Category Archives: crime

Kraftidioten – Hans Petter Moland (2014)

The international title “In Order Of Disappearance” is a bit dull compared to the original, which would compare to something like ‘power idiots’. However, the international title does refer to the story.

In the “Fargo”-like snowy landscape of Northern Norway plays a story in which a young man is found dead and his father goes after the men responsible for that. The atmosphere of “Kraftidioten” reminds of “Fargo” with similar black humor. There are long shots and slow scenes that remind a bit of “True Detective“.

The story may have little surprises, but Stellan Skarsgård is great as the father going after the cocaine traffickers that killed his son.

A very good film I do not know what to say more about.

The Maltese Falcon – John Huston (1941)

It does not work out too well, looking for old “noire” films…

“The Maltese Falcon” is an alright detective / crime film from a long time ago, but I did not find it really much better than alright. The story is well enough though. A private detective is hired by a young woman who soon proves to have other plans than the one she gave the detective. But so does he! And everybody else in the film. The plots twists and turns nicely.

Not bad, but not really what I hoped for.

La Ragazza Che Sapeva Troppo – Mario Bava (1963)

I actually expected a “giallo” film. One of these 1960’ies Italian bloody horror films. In fact, Bava made a crime ‘whodunnit’.

A perfectly Italian speaking American tourist comes to Rome to visit an acquaintance. The woman dies instantly, on her way to the hospital Nora is not only robbed, but also witnesses a murder. Since nobody believes her, she starts her own investigation in what most likely is a serial killer.

Bava made a moody black and white film with his usual beautiful women and a very descent atmosphere. The supposed surprises are probably no surprises for an audience that is used to more elaborate riddles, but even when you have guessed the outcome early on, “The Evil Eye” remains a watch-worthy classic.

The original title fits the film a lot better than the international title by the way. It translates to: “The Girl Who Knew Too Much”.

The Good Thief – Neil Jordan (2002)

The last film of my box with “zeros” classics. None of them were really good, but neither was any of them really bad. “The Good Thief” features an actor who played in many films in these days, but none good enough to really remember the man: Nick Nolte.

Nolte plays the character referred to in the title of the film and does this very well. Bob is a known criminal and drug addict who somehow manages to be on good terms with everybody. This might be because he tries to help people.

While trying to help Anne, Bob and a couple of colleagues set up a plan for a big “heist” while everybody is watching them. A film develops in which the viewer is left to guess how Bob is going to pull off his plan. This is filmed with subtle humor and a descent atmosphere.

Not a bad film, but just one to watch on TV on some lost night or something.

Confidence – James Foley (2003)

Here we have one of these hip crime films with a story that keeps trying to put the viewer on the wrong leg.

A group of criminals rids people off their money with elaborate scams. When they accidentally rob a courier of the main local criminal, they need to find a way to get out of the situation without getting killed. This results in them having to perform their art to another influential criminal. A team is gathered and the rest of the film tries to keep the viewer wondering who is pulling the strings.

“Confidence” is an alright film with some typical humor for the genre, a fairly impressive cast and descent acting.

City By The Sea – Michael Caton-Jones (2002)

I very common, but descent police drama. Robert de Niro is a detective who is put on a case in which a drug dealer was killed and dumped into a river. The prime suspect turns out to be his son. So we get a fairly typical police film with some extra drama.

Besides De Niro we also see Frances McDormand and a daughter of Robert de Niro.

Certainly not a must-see, but also not a waste of time.

Bridge Of Spies – Steven Spielberg (2015)

A fairly typical American spy film. During the Cold War a Russian spy is caught and to give the idea of a fair trial, a random lawyer (Tom Hanks) is appointed. The lawyer takes his job seriously. A bit too seriously according to some.

After defending the Russian spy, the lawyer is also involved in the trading of the spy against an American spy that was caught by the Russians. A very political game unfolds in Western Germany.

Perhaps “Bridge Of Spies” is not a too typical American spy film. The lawyer’s patriotism is not quite the same as that of his fellow Americans. In fact, he manages to point to the flaws in his supposed role accurately.

The film is is descent, but perhaps a bit too typical.

Bai Ri Yan Huo – Yi’nan Diao (2014)

“Black Coal” is a slow-paced and fairly typical Eastern crime film. We start in 1999 when different parts of a body are found in different coal factories. The crime is not solved. Then we jump a couple of years ahead meeting the people of 1999 in different settings. Apparently the murders have continued and so does the investigation.

With the typical blunt Eastern humour, clumsy characters and strange dialogues, the police works towards the killer. The film is amusing, but -as I said- fairly typical.

Murder On The Orient Express – Kenneth Brannagh (2017)

The famous detective of Agatha Christie from 1934 has been made into a probably more famous film in 1974 and not Kenneth Brannagh has a new take on it. I do not know the book and have probably seen the original film at some point, but do not remember much of it.

I think it was the cast that caught my attention. It includes Penélope Cruz, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judy Dench and Willem Daffoe. The director plays the main character Hercule Poirot himself.

The film looks very 1980’ies. I suppose Brannagh wanted to stay close to the 1974 film. This makes that the film has a very low speed, a lot of dialogue and monologue and the atmosphere of an old detective. Besides the somewhat ‘hip’ opening scene, Brannagh’s version looks more like a remake than a contemporary film of the book. You can guess that compared to nowadays crime film (including remakes of classics) the film is somewhat dull. My guess is that this was exactly Brannagh’s intention.

The film is alright, but I do not know if really brings anything new after the 1974 film. Perhaps actors we still know, but …

A Simple Plan – Sam Raimi (1999)

This film is a lot like “Fargo” (1996), it only lacks the black humor of that classic.

In a snowy, small community, three people pick up a stupid plan that can only go wrong. Improvising they turn to violence and greed puts stress on their relation. From the beginning it is clear that they are going to have a run-in with organised crime. As in “Fargo” the naivety is stunning.

“A Simple Plan” is by far not as good as the Coen film. It is but a somewhat enjoyable film.