Archive for the ‘Revenge’ Category

A young lawyer, working for the public prosecutor’s officer, has been living in guilt for many years. As a child, she was the snitch that made her older brother go to jail for drug trafficking. Unwillingly of course. But her father always made her believe she did the right thing.

When she’s working on a case in which her incarcerated brother is involved, she gets drawn into his world. First out of curiosity, later out of necessity. An act of beneficence gets her in trouble. She forges a document to make sure her brother gets a better treatment in jail. But this illegal misstep is the start of one rollercoaster ride of misery and drama. Her entire career is ruined. Unless she helps a detective by infiltrating into the brotherhood gang that her brother is leading…

Though flawed, this is a very enthralling series. It’s a mix of a prison drama and a detective story with a main lead that plays a double part. It’s set in Brazil, so the drama is very dramatic. But it’s also very violent and grim. It deals about police brutality and corruption and a lot of murderous crime. People get beaten, tortured, killed by the dozens. It brings you the exact opposite of the cheerful and colorful image that Brazil has in many ignorant foreigner’s eyes. This is one dark tale. Even Cidade de Deus has characters laughing and dancing at one point. This one has zero joyful smiles.

But it’s worth the watch. Noreen Costa is phenomenal as the main lead. She not only needs to convince the detective that he can trust her. She also needs to convince the brotherhood that they need her. And more important: she needs to convince the audience watching at home that she can pull this off. Hermila Guedes is equally excellent as the wife of the imprisoned brother. In a very macho setting, these two actresses and their characters keep the show from being a total waste of time. Girl power!

The male leads are only slightly less impressive. Danilo Grangheia as the detective is great. So is Seu Jorge as the brother and leader of the prison gang. We just don’t get to know their characters that well. It’s all very superficial and the show fails to create empathy or sympathy for them. Where you believe the women immediately and you understand their actions from start to finish, it’s much harder to understand what these male characters are all about.

The story may be full of inaccuracies and illogical situations, but the storytelling is well done. Each episode ends with a good cliffhanger that make you want to continue watching. And the ideas are quite clever and flow in a constant entertaining pace. The last episode is a bit too much though. It’s inconsistent and feels rushed. It also isn’t conclusive. There’s no end. Not even an open end. A lot of questions remain.

So watch this by the millions so netflix will make the second season. Because we need to know what’s going to happen next !!!

www.imdb.com/title/tt8905964

Revenge – **(*)

Posted: September 4, 2018 in 2017, France, Horror, Revenge, XX1/2
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A rich businessman brings his mistress to a desolate hideaway in the desert. He’s there for an annual hunting trip with two of his associates, who arrive a bit too early and get to know the girl as well. There’s a pool party, a lot of alcohol and the next day, the girl gets violated by one of the buddies. Once the businessman finds out, he defends his friends and pushes her off a cliff, where she gets impaled on a pointy tree branch.

However, the girl isn’t dead and she’s out for revenge.

And this is the moment where the real movie experience starts. The girl survives a deadly fall, being impaled, being shot at several times etc… She manages to survive in the desert, fix her wounds, run around with a heavy machine gun, aim a riffle successfully, etc…  Every setback makes her stronger.

Nothing is logical in this movie. But that’s not the point. It’s a visually and auditive stunning neo-cult classic. There’s only four actors (well, five if you count the helicopter pilot) and there are only a few settings. It must have been a low-budget production, but the camerawork is excellent. The action is non stop and entertaining. The gore is abundant. And there’s nakedness! Not by the female protagonist, but by the rich businessman who spends the last 15 minutes of the movie running around in the nude.

That character is played by Kevin Janssens, a Flemish actor who’s a bit of a local celebrity, appearing in the gossip magazines for this affairs with other local celebrities. BUT, he’s actually a fine actor and he chooses his roles cleverly. He could have gone for the commercial mainstream parts, but he does a lot of these weird indie things. And he does it well.

The movie didn’t get a local release though. It didn’t get a wide release at all. But it’s available on iTunes and highly recommended. Unless you can’t stand bloodshed and want a logical story. Then this is not for you. But try it, you may be impressed by the cool cinematography.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6738136

The Foreigner – (*)

Posted: April 20, 2018 in 1/2, 2017, Action, Revenge, Terrorist

This is a mess. A real mess.

The title is deceiving. This isn’t about a ‘foreigner’, it’s about a series of attacks by a new radical IRA.

Jackie Chan, who plays an Asian restaurant owner who loses his daughter in one of the attacks, is out for revenge. He’s a well-trained soldier and determined to find and eliminate the bombers on his own.

Ok. Good premise.

But then somehow, Jackie Chan disappears in the story and Pierce Brosnan’s character becomes a central figure. He plays a politician, with links to the old IRA and is now not only dealing with a mad ‘Chinaman’ who’s haunting him, but also with his political friends, who are betraying him and with the British PM, who’s accusing him of the attacks.

Then Pierce Brosnan disappears from the screen and they focus on the bombers and their next attacks and the British who try to stop them. Oh and on a hitman who Brosnan’s character hires to kill Jackie’s character.

It’s a mess. A real mess.

And the IRA, really? Why make a movie about fictitious IRA terrorists? We finally kind of forgot they (still) exist. No need to bring paranoia back.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1615160

Another weird movie from the guy that brought us The Lobster. It’s so weird, it’s cool. It unsettling. It’s funny. It’s thrilling at times. It’s a visual treat. The story is again not that strong. (A heart specialist gets jinxed by the kid of a former, deceased patient of his. Now his family has to suffer as well.) But that doesn’t matter. It has a very remarkable opening shot. Go see it. It’s creepy. It sets the tone right. This is Francois Ozon meets Michael Haneke meets Ulrich Seidl. Colin Farell is great at these kind of roles. He’s really the only actor you can imagine playing this part. Nicole Kidman is also doing well. Even though she does all kinds of things you don’t want her to do really. (Get naked, play dead, smoke, hit children,…) There’s that scene where she jerks off a guy to get information. She does it so well. It makes you wonder whatever she did with Harvey Weinstein to get where she is now. Nevertheless. Great acting. Raffey Cassidy is one to watch out for as well. And that Barry Keogh kid kills it! Just go see it and then feel like WTF.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5715874

A young girl needs to go live with her dad while her mother goes away on a longer holiday with her new boyfriend. The dad works at a slaughterhouse and has a tough time making ends meet. He lives in an apartment, where pets are not allowed. So when his daughter moves in with her dog tensions rise. At one point the dog is abandoned and left at its own devices in the Hungarian capital. He soon finds some fellow street dogs to hang with and try to survive. But when he’s taken to an asylum during a dog razzia, things change. Because of all the following misfortune, he turns into an evil dog looking for revenge. And his former loving caretaker cannot save him.

This is one depressing animal misery movie. There’s only some action and horror at the end. Once the dog is out for revenge, he’s a killer machine. It would have been much cooler and interesting if this really was a revenge movie in the likes of Planet Of The Apes. Now it’s more about a girl who feels abandoned by her mother and needs to adapt to a new situation (living with her dad). The fact that the dog gets abandoned and needs to adapt to a new situation (living on the street, in the asylum, with a trainer who preps him for dog fights…) doesn’t make the movie any more interesting.

Yes, it’s good to see a movie like this with real dogs and no computer animation. Yes, it’s pretty amazing to see all these dogs run through the almost empty streets of Budapest. Yes, it’s fascinating to see the dog perform really well (they used two). But in the end, there are only a few scenes where it looks fascinating. For the most part, the story just sucks.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2844798

Hm.

There’s something really disturbing about this movie that is difficult to digest if you have given up on religion as something good. It’s constantly referring to it, in particular the christian faith. The bible and christianity have both been used by slave owners and slave/civil rights resistance leaders as a source for their cause. That’s a known fact. But in this tale,  there’s just too much focus on it.

Sure, it’s the core of the story: a young slave learns to read the bible and then is later used to preach the bible to rebellious slaves so they can obey their masters again. At one point the man is ordered to preach a verse that goes like this: “Slaves, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.” (Peter 2:18-19). That’s in the bible! And however you interpret it or put it in a historical context, it’s VILE.

Then of course things go wrong, at which point a fellow slave asks with reason: “Where is God now?”

Birth Of A Nation is the story of this preaching slave who uses his faith and skills to start a slave rebellion after having seen too much unchristian misery. It’s based on true facts. The man did exist and he did transform from an obedient slave to a wrathful revenge rebel. So no critique there. It’s wel directed and well acted by Nate Parker. (and other members in the cast). Yet somehow it’s not as engaging as it should be. And that’s not because there are hardly any ‘good’ white people on screen. It’s just focusing so damn much on religion that you feel like the director wants people to believe faith is something good and will guide you through vengeance.

Revenge can be cool. Ask Quentin Tarantino. But revenge out of faith is just annoying and disturbing. But that’s probably the whole point of the movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4196450

Nocturnal Animals – **

Posted: January 12, 2017 in 2016, Drama, Revenge, Thriller, USA, XX

The trailer promises a total different kind of movie, but Nocturnal Animals is still worth the watch. Just don’t expect a classic thriller. It’s very stylish. After all, it’s Tom Ford who directed it. And it has the ever excellent Amy Adams in the lead role. She’s an art curator who’s not in a very happy place when the movie starts. Her husband is cheating on her and she doesn’t get any satisfaction from her job. Her state of mind doesn’t improve when she receives a novel written by her ex husband…

You don’t need to know more. Watch it and draw your own conclusions.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4550098