The tragic and controversial story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in Texas for killing his three children after scientific evidence and expert testimony that bolstered his claims of innocence were suppressed.
Set after the 2012 London Olympics, the film follows Liam (Sam Claflin), an ex-con trying to win back the love and trust of his family. He has lost everything at the hands of a local crime syndicate run by Clifford Cullen (Spall), who has high-level connections in politics, finance and the police force. Liam's drive for redemption sees him caught up in a web of conspiracy, crime, and corruption.
'The Corrupted (2019)' was slipped into cinemas on the sly, released without so much as an advert, let alone any real fanfare. It's difficult to see why, really, considering that it isn't exactly the sort of thing that jumps out and grabs you - not from its title, its premise nor its poster. What I mean is that it's not like there was any real chance of it being a smash-hit if no-one even knew it was coming out. The other answer, of course, is that the studio was embarrassed of it and wanted to get it out as quietly as possible. That doesn't quite ring true, however, as there's nothing embarrassing - at all, really - about the flick. Sure, it seems like the sort of thing you'd walk in on your dad watching on Channel 4 but it's by no means a bad film. It's shot nicely, has a great cast and, when it gets going, is rather entertaining. The story, essentially, centres around a recently released convict as he attempts to reintegrate with society and reunite with the family he left behind. In practice, though, it actually spends an equal amount of time on its varying bit-players and their attempts to expose, or perpetuate, the corruption surrounding property development escalated by 2012's Olympic games. It probably has one too many focal characters and, especially in the first act, it doesn't seem to know who to settle on, often bouncing from person to person in frenetic and frustrating fashion. This issue even ricochets into individual scenes, as some early ensembles are jarringly cut seemingly so the characters get equal screen-time regardless of if they (eventually) have equal narrative value. There are also some odd focus pulls that aren't quite pulled off properly and breaks in the '180 rule' which make certain sequences seem a little amateur - as does the far too frequent audio clipping that sees the end of sentences end abruptly after an optical cut. It's a good thing, then, that the cinematography is usually spot-on, from the nicely-framed composition to the contrast-heavy lighting, and actually elevates the overall visual 'feel' of the flick. The same can be said for the acting, which is good across the board and is well above 'soap opera'-level, even when the central players get into overly-serious shouting matches. Tim Spall, especially, entertainingly chews the scenery every time he's on-screen, in contrast to Hugh Bonneville's usually more subtle - yet still menacing - demeanour. As I mentioned, it gets quite enjoyable when everything settles into place. The action is quite shaky and isn't really all that satisfying but the piece isn't focused on it so much as its consequences, which are suitably brutal and fit right in with its generally grim tone. Everyone's betraying everyone else and no-one can be trusted; it's not surprising, necessarily, but it is bleak and I think that's what the film-makers were going for. Generally, once the set-up is out of the way and the pace kicks in, it just keeps getting better. This happens later than you might expect, though. The ending is a little rushed and, perhaps, misses a step or two in terms of its internal logic but the actual climax is rather compelling, even if the whole thing is ever-so-slightly downbeat. The movie is never fantastic - in fact, it's usually just alright. However, it's fun enough, for what it is, when it finally gets going that I reckon it's worth a watch, especially if you're into the genre. 6/10
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