|Index||5 reviews in total|
An action thriller that both men and women will enjoy which was written (Kirsten Elms) and directed (Kari Skogland) by women. There are car chases, sadism, murder and a bit of gore. Several car chases for the guys and a couple of guys kicked in the groin for the women. A visually good looking film made for TV (in Canada). It certainly looks better than most Hollywood big budget films. The list of actors is unfortunately incomplete at this time. One character actor who really wowed me was the middle age woman who owned the big house: she was delicious in her delivery. The casting was excellent; I had never seen any of the actors before but will certainly follow their work from now on.
I didn't know much about Taryn Manning before watching "Banshee", but this film turned me into a fan. She is a perfect fit for her character here - and it's not an easy character: she has to play edgy, tough, confident, seductive, wounded, scared. It's a believable (Manning actually has real-life kickboxing background) and layered performance. Her bond with the rookie cop who's a bit in over his head (Mike Lombardi) develops in an unforced way. As for the serial killer, he's a very twisted nutcase with fairly original quirks (he likes to record the terrified screams of his victims). The film was written by a woman, directed by a woman, and starring a woman, and its pro-feminist philosophy is evident. But it also works on the more superficial "action thriller" level - there is some very good stunt driving at the start. If you're a Taryn Manning fan, you must see this; if you're not, you'll probably become one. **1/2 out of 4.
Sage is a car thief who inadvertently steals the car of a serial
killer, who then pursues her. She's had a tough life and is quite the
tough cookie as a result and knows how to take care of herself. The cat
and mouse chase that ensues is predictable, if still entertaining
enough to watch. Sage's relationship with the cops (good cop, bad
cop)is stereotypical of the movies with the rookie being overly dumb
for a detective and not very convincing. The "experienced" bad cop is
blind to evidence and annoys as a result.
Filmed with typical Canadian style on location in Montreal, it has some endearing qualities, one of which is that it uses Hitchcockesque inference so there are no seriously gruesome scenes, so it shouldn't give you nightmares.
This was a really positively surprising movie. I had low expectation
for this, expecting it to be a movie about boosting cars, but I was
really positively surprised.
While you can clearly see it's moderate to low budget, you can clearly see that every single cent was well used, and the outcome is really great, especially when taking the budget into consideration.
The movie was very well cast, although you won't see any big names.
A great surprise for electronic music lovers: you get to see the most amazing DJ gear ever, and what is being done with it, although psychotically sadistic, is very creative and very cool! The results are just amazing and make for some amazing music.
The only thing I dislike is the end, which could have been better. It was too predictable, and had a big lack in action. But it was also probably more realistic and true-to-life.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a case of filmmakers who were just too cute for their own good.
Banshee starts out as a car movie like The Fast and the Furious and,
aside from the car chases never seeming to get above 35 miles an hour,
it seems to be doing a pretty competent job. Then the movie takes a
hard left turn and turns into a horror film and then slides into being
a serial killer flick. I can understand why this sort of high concept
genre bending might have appeared to be a good idea but Banshee doesn't
quite turn out like combining chocolate and peanut butter. It's more
like spinach and Pop Tarts.
Sage Rion (Taryn Manning) is the best car thief in town and one of those characters where everyone else in the movie can't stop talking about how awesome they are. After exhaustively establishing that she's all cool and quirky and tormented by personal demons, Sage ends up stealing car that belongs to a serial killer. He kidnaps one of her friends. She tries to return the car, which puts her on the bad side of her criminal boss (Tony Calabretta), and winds up a suspect in one of the killer's murders. That brings in a pair of cops who might as well be the guys from Dumb and Dumber for as useless as they are. While on the run from everyone, Sage learns that yet another of her friends has been kidnapped by the killer and stumbles into a rescue attempt that ends with her committing at least 2nd degree murder and no one giving a damn about it.
Aside from Sage and one of the cops chasing her teaming up to catch the serial killer as though it were the most normal thing for two strangers from opposite sides of the law to do, Banshee isn't terrible for the most part. It does overdo the girl power bit with Sage kicking ass like a combination of Jackie Chan and Hulk Hogan in a 'roid rage. And, of course, after making her out to be a living weapon, the plot then needs her to be as easily overpowered as a newborn kitten. The two cops are also so atrociously written that you can only explain their behavior as the product of multiple personalities, each one stupider than the last.
But car movies are about two things; chases and a cool main character with a checkered past. Banshee has a couple of decent chase scenes, if you can overlook how slow everyone is actually driving, and Taryn Manning has just enough spunk to make Sage worth watching. When the horror twist gets thrown in, it seems like just that little extra something to set this story off on an exciting and unexpected direction. However, as it veers off into serial killer territory, Banshee loses its structural integrity. The horror element could have coexisted with the car movie genre. The serial killer stuff just obliterates everything else. Nothing from the first half of the film has any dramatic or emotional relevance to the second half. As I mentioned, the main characters in car movies almost always have checkered pasts they have to overcome in order to save the day in the end. But once the crazy mass murderer enters the scene in this film, Sage's checkered past become kind of immaterial. Her personal demons are no longer the main problem in her life and when the story continues to focus on them, it comes off rather silly.
The folks who made Banshee thought they had a great idea and I'm sure it all made sense in theory. Unfortunately, when put into practice it works about as well as taking out someone's appendix with a garden trowel.
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