Tag Archives: thriller

The Fall (season 1)


Main Cast: Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan, John LynchBronagh WaughNiamh McGrady;

I decided to watch this for two reasons: I like detective stories with a leading lady and I heard that Jamie Dornan was cast in Fifty Shades of Grey because of his role in The Fall. Let me clarify the latter: I haven’t read the books nor I saw the movie but, since I don’t live under a rock, I’ve read reviews and commentaries about both (some pretty hilarious!) and I find telling that an actor who received good reviews for his performance as serial killer is considered an apt choice to embody a billionaire with a predilection for BDSM… well, he’s more a controlling sadist but let’s not open that can of worms. So back to the series in question. The story is pretty straightforward: driven and experienced detective Stella Gibson (Anderson) is looking for a serial killer who targets pretty brunettes with good jobs in Belfast. Gibson is from London and on a different task when she reaches Belfast. Being smart and with years of police work under her belt, she makes a connection between two separate murders that eluded all her local colleagues and sets up a task force to deal with this unstoppable criminal. Anderson is very good at bringing out both the tough and the caring side of Gibson, but keeping her past shrouded  in mystery. The viewer also meets right away said serial killer: Paul Spector (Dornan), grief counselor with a very particular hobby. Unfortunately for Dornan, those puppy dog eyes of his do him a disservice here and prevent him from truly selling the psychotic murderer persona of Paul Spector. He does manage to give off some creepy vibes but there’s nothing in his demeanor really menacing or chilling, which is a pity since the audience spends so much time in Spector’s company. I wasn’t asking a performance at the level of Hopkins’s Hannibal (or Mikkelsen’s) but something more was needed to make Spector a worthy villain and this hunted/be-hunted story more convincing. What I like a lot is the Northern Ireland settings: the scenery, the light and the accents! The supporting cast is solid and helps improve the quality of each episode: Waugh as Sally Ann Spector, Paul’s wife, John Lynch as Jim Burns, the local chief of police with a personal relationship with Gibson, and Niamh McGrady as Danielle Ferrington, a determined policewoman who joins Gibson’s team. In the end I’m left with mixed feelings about this first season, well, only five episodes. There are a few strong points but nothing really revolutionary about the plot or the characters. Ambivalent —5.5/10




This post is part of The Begorrathon 2015 hosted by Niall at The Fluff Is Raging and Cathy at 746 Books, go to their blogs and check all the other contributions out!


Filed under TV-shows

Broken City

Director: Allen Hughes, Main Cast: Mark WahlbergRussell CroweCatherine Zeta-JonesJeffrey WrightAlona Tal

An ex-cop (Wahlberg) becomes a P.I. after playing vigilante and killing a murderer/rapist, he is cleared of all charges thanks to the “benevolent” interference of the mayor  (Crowe)  and the police commissioner (Wright). Seven years later, during the last week before elections, he’s hired to follow the mayor’s wife (Zeta-Jones) and get proofs of a love affair. He thinks it’s a straightforward job with a nice paycheck but he finds himself involved into something more complicated and dangerous. Election day for mayor is getting closer and the challenger seems to gain support or at least have an ace up his sleeve for the mayoral debate. All falls apart when his campaign manager is shoot dead, who coincidentally appeared to meet in secret with the first lady of the city. Our hero or, better, anti-hero since his record is far from pristine, decides to dig deep and find out about the mayor’s dirty financial business. Quite predictably the Good triumphs while the hero sacrifices himself. The conniving politician is exposed and brought down and all is back to rainbows and puppies (yeah right…if only…). Well, what can I say? Boring, simplistic, predictable to a fault. Mark Wahlberg is less expressive than John MaClane’s wife-beater and Russell Crowe is inevitably bidimensional, due to the terrible script, he was trying his best. Disappointing –4/10

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Filed under Seen at home

Side Effects

Director: Steven Soderbergh, Main Cast: Rooney MaraChanning TatumJude LawCatherine Zeta-Jones

A young woman (Mara) falls back into depression after her husband (Tatum) comes out of jail after a 4 year stint for inside trading. She seeks help after an attempt suicide, starts seeing regularly a psychiatrist (Law) and taking medication. Things do not improve until she tries a brand new anti-depressant and begins to flourish. Up to this point the film seems a story about monsters from the id and how to deal with them, well, not really because the plot thickens when Mara’s character kills her husband (Tatum dead so early in the movie is a treat!) while she’s sleepwalking…a side effect of her medication. The focus of the tale moves to the psychiatrist and the unraveling of his life; he desperately tries to understand what happened  and uncover a very cunning scheme. Soderbergh’s moral is: greed is what moves the world. The cinematography and the lights are effective to set the mood and the cast is quite convincing but not enough to really sell the story. It felt disconnected, which maybe was the whole point. —6/10


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Director: Denis Villeneuve, Main Cast: Hugh JackmanJake GyllenhaalViola DavisPaul DanoTerrence HowardMaria BelloMelissa Leo

Dark, grim thriller set in America’s suburbia in which, surprisingly, none of the characters is very likable. The peace and quite of Thanksgiving’s afternoon is shattered when two girls are gone missing. Hugh Jackman is the bereft father of one of the missing girl, who has an Atlas complex and also happens to be a control freak with daddy issues (it turns out to be a deadly combination). Maria Bello is his listless and submissive wife, who just fall into pieces. Terrence Howard and Viola Davis are the parents of the other missing girl who adopt a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with regard to the extreme measures taken by Jackman’s character to find his daughter. Jake Gyllenhaal is the local detective with stellar record but also a clear workaholic, rough around the edges and with a serious temper.  Paul Dano is the mentally challenged, creepy guy wrongfully (?) arrested because he was driving a battered RV and Melissa Leo is his “sweet” but jaded aunt. The film’s somber mood is accentuated by grey skies, pouring rain, snow and ice; the director uses the emptiness and the silence to increase the anxiety of the audience. We watch two men unravelling while they rush down different paths, looking for answers and hoping against hope to save the day. All the cast does a solid job but Dano and Leo are the real scene stealers: kudos! The director leaves us with a sort of open ending: nothing is really straightforward and, maybe, we are all prisoners…like rats in a maze.–7.5/10


Filed under Seen at the cinema