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|Index||15 reviews in total|
Shame I spent full price on "The Tourist" when "Across the Line" was
leagues more enjoyable for a dollar Redbox rental.
Charlie Wright (Aidan Quinn) is a man apart-he ripped off billions from unsuspecting people in a Las Vegas Ponzi scheme and has retreated to Tijuana to escape persecution. His self-imposed exile is quickly interrupted by Andy Garcia's character, a Mexican gangster who wants a shot at Charlie's money, as well as Raymond J. Barry and Luke Goss playing former clients going for revenge.
This was a great film about redemption. I'd agree with another reviewer in that it's an "artsy" portrayal, in that the cinematography is vastly beautiful. The shots of Tijuana and the glimpses of Vegas are astounding for a straight-to-video film.
The cast is also great. Aidan Quinn just knocks it out of the park in the lead role, Luke Goss is great as the leader of a group of thugs that includes the grossly underrated Bokeem Woodbine, and Andy Garcia is pitch-perfect as well. Mario Van Peebles does a great job as the tough federal agent going after Wright.
"Across the Line" was immensely enjoyable, a cool flick with just the right touches of drama and action. Definitely recommended.
The Exodus of Charlie Wright works on many different levels. The story,
by R. Ellis Frazier is timely considering the recent Bernie Madoff
scandal and Frazier gives us a behind the scenes look at a man who
scammed 11 Billion dollars from investors and got away with it.
With the FBI on his trail, led by Agent Hobbs (Mario Van Peebles) who is determined to save face with his superior officer, a crass and effective Corbin Bernsen.
Hobbs sets off to find Wright, (Aidan Quinn) but soon finds others on the money trail, including vigilantes hired by one of Wright's victims ( led by Luke Goss) and a Mexican businessman (Andy Garcia) and his brother Danny Pino) who need to find Wright's stashed away money to save themselves from some kind of big debt they have in Mexico City.
With all of the action brewing Tijuana is the perfect backdrop for finding Charlie Wright. Charlie, however is more concerned with finding his long lost daughter and making up for the time he's lost and the lives he's destroyed.
One of the strong points in the film is the consistent depth of acting. All the performances are solid. Van Peebles brings a mature and reflective depth to his role. Garcia adds vulnerability to his strong exterior and Quinn has a depth of soul in his life's reflection that makes watching him so enjoyable.
Strong performances are also turned in by the scene stealing Claudia Ferri as an prostitute who helps Charlie find his daughter and his way. And also Luke Goss as the intense hit-man bent on killing Wright.
The performances can be attributed to strong direction by Frazier and solid editing. Scenes move quickly and the pace is fluid while maintaining the depth of the performances without lagging on any moment too long. The camera moves fluidly and cuts are pinpoint getting to the point and driving home the emotion and action. The action scenes work without any big budget effects, so kudos to the sound, music and editing departments for making it work.
Also solid camera work and lots of hand-held or steadicam shots put you in the action and keep you there. The cinematography really helps set the tone. There are many interesting angles and movements which really help define the character of the film.
Exodus is woven together with a beautiful score. A virtuoso blend of guitar mixed with some orchestral arrangements and strong percussion make listening to the film a pleasure. Some great original songs are also scattered throughout the soundtrack. I especially liked the end title theme.
Another strong point is the sound mix. Really great clarity on blu-ray. My surround speakers picked up the subtle background sounds and a lot of the accented effects punctuated the sound mix to give it a surreal yet realistic feel. The mix was harmonized and balanced.
This is great low budget filmmaking. Judging by the credits list, Frazier did a lot with a very little. This seems to be about a quarter of the staff of a studio film and the results are on par with any major indie, so hats off to all the people who worked on this.
I'm going to watch La Linea this week because I think this is an up and coming writer/director to look out for.
Perhaps the symbolism was heavy handed, but I thought this was a really good low budget movie. What I walked away with was three men, at the end of their prospective careers, each having a decision to make about their next step. And the casting was superb, all men who have had good careers in their own right, but have, for whatever reason, dropped out of the limelight of blockbusters. Andy Garcia never disappoints, but his acting is incredible in this movie (compare his delivery in this movie as a beaten man vs. Oceans Eleven). But I was really surprised at Aidan Quinn, whom I have acknowledged as a good actor, but he really did a great job in this movie. Cinematography was OK, the acting had some gems, there was no good use of sound or music, but the layered story of three men facing their end was compelling. Like I said, given the budget, I thought they did a good job.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was pleasantly Surprised with this movie I felt that it was well acted and well produced. Would have been better if it was available in Blu-Ray. I thought that the sound track was good and really rocked the sub woofer. I thought that the scene where Charlie was about to get captured seemed a bit hard to believe though. Not sure why the Mexican and Russian gangs would stop for the FBI when they have no jurisdiction in Mexico. I also had a hard time with understanding how Charlie escaped from the bull ring. I also thought that they could have developed Charlie's daughter a little more as well. I thought that the roll of the FBI detective was well played
Nice screenplay writer who did the nice directing. The casting was
great, the acting of all the actors on both sides of the border were
also top-notched. There was a very strong nostalgic feeling and
melancholy touch throughout the whole movie. Rarely a movie would
portray from so many angles from so many different parties: The FBI
agent in charge with a big heart, the loyal FBI young agent with a
dubious gender mix-up, the two past prime Russian mafia, the hired
hit-man and hit team from U.S., the desperate Don of the Mexican
Northern Cartel(Andy Garcia was so great in this movie), his younger
brother(a very cool Mexican actor), his wife, then, there's the lonely
Mexican whore, the scamming con artist(Quinn also did a great and very
reserved job) who's so desperately trying to locate his estranged
Mexican lover and their love's product, a daughter the guy never met
before. All these ingredients were put together so smooth, and
sometimes, very poetically beautiful.
The gun fight scenes were carried out pretty good, the sound track, the camera, the editing, the colors...they are all very classy. An obvious low budget movie, but definitely not a B movie, the production money was well spent. Absolutely worth watching.
Radio Times said this was a 'busy little crime drama with a Michael
Mann feel and an impressive cast.' and awarded a credible 3 stars, so I
thought it worth checking out on Sky Movies. It follows, based on a
true story, a stockbroking tycoon who's made billions ripping people
off and now the Feds and some unhappy and disgruntled people are after
So, as this second feature from writer/director from R Ellis Frazer went straight to DVD, what's wrong with it - and is it worth watching?
The cast is certainly good; a grey-bearded Andy Garcia, Aidan Quinn as the unscrupulous billionaire in the title, Mario van Peebles as an FBI agent and Gina Gershon. Oh, and Luke Goss, of course, who actually is OK and now looks much more distinguished than he did with his baby youth looks in band Bros.; tanned, stubbled and with a close- cropped haircut - a more youthful, smoother Jason Statham, if you like.
First things first, this is not an action movie, certainly not at first. It meanders and ponders, with impressive but slow camera-work and music that is sparse and suggestive. It picks up after half an hour as more characters get in on the act of hunting down Mr Wright. The story itself is quite difficult to follow, not helped by its un-rushed feel. It made me lose interest in what was going on at times and it often changed scenes and characters at the drop of a hat.
The landscapes of Mexico looked evocative enough which helped it roll along but overall, it was all a bit too ponderous and needed tightening up. The lack of any urgency made it more Sunday afternoon than Friday night viewing and whilst I would say it was 'OK', I wouldn't buy the DVD, or recommend it too highly, either. The performances are generally good, but forgettable, as are the people they play.
Just as his billion dollar financial empire is about to crumble, a
scheming businessman evades the authorities and goes on the run. Hot on
his trail are two different crime organizations as well as the FBI.
The scope of the story is enormous considering what looks like a shoestring budget but "Across the Line" is what I'd call a straight-to-video thriller done right and much of the credit should go to R. Ellis Frazier who wrote, directed and produced this movie.
Frazier has penned a classic thriller which would end up below average but thanks to the different story threads he has crafted as well as an attention and love for the characters and the setting, it rises from mediocrity. The direction is gritty, down to earth yet tasteful and aesthetic enough for the genre, with tight editing and a great score.
However, where this movie shines the most is probably in the acting department when again, we consider this is a straight-to-video thriller. This movie's casting stands out in all ways. Aidan Quinn stars as Charlie Wright, the con men on the run who now seems haunted by his past. Quinn is simply amazing and it is almost unfortunate to see him give such a performance in a movie that will give him absolutely no chance of recognition at any kind of award ceremony.
Andy Garcia is also breathtaking as a crime lord. Far from the standard caricature of the merciless, threatening boss, Garcia plays up the fragility of his character due to past failures. There is a lot of depth here thanks to Frazier's writing and Garcia's portrayal. Every other cast member is good or even better. Even Van Peebles, who has mailed performances in so many direct-to-video lemons gives a better than usual performance.
Despite Quinn getting the lion's share of screen time, this is very much a story with an ensemble of characters, a dozen or so. Many of those given more attention than we are used to, even in bigger productions.
There are few action sequences here but one stands out in the middle of the film. An intense shootout that may not be as spectacular as Michael Mann's Heat or Christopher McQuarrie's Way of the Gun but is close enough and memorable as well as unpredictable.
The film is not without flaws and unfortunately, loses steam in the last third or so. Clocking at around 90 minutes, there could have been a few more twists and turns and an added 15 to 30 minutes further exploring some of the characters. Perhaps due to the short running time, the film also relies a bit too much on unlikely coincidences and certain characters crossing path a little too often.
But all in all, this is great writing by Frazier (who seems to favor stories taking place south of the border), a solid directorial effort and some smart choices as a producer to surround himself with actors whose stars may have faded a little but are still able to deliver great performances.
I'll be sure to watch Frazier's next effort.
With no other reviews of this film at present, I guess I'm working
without a net but I'll give it a try. I'll let the pre-provided summary
above handle the plot description and move directly into the film
itself, which I could best describe as a somewhat "artsy" crime drama,
(and I mean that in a good way.)
Filmed mostly in Tijuana, it takes wonderful advantage of the various atmospheres and the smaller sets were also extremely well chosen for realism and visual interest. There are some action sequences but the film is not particularly violent nor "action" oriented, there are numerous personality conflicts and those are what mainly propels the story through the urban Mexican landscape, providing tensions which are occasionally punctuated by violent confrontations.
The players put forth a fine effort in delivering a multi-layered plot which is interesting enough to hold our attention but only barely, it's that type of movie that if you wander away from it for a few minutes, you may not care if you return to finish it. The story-line is littered with implausibilities which in themselves are not deal-breakers, for instance: the quandary of how to arm a foreign hit-squad traveling over the border is beautifully handled by the artifice of having the weapons cached in a pit in a field for them before they arrive but when recovering them, the squad parks about eighty feet away and unnecessarily carries the weapons back to their van in plain view of the surrounding buildings instead of parking right next to the pit and blocking the view of the transfer with the van.
But if it's not going to be uber-realistic like Traffic or testosterone driven like Die Hard or mentally intense like The Usual Suspects or absolutely drip atmosphere like The Godfather or Once Upon a Time in New York or be over-the-top like Kill Bill, it does need something to hook us into it and really hold us there. For me, ultimately that turned out to be the scenery but I don't think that they were actually trying to make a travelogue.
As a kiosk/netflix rental there is enough to recommend here, some great scenery and vignettes, very solid acting, some very good twists and a great score and while the whole may not quite be the sum of the parts it is still a decent enough crime flick.
Looking over reviews of the writer/director's few earlier works it appears he is quickly maturing and there is a lot of potential here, to be certain. His eye is excellent but the story is just a little too clichéd, I'd really like to see his considerable talents utilized in a better story. I would like to see what he, the cast and crew could do with a story that has more impetus, like Man on Fire. I may seem a little harsh because there are no other reviews and I'm trying to cover everything alone; so do your duty - go out and rent it and write an accompanying review.
It is one of the best films I've seen this year, which proves that low- budget films can be as good as lavish Hollywood ones. Of course, it is an homage to Ken Annakin's "Across the Bridge" (1957), which, in its turn, was an adaptation of Graham Greene's short story. It also has a banker who commits embezzlement and flees to Mexico, even though the banker in the newer film is a much more likable person - at least, Aidan Quinn makes him that. Both bankers achieve redemption in the end, but in very different ways, and this is where all the similarities end. Aidan Quinn, Mario Van Peebles and Andy Garcia are very good matches for their roles; actually, the whole actors' ensemble is impressive. Somebody described this flick as an action movie; in fact, it is not, even though tension builds up towards the end. Another reviewer doubted that the FBI budge could make such a profound impression on Mexican police and mercenaries; my take on it is, it surely can, especially if you don't forget that the events take place very close to the US border. Overall, it is a very good film, and I was pleasantly surprised with its quality (which includes camera work). It comes highly recommended.
"Across the Line" (2010) is a neo-noir that I've now seen twice. I'd
rate it about 5.5, which is near the IMDb score of 5.3 It's interesting
to watch. It develops a feeling of fatality that's quite tangible, with
Aidan Quinn quietly impressive as a fugitive investment fraudster who
has fled to Tijuana and who is apparently looking for a daughter he
fathered many years earlier and hasn't seen. He's seeking some kind of
redemption and regrets his life and fraud that has hurt a lot of
people. Meanwhile he's being sought by 3 different groups: the FBI
(Mario Van Peebles), the local underworld boss (Andy Garcia), and a
Russian mafia group that has lost $100 million. Their lead gunman in
Tijuana is Luke Goss.
The movie tries to be more weighty than it achieves. It gives the appearance of depth and gravity that's not backed up by enough character development, action and dialog. While in Tijuana searching, Quinn starts with Claudia Ferri, who is terrific. She really fills out her well-painted character. Gina Gershon has a much smaller part as Garcia's wife and is more or less wasted. Quinn is a powerful actor in his own way. Peebles' part is also underwritten. He is often stuck with silence and unmotivated action.
The action scenes are all right, although not outstanding. The Russian gang seems always to know what Garcia's gang is up to. They must be following them around, but Garcia's men don't latch onto it. And Quinn, who is in hiding, wanders around without a disguise of any kind in broad daylight. There are abundant plot holes like this in the story that also make for a lower rating.
I like the movie. The cast is competent and attractive. It has atmosphere. It's just that the story doesn't click as it's intended. It's trying too hard to create a parallel between Garcia and Quinn at one point.
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