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eonbluedan-1

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
It'll certainly linger..., 13 September 2013
4/10

In one of its most audacious scenes, 'The Paperboy' features a sweaty, creepy, greasy, despicable John Cusack and a cheap, peroxide-blonde Nicole Kidman reaching simultaneous orgasm whilst sat across from each other in a prison....with an audience looking on. Although the word getting around that this is "that one where Nicole Kidman pisses on Zac Efron" was perhaps an early indication, it is nevertheless fair to say that 'The Paperboy', with its rather innocuous title and its poster headed by popular, bankable stars, is probably not the film you expect.

It really isn't! Co-written and directed by Lee Daniels, who drew a lot of attention with his harrowing sophomore film 'Precious', this is another often tough-to-take story of an investigative journalist, Ward, returning to his Florida hometown to look into the case of a potentially innocent death row inmate. With his younger, hormone-fuelled brother Jack as his driver, and the somewhat flimsy aid of a worryingly naive local woman who has been writing to, and has fallen for the inmate, Ward attempts to work out whether this man needs exoneration.

And so we enter Lee's world, and he is nothing if not consistent in his desire to create cinema that scars you. Set in late 60s Florida, 'The Paperboy' is imbued with the racial and sexual politics of its period, and its story is told with a wilfully unhinged and grungy eye.

In the time since its release, we have become used to the idea that McConaughey is taking on more challenging work, and certainly in this film his apparent contractual obligation to have his top off is fulfilled in an alarming sequence you will not find in any rom-com! Zac Efron is solid as Jack, the 20-year-old who is love-struck by Nicole Kidman's well-meaning hussy. In a relatively small role, John Cusack is the revelation who almost steals the show; we forget that this usually handsome man can REALLY act.

This film is all over the place; it is a mess, and is headed up by a man who seems either unable, or unwilling, to let it settle into any one groove. An amalgamation of dark comedy, disturbing psycho-play, investigative art house mystery, legal drama and even demented romance, it is sewn together with a defiance of settled pacing and shot through with shock factor. But plaudits must go to Lee for the bravery; having something to say and saying it with a film that, despite all the flaws, stuns and compels you to watch it through its slow first, strange second and 'Deliverence' style final act.

All-in-all this is a disaster, determined to keep you at a distance, and yet it is also a film that genuinely surprises you, and which you will not easily forget.

A very strange, confrontational film, and perhaps a brave one, but unfortunately 'The Paperboy' is never equal to the sum of its parts.

2 Guns (2013)
8 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Nuts and bolts, but really strong nuts and bolts, 31 August 2013
8/10

If you only saw the trailer, you may recognise '2 Guns' as an attempt at a buddy-cop style movie, light in tone, featuring an always-questionable Mark Wahlberg, likely to be carried by Denzel Washington, and from a director whose only known previous work is last year's 'Contraband', which bombed rather badly. Your conclusion might be that you will have seen this film before, and you'll have seen it done better, so despite your admiration for Washington, you'll opt out of this one. That was certainly my first impression. I am happy I did not go with my gut reaction, for whilst it is true that the director's last release was a failure, Wahlberg can be a letdown, and there is nothing here to really surprise us, it is NOT true that I have seen it done better....at least, not for a long time!

'2 Guns' is a by-the-numbers, nuts and bolts story of a DEA agent and a naval intelligence officer, who are both trying to infiltrate a drug cartel for their own reasons. Upon stealing drug money, they find themselves caught up in a conspiracy rooted in nastier, murkier territory than either of them expected, playing cat-and-mouse with some very dangerous people, bringing into play a wonderfully villainous Bill Paxton, looking like he's having more fun than he's had in a long time. They try to simultaneously bring justice and stay alive! The whole thing feels very familiar, as it should; if you have seen 'Tango and Cash' or 'Lethal Weapon', you already know the dynamic between the two leads and the general direction the story is headed, although there is a distinct difference in that, unlike Danny Glover's Murtaguh, neither man is particularly straight-laced. Part of what brings this film to life, though, is the fact that you cannot help but think of early Tarantino as you watch it. 'True Romance' serves as a particularly obvious touchstone for '2 Guns' in terms of dialogue, character and pace; there are in fact at least two scenes that seem to consciously mirror famous sequences in Tony Scott's movie. Perhaps most surprising to me is how well Washington and Wahlberg work as a screen partnership; with plenty of chemistry and Wahlberg responsible for a fair share of the success, it would be unfair to say he needs carrying.

Slick, stylishly shot, well-paced, with some vintage "Tarantino" moments and really snappily written, this feels like a trip back to the 90s in the best way! Okay, no big surprises, but director Kormakur knows exactly what type of film he is making here, and he hits a home run with it!

Not likely to stay in my top 10 of 2013, but good enough to make it on to the list in the first place, which in itself is a surprise!

Kick-Ass 2 (2013)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Rarely is critical reception this off the mark..., 21 August 2013
7/10

'Kick-Ass' introduced us to David Lizewski, who wondered why nobody tried to be a superhero and decided to fight crime himself. Simultaneously based on and released alongside Mark Millar's comic book, 'Kick-Ass' was a funny, stylish thrill-ride, with the trappings of a great comic book, and tough enough to trouble the moral guardians. Importantly, it kept the film grounded in reality whilst it had its despicable fun. At the same time as being a joyous romp, it never forgot the darkness it had to present; when people got hurt, it mattered, and when people did bad things to others, the audience could feel it. Whilst not a perfect movie in itself, the bold style made 'Kick-Ass' a major success! 'Kick-Ass 2' picks up with David missing the purpose of his Kick-Ass days, and Hit-Girl, his now friend and superior in the world of fighting crime, attempting to live the normal life of a 15-year-old Mindy Macready, whilst it is clear their actions have inspired many others to become costume-wearing, crime-fighting vigilantes. Chris D'amico, the pathetic, petulant son to crime boss Frank in the first film, is sore at Kick-Ass for taking away his father and is after revenge. After a temper tantrum goes amusingly awry and his mother dies, he finds his purpose in life is to become 'The Mother Fu**ker', assemble a team of super villains and kill our hero with his own bear hands.

There has been a backlash to this sequel, and this is a surprising response; the film is not without flaws, but the negative reaction appears hugely disproportionate. So what are the downsides? It says a lot for the quality of the film that they mostly consist of individual elements that could have been changed or bettered. There is a 'Mean Girls' sub-plot involving Mindy, and whilst it plays fairly well for the most part, and is indeed an interesting idea, the method she adopts to ultimately "beat them at their own game" is out of keeping, not only with her character, but with the movie. Another moment not in keeping seems to be there for the sake of a joke about David appearing as a sleaze; his girlfriend is a completely different type of person to that which we saw in the first outing, and her one and only scene would have been better left. A rape scene in the comic has been turned into a joke about a would-be rapist being unable to perform, which treads an awkward line between amusing and ill-judged. The truth is this is another superfluous moment; the film would actually be improved by removing it completely and leaving the nastiness inferred. We are introduced to Jim Carrey's Colonel Stars and Stripes, an ex goon who leads a group of "good guys"; their motives are good and their hearts are in the right place, though their methods are clearly questionable. This is not a problem, as it actually sets up a smart point which the film goes on to address directly in its final act, but it is unfortunate to see Carrey under-used so badly. Whether he had more screen time before his recent comments about not wanting to support this level of violence, we may never know, but it does seem his character is missing a lot of meat, which would have undoubtedly made him more interesting.

On the plus, the dark, mean streak that underlies the first film is explored far more here. There has been scoffing about the needless and joyless violence, but I say it is precisely that reduction of comic tone that makes it work. One of the ideas driving 'Kick-Ass 2' is that in the real world, actions have consequences, and this film makes sure that is never overlooked! As the kids have grown up, so too has the idea, and I was myself surprised how much higher the stakes seem to feel, and the extent to which they go to drive home that this is not a game! The result is that, with rare exception, the violent moments feel more dangerous, cold, brutal, and consequently hold more resonance for the audience. In fact there is at least one scene where we genuinely squirm in the chair, feeling the helplessness and hopelessness of the plight we are witness to. You remember how you felt when Kick-Ass and Big Daddy were being beaten to death? A lot more of that...This is not to say the film is without its fun, well-shot, well edited action sequences; wait until you see Hit-Girl taking on bad guys on a moving vehicle!

The first film is perfect for the story it presents; the comic tone it adopted made sense. With a change of director definitely comes a notably different approach, but where a lot of people would want a stylistic mimic of the first film, I for one welcome the tonal change. Jeff Wadlow is in charge this time round, and it would seem, unlike the critics, he understands that these characters have grown up a bit, and that the audience might just expect the story to move forward rather than stay static. Indeed, it is ironic to think that had Wadlow simply tried to recapture the first film's rebellious glory by playing the same game, the same critics would have accused him of treading water. In conclusion 'Kick-Ass 2' may not satisfy those after a repeat performance of 'Kick-Ass', and its darker approach might repel those simply after a slice of fun, but after a wobbly first act, this is saved by a CRACKING second and a STUNNING third. It also gives paid to claims that there is no sequence as great as the "Hit-Girl saves Big Daddy" one in 'Kick-Ass'; we care about these characters and it makes the finale incredibly gripping. This is a good follow-up; certainly worthy of its name! Also nice to hear that fantastic theme 'Flying Home' re-vamped, and so well used.

Bring on the finale!

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A surprise not welcome by all, 12 August 2013
8/10

After a frustratingly long, limited run elsewhere in the world, 'The Tall Man' finally got its UK release in 2013, and following Pascal Laugier's infamous, hugely divisive 'Martyrs', newly-won fans, rabid for more of the same, are due to be sorely, bitterly disappointed by his first English language work. That is, if by "more of the same" we are talking extremely tough, almost unwatchable blunt violence and gore, because if you strip 'Martyrs' of all that visceral intensity and compare it with this work, it is quite clear that they come from the same rebellious director.

The never fully appreciated Jessica Biel plays nurse Julia Denning, widow of the doctor of Cold Rock, a small town that is dying a commercial and industrial death since the closure of its mine. The destitution of the place is captured from the get-go, the lack of verve and hope of a people, who have nowhere to go and nothing to look forward to, is woven ever so precisely through every frame. Verve and hope are not the only things missing in Cold Rock; for a long time the children have been disappearing as well, vanishing without a trace or any sign of a perpetrator. Despite official efforts to solve the ongoing epidemic, no result is forthcoming. This leads, as it so often will when people are left with no reasonable explanation for such horror, to the birth and growth of a mythical bogeyman labelled 'The Tall Man', who invades in the dead of night and steals the little ones away, never to be seen again. Julia is doubtful, but sympathetic to those who have suffered, and remains a pillar of the community. Her doubt is shattered when, one night, her own child is taken by The Tall Man, in front of her own eyes. In a terrific extended sequence, Julia gives chase, Biel proving she can express and emote to far greater levels than she is so often asked to elsewhere. She fails to reclaim the boy, and here is where I leave the synopsis; nobody likes a spoiler!

The setup is as eerily created as you might imagine, with some moments sending genuine shivers down the spine, but the pleasure of 'The Tall Man' is where Laugier then takes us. Despite leading out with a foot rooted firmly in 'Blair Witch' territory, the courageous director once again manages to slip and slide his way through various gears. With a dash of Stephen King here, a splash of Alfred Hitchcock there, a good helping of a James Patterson pot boiler ('Kiss The Girls', 'Along Came a Spider'), stitched together with not a small amount of Clint Eastwood and Dennis Lehane ('Mystic River'), and topped off with some 'X-Files', the man does well not to let it slide and keep us compelled. It is only unfortunate that, like 'Martyrs, it is a film best left unspoiled, and a good review, which I trust this to be, would not dare detail anything any further. With exciting vision and a notably creepy score, Luagier pulls together a challenging, unpredictable film, which honestly defies us to put it in a pigeonhole.

'The Tall Man' is not all ups and no downs; there are questions marks one can have over a couple of elements of the film, but these can only be fully discussed between people who have experienced the movie. Nevertheless, Laugier is a film maker to watch out for. He has a lack of concern for adhering to genre convention, the balls to toy with and defy our expectations, relishing the points where he pulls the rug from under us. The result of this is a storyteller with a well-honed ability to surprise the audience in ways that feel fresh, without being dishonest. The surprise may not be what some of the audience actually want or expect, which I genuinely believe accounts for such low ratings elsewhere, but this, for me, is what makes him such an exciting writer/director. 'The Tall Man', like his previous effort, proves to be bold, provocative, full of incendiary philosophy, without compromise, well crafted, and if you are on board with it, even moving. It is a film that haunts and leaves you thinking. He has perhaps not found perfection yet, but he is certainly on his way to it.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
You certainly won't shrug with indifference!, 7 August 2013
6/10

"One of the worst films ever" was one response heard upon leaving the multiplex. "Almost the worst film I've ever seen," said another critic on radio; the thing is, that was followed up with, "second only to Inland Empire". Perhaps this says something for the lack of truly awful films the person has actually seen, but if you are familiar with the reference to the Lynch directed masterpiece, or in fact David Lynch at all, you are already most of the way towards knowing whether you can sit through the hour and a half that is 'Only God Forgives'.

Nicolas Winding Refn's second collaboration with Ryan Gosling was not going to be a Gosling film at all; it was only due to the dropping out of a fairly unknown British actor, for a role in 'The Hobbit', and Gosling's desire to help his best buddy director, that lead to where we are now. Where are we? We have an art house film that was hated at the Cannes Film Festival, and which would have most likely bypassed most casual cinema goers had it not been for the big name, actually drawing in crowds of excited but naive Gosling fans, and curious but naive passers-by, on a trip out for their weekend's entertainment. Sadly for them, 'The Notebook' this is not.

Remove 'Drive' from Refn's catalogue and 'Only God Forgives' sits as a steady continuation of his vision; 'Drive' is in fact the most accessible and "Hollywood" the man has ever gone, or may likely ever go. Sadly for many who do not know of the 'Pusher' trilogy, 'Bronson', 'Fear X' or 'Valhala Rising', it makes for high expectations ripe for the shattering! Forget any comparison with 'Drive'; the film features Gosling, who again says very little, features explosions of violence and looks absolutely gorgeous. That is about all the two films have in common. The story, as far as it is one, is of Julian, who runs a muay thai boxing club as a cover for more shady dealings. His older brother does something awful and vengeance is visited upon him; this prompts the devil of the piece, Julian's poisonous mother, played by Kristen Scott Thomas as you have never seen, to fly in and order Julian avenge his brother's demise. Julian cannot do this, and so follows the tripped out dream-scape that seems to be a vague effort at a revenge tale, a spiritual journey which serves as an exploration of the futility of vengeance, the battle between forces of good and evil, the damage of guilt, self-loathing, the need for forgiveness and redemption, the Oedipal complex of a man broken and owned by his mother, and shattered masculinity, all delivered with shadows of Shakespeare in the background.

The top of the list of great things about this film is the cinematography; you can DESPISE this, and still need to concede that we are unlikely to see a film whose framing, lighting and textures are more terribly seductive. Larry Smith shot 'Eyes Wide Shut' with Stanley Kubrick, and has worked with Refn twice previously; based on the evidence, it is fair to say Refn has found his partner, just as Chris Nolan had with Wally Pfister. Next up, the sound editing and Cliff Martinez's score rumble, grind and push at the edges of the piece. Martinez previously worked with Refn on 'Drive', but again, there is little comparison. The performances are all very good, but it should be noted, and this is meant absolutely sincerely, it could be easy to watch this with the wrong mindset. These people are not characters, they are archetypes; do not expect standard characterisation.

Now, the violence! For all the uproar about how full-on this movie is, it is quite clear this criticism comes from people whose high water mark for extremity is 'Saw'. I should note, this is not a complaint; in fact, I rather admire the technique of always cutting away, or shooting the violent scenes in such a way that we, the audience, aren't completely privy to the retribution. Even if a belief that this ties in with a theme of the film is incorrect, it is still safe to assume that it was Refn's intention to defy our expectation of what we are going to see every time. This does, however, lead me to say that the violence is tame. Yes, it is extremely stylish, but I have seen more raw and disturbing violence in Scorsese's pictures than in this one.

In many areas admirable for its Kubrick-standard perfection, but admittedly tiring, this is a film that will find its most loyal audience in the art house crowd. If you only watch films for a standard western approach, an entertaining story, with a clear through-line and plot, characters with traditional arcs and actors giving dialogue-driven performances, then avoid at ALL costs! If you grasp the idea that a film can be something else, an expression like a Salvador Dali painting, in which every image, gesture and moment can be considered key to your understanding of what's going on, deepening your analysis of the film, then this is worth your attention, as it does have a lot going on that cannot be absorbed in one sitting. That does not mean you will love it; despite a dedication to Alejandro Jodorowsky , Refn lacks the man's mastery of this sort of visual poetry. You will, however, be hard pushed to find a more strange and challenging film in the main stream for some time! Overall, this is not a scratch on Refn's best work, but it is worth giving him, and all involved, a round of applause for truly going all out to shake us out of what I will call "cinematic apathy".

Now and then we need a film like this, whether we like it or not!

Thirst (2009)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Far from perfect, but a bold piece of work, 31 July 2013
6/10

Chan-wook Park adapted an original source for the screen and came up with this bold imagining. We have become used to the vampire, perhaps even jaded, but now and then a genre film comes along that looks inspired, injects new life into the world and ignites some excitement. This might not mean the film itself is great, but it does mean it isn't the same old same old. As far as the vampire story goes, this is 'Thirst', about a priest who, through an experiment gone wrong, finds himself craving the blood of another man's wife.

As you would expect from any vampire tale, the layers, metaphors and symbolism are all there, and as you might expect from the man who brought us the recent 'Stoker' and the contemporary classic 'Oldboy', the unsettled tone and attention, almost obsession, to visual poetry is present. Chan-wook has the uncanniest ability to put together a film with such an apparently scatological approach, one might think the film a mess; he is able to mash drama, horror, comedy and the absurd, using a twisted romance and emotion as the glue for a work that, when it is all said and done, actually works as a whole. In this sense, you could say this is closest to 'I'm a Cyborg'. Trying to define 'Thirst' as any one sort of film proves extremely tough, and in many other hands it would be an absolute disaster piece. As it stands here, we have an intense, darkly amusing tale of obsession and the demented road love can sometimes take. To those familiar with more of the director's work, a regular theme, and a strangely twisted imagination, is certainly becoming ever clearer. As with certain other films he has made, the apparently simple and bland nature of the tale becomes more strange and dangerous as certain weird, sordid plot points get unveiled.

It is not to say this is anywhere near a scratch on his best work; there are some stumbles along the way, most notable of which probably being the struggle the film has finding gear and engaging the audience. That said, once you're there and arrested by the imagery, which Chan-wook always makes compelling, and the rather striking intensity of certain scenes that take you by surprise with their unexpected beauty, rawness, or darkness, you find yourself having to see it through to the end. The end, in this case, being one of the most fascinating elements of the story, and possibly the director's second best finale.....beaten only by 'Oldboy', of course! Quite far from perfection and rough around the edges, but a strange, dark and interesting piece of cinema which, much like 'Cronos' and 'Let the Right One In', attempts to do something different with the age-old icon of the vampire.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Real, raw and touching, but hampered, 26 July 2013
6/10

Writer and founder of a small press which published works by disabled authors, Mark O'Brien, was struck completely disabled and iron lung- dependent by polio when he was young, and he has a goal: He wants to enjoy the pleasures of a woman before he "reaches his use-by date", as he puts it. The line is delivered by John Hawkes, who plays O'Brien, with both the sense of humour, and the sensitivity, which typifies the handling of the subject matter in 'The Sessions'.

Ben Lewin, whose work has been primarily in TV and documentaries, brings John Hawkes together with Helen Hunt in a screen partnership that has to be one of the most intimate and trusting I have seen between two actors for some time. Hunt was up for an Oscar for her portrayal of professional sex surrogate Cheryl, who takes on the task of helping Mark achieve his goal. Their encounters are beautifully played, with the balance of awkwardness, fear and joy well judged enough that you truly feel in the room. The scenes seem raw and real, and the result of the writing is one of a film which does not snigger, nor encourage sniggering, at the idea of sex on screen; there is a directness, and explicitness about the issue, which to my pleasant surprise, actually manages to underscore the importance of the emotional resonance of sex, and its importance in our life. It would be easy to imagine this simply becomes a dirty joke. To the contrary, the sex is not sexy, but rather functional; the conversations they have and the depiction of Mark's struggle with his journey to manhood, becomes touching. There is something in the way sex is explored that brings to mind what D H Lawrence was trying to do with his infamous classic; rather than nudge and wink, the story looks directly at what sex is and why it matters.

Frustatingly, the direction seems shy of delving into the personal relationships and history of Cheryl; it also seems intent on putting the female form on full show whilst never completely exposing the male at the centre of the story. If this was an artistic choice, I wonder what the aim was; one would assume, in fact, that as the story moves forward, both character would become more exposed. The film also struggles to bring a key character to life; Father Brendan, played by the ever reliable William H. Macy, never seems complete. It is hard to pin down why, because Macy does not do anything wrong, but there is something in the scenes featuring Mark and the priest, which despite some deftly delivered humour, feel tough to buy.

The heart of the film is that central relationship, though. Limited to six sessions, for obvious reasons, we watch an unusual, touching bond grow, and despite the hurried nature of the story arc, it makes 'The Sessions' worth your time.

0 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Some of the best big, dumb fun you are likely to see, 23 July 2013
7/10

The creative maestro behind such films as 'The Devil's Backbone' and the masterpiece 'Pan's Labrynth', it is fair to say Guilermo del Toro is no stranger to dark, deep stories with heart and soul, so it is a surprise to see 'Pacific Rim' actually comes off rather light and fun.

To my surprise, the story of a future on Earth where mankind does regular battle with aliens, who attack from deep beneath the ocean via a bridge between their dimension and ours, lacks in development; the movie also falters with some awkward moments where the staging seems in need of a polish or a re-write. Performances are, for the most part pretty good, with a highlight being del Toro regular and fan favourite Ron Pearlman, his introduction clearly indicating how aware they are of how popular a casting choice he is. To the negative, most notable are, strangely, the male leads, who seem, at best going through motions, or at worst unbelievable.

All that said, however, del Toro knows precisely the film he is making here and awards courting performances did not weigh too heavily on his mind, unlike the fantastic score, which actually should go up for an Oscar next year, being one of the best elements of the movie. It should also go without saying that it is visually spectacular, grand in scope and precise in detail. Despite its lightness in tone and the fact that it is ultimately little more than a huge summer blockbuster, del Toro directs with an assured hand, the likes of which Michael Bay can only dream he had.

This is big, dumb fun, but really good, well designed big, dumb fun. Definitely whets the appetite for what he may have in store if he can ever get Lovecraft's 'At The Mountains of Madness' on to the screen.

The Hunt (2012)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Provocative, 17 July 2013
8/10

'The Hunt' is about Lucas, a nursery teacher, popular with the children, who is just getting his life sorted out, is excited about a new lover, and is over the moon that his son wants to come and live with him. An unintentional mishandling of a situation and a couple of simple comments, however, set in motion events that tear everything to pieces.

To discuss the story beyond that would be wrong, but the tone of the storytelling brings to mind Tim Roth's 'The War Zone'. This is not a popcorn flick; the film makes every effort to keep both feet firmly planted in reality. The result is an effective, gripping, performance-lead drama, with nearly every scene keeping a good measure on how the events would actually play out in real life rather than on the silver screen. The story itself makes for a generally very well observed study of how it is that a rumour can pick up its own momentum with disturbingly little effort and become fact, how people believe what they need to, not what they should, and the sadly damaging effect that has. The situation it portrays provides a very sad underpinning for lessons on why it isn't just children who need to be careful.

Everybody in the film gives a great performance, with Mads Mikkelsen shining bright. Last year he showed us why he may be one of the most criminally underrated actors working today, with a phenomenal, moving performance in 'A Royal Affair', and here he inhabits his character so brilliantly that every conversation, ever mannerism, ever reaction feels effortless. Not to spoil the ending, but the final scene features a very still performance from him, which brings to mind Viggo Mortensen's ability to say a lot with very little. Spot on. The film also looks very good, with some stunning photography.

The downside, and the only reason 'The Hunt' didn't quite hit my Top Ten of this year, was that certain plot points, despite trying to remain very "real world", don't seem to gel. It is a hard thing to put into words, and it may simply be that something was lost in translation; whether the criticism makes sense to you depends, perhaps, on your own feelings about the drama. The transition of time and his efforts in the last section of the film seem, to me, to be a bit forced in order to make the final point with that aforementioned performance; it should perhaps have been written differently. That said, however, what I will call the underbelly of the story, the hinted at but never fully discussed aspect, remains unresolved, and whilst I understand this may be frustrating for some, I found it to be an effective device, hinting at a context and reason for the whole drama in the first place. The lack of resolution increases the unease and means the film closes on a bitter, dark and contemplative note, the prospect haunting you...as it should.

An engaging drama, well delivered by the cast and generally well directed, even if not the masterpiece I wanted.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Disappointing, 24 June 2013
6/10

The story idea is good, typical of Goyer. Some of the scenes are good; the performances are pretty good, with Kevin Costner turning in a fantastic one. In fact, it's fair to say he is under-used. The film does also look and sound very fancy; Hans Zimmer once again brings the magic he is so well known for, but sadly the execution is overblown and all over the place; exactly the sort of approach I would expect, and was worried about, from Snyder. The man has very little grasp on how to actually tell a story, and after the first rather choppy hour of substance, he quickly loses himself in his own playground; he even brings it in too long. So all in all, it's not without its merits and is generally a decent blockbuster, but the good moments aside, this is ultimately disappointing; a lot of talent squandered.


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