|SHADOWS ON THE WALL | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK|
dir John Hillcoat
scr Matt Cook
prd Marc Butan, Bard Dorros, Anthony Katagas, Keith Redmon, Christopher Woodrow
with Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Winslet, Anthony Mackie, Woody Harrelson, Clifton Collins Jr, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Gal Gadot, Teresa Palmer, Michael K Williams, Michelle Ang
release UK 19.Feb.16, US 26.Feb.16
Who do you trust? Mackie and Affleck
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
With fierce energy and style, this edgy thriller holds the interest simply by keeping everything moving. Although as it progresses, there's the gnawing sense that there's absolutely nothing going on beneath the surface. Fortunately, the cast is strong enough to add depth and texture to the characters, while director John Hillcoat keeps the tension high.
After Terrell (Ejiofor) and his crew (Mackie, Collins, Paul and Reedus) carry off a dangerous bank heist for cold-hearted Russian mobster Irina (Winslet), she insists that they do an even more difficult job before she pays them. Terrell has a son with Irina, so doesn't have much choice. But his team is made up of unstable hotheads and corrupt cops, one of whose new partner Chris (Affleck) is the nephew of a jaded detective (Harrelson) who's working out what's going on. So as the next big heist approaches, pretty much anything can happen.
The title refers to the police code for a downed officer, which is how the thieves plan to distract the Atlanta police force. The question is which cop is going to get shot. But then, the script layers in so many twists and turns that it's not easy to trust any of these characters, let alone find a sympathetic one. Each person pushed into various corners, forced to compromise whatever sliver of morality they might have left.
Ejiofor is excellent as usual in a complex but underwritten role as a man in the middle of a storm. He doesn't want to loose access to his son, so is willing to do anything for the shark-like Irina, whom Winslet plays brilliantly against type with scene-stealing relish. Harrelson is terrific as a wheezy but by no means ineffectual veteran. And Affleck is essentially the hero, although he's never likeable, bullheadedly charging into situations without bothering to understand what's happening.
Each role in this film is lacerating. These people are so on-edge that it's just a question of who will lose their cool first, bringing everyone down with them. So it's rather frustrating that the film has so little nuance. There's no sense of larger issues swirling around in the lives of the characters, and there's very little depth in their inter-relationships. So as the plot spirals violently into its gritty final scenes, the audience is gripped to the story without actually caring who lives or dies.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
|Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.|
© 2016 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
HOME | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK