the "Tattooed Man", Jon's enigmatic boss. The relationship between the two is left ambiguous, and that's one of the things which makes this movie a cut above your standard thriller. In fact even calling it a thriller at all may be doing it a bit of a disservice. I highly recommend 'Mr In-Between' for those who enjoy dramas with a bit of depth and subtlety, and I really hope that Paul Sarossy gets the opportunity to direct again as he shows great promise. This movie is destined to become a cult favourite.
I purchased this flick as a insert to polish home video magazine with the strong cover recommendation. Never heard indeed about the Mr Sarossy and about the actors so it made me really curious but suspicious (british gangster movies are not my favorite especially made by overrated Mr Ritchie). But "Aniol Smierci (Angel of death)" (polish title) was a great surprise for me. For the long time I haven't seen so tense, disturbing and depressive movie. It shocks even with the rather low amount of gore on screen. My wife started to watch withe me but after 20 minutes she runs away saying "it won't be happy end". She has damned right. There was no happy anding but happy ending is impossible. Perfect evil can't be redeemed by the money and even love. Why Neil Jordan?? In some moments the film reminds me "Mona Lisa" and "Crying games". Why David Lynch?? Tattooed Man looked like he escapes from "Blue Velvet" or "Mulholland Dr". I've also in mind some movies of Kieslowski and - of course - "Leon" (comparing with the "Aniol smierci" a good-old-family-cinema)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SPOILERS. You have been warned. In recent years the gangster genre has
taken a sound beating at the hands of all manner of uncivilized thugs.
We've suffered through Guy Ritchie's nauseating cockernee vodka-ad
rubbish, the endless run of post-Tarantino disasters and the depressing
glut of low-budget no-hoper efforts from the British school of blokes
in suits shooting each other. We've gone from The Godfather via
Reservoir Dogs to Two Days in the Valley and Snatch. But something
interesting has been happening elsewhere, and it is slowly infecting
the movies with its own potent mythology. Jake Arnott's recent novel,
The Long Firm is already seen as a classic of its kind. Full of great
British characteristics like deceit, violence, robbery, snobbery and
buggery, it didn't reinvent the genre but it did give it a hit of much
needed vitality. The Long Firm took for granted the idea that gangsters
are in it for more than just the money.
All that hanging around with guys in a big guys-only gang has its appeals to certain members of society. The homosexuality of violent men was suddenly not the subtext, but the text itself. It wasn't long before Arnott's aesthetic was seeping into films, investing Gangster No. 1 with a seedy eroticism that added a new twist to some old ideas about male violence. That film took the British gangster genre to a very interesting place (and it's important that this is a British trend the US gangster is still obsessed with talking cool and shooting straight). But a new film that blasted into our cinemas recently goes further, raising questions not just of sexuality, but of religion, redemption, corruption, morality, and the very meaning of life in a 'civilized' society. That sounds like more weight than any low-budget Brit-flick can bear, and it probably is, but the makers of Mr Inbetween are at least out there, giving it their best shot. Neil Cross's original novel was not exactly brilliant, packed as it was with grammatical errors, pretension and rather tedious action. But it's often the worst books that make the best movies, and so it proves here, for Mr Inbetween is a very fine movie indeed. It offers a world view that is pessimistic yet somehow humane; where violent men are violent because they live in a violent world. It's not much of an excuse for kicking the s**t out of people for a living, and if any of these characters really existed you'd run a mile to avoid them, but in the world of film it makes a certain sense. Part of the appeal of movies is in watching lives that you could never actually live, and would not want to. Violence as an answer to life's problems is a dead-end. You beat someone up, and someone somewhere wants to beat you up. Eventually you spend all your time beating people up or being beaten up by people. Movies offer us a glimpse of a world where the rules are different, and the best movies make that world come thrillingly alive.
Mr Inbetween tells the story of Andrew, a man who kicks the s**t out of people for a living. At the start of the film he's just kicked the s**t out of some geezer. Then he bumps into an old school friend who looks on him, even years later, with awe. The old school friend is down on his luck, paying for a round with a pocket full of pennies, and our hero takes pity on him, and wangles him a job in one of those gangster garages that gangsters always seem to have. In a perfect inversion of the real world, Andrew envies his old friend his life, his wife, his child, his domestic bliss. While we're thrilling to the unruly life of violent crime, the violent man just wants to settle down and watch the telly and dunk his digestive in a mug of sweet tea. But of course this is a crime thriller, and nothing can be that simple. The old friend is overwhelmed by Andrew's generosity, his wife is pretty grateful too, and it's not too long before she's running her fingers over Andrew's copious scar tissue. Meanwhile, Andrew's boss (The Tattooed Man), who appears to live in some bizarre underground hangar last seen in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, is cooking and discussing philosophy. There are people who need to be dealt with. Andrew and his mate, the affable driver who's always putting inappropriate songs on the car stereo ('Sorry! Sorry!') arrive at some kind of mansion/castle/stately home in the middle of the night. The Tattooed Man and his two (male) associates greet Andrew with real delight (one of them kisses him full on the lips). Terrible things happen in an upstairs room. Of course, this is not the last we will see of these sinister associates and this upstairs room. For, in true gangster movie fashion, our hero starts to long for all the things he hasn't got, and we know it's only a matter of time before he will find himself in that upstairs room, facing these three sinister (and frankly quite terrifying) men. It's not over yet, though, not by a long way. The good will suffer, the bad will attempt to redeem themselves, the evil will win. If Mr Inbetween is not entirely unpredictable then the fault probably lies as much with the genre as with the film itself. One last job. Cop about to retire. Bad man trying to go straight. Heist goes wrong. How many things can you do with this stuff? What sets a few films above the dross is not so much what they do as what they do not do. Mr Inbetween does not wallow in violence. It does not give in to cliché or caricature. It does not provide cheap laughs or cheap shocks. It does not make much money at the box office.
Jon is an ideal employee: neat, efficient and conscientious. The
torture he inflicts is effective and the kills are swift. Mentored by
his tattooed boss, the only thing asked of Jon is total quality. But
something happens...and for the first time Jon let his emotions affect
his work. Now the tables are turned as the boss and the hit-man face
off in the most dangerous kind of business...The Killing Kind."
The main problem with this film was that I just couldn't get into it, it had great characters, a good story and twists that would all account for a great film. But it just missed that thing that makes films interesting. Maybe it was the "low-budget" aspect of the quality of film that made me dis-like the film, or maybe the fact that I thought it was going to be something totally different.
He isn't a hit-man that I would picture, he hardly ever uses a gun (which is showcased on the cover). He uses a pool cue and a fire poker among things. The dialouge does indeed suck, but that's British films for you (Save Shaun and Snatch). The fact of the matter is, this film tries to be something that it's not, which is SNATCH and LOCK STOCK, with a twist at the end that will shock some, but leave the others asking why.
There are some great characters here that could use a touch up here or there, other then that, this film is a disappointment. Skip it for a better British film, because there are many.
Mr In-between is strong medicine. There's no nodding off in this film. Contrary to another reviewer the direction and cinematography are both excellent. But it is not a feel-good movie. It is a powerful tale that will have you reaching for a double of the strong stuff from the nearest bar. In fact, have that double before seeing the movie - you'll thank me! And after...you'll want to see it again.
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