Category Archives: crime

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.

Twin Peaks (series, season 3 2017)

I would be lying if I said that I have been a ‘Peaky’ for 25 years, but it has been certainly more than two decades since I watched the series every couple of years and I have followed Peak-freak groups for many years. These groups, of course, only contained ‘die-hard fans’ when the series had faded from the public eye. Then a while ago there was a stir within the fan base, since, did Laura Palmer not say: “I will see you in 25 years” at the end of the original series? Would Lynch (and Frost) indeed revamp the series? For a while Lynch denied, but either or not persuaded by all the attention, at some point he confirmed that work was done on a new season. Not too much later the filming had actually started, again in Snoqualmie, and people who went there to see what was going on, could see what actors were involved. Actors were confirmed, rumors wandered around the rest and in the end the new season was put out with a massive amount of publicity. Mark Frost even published a book. Suddenly everybody was a Twin Peaks fan and had been one for 25 years. Continue reading

Breach – Billy Ray (2007)

I do not mind a typical Hollywood production every once in a while, but two in a weekend was a bit too much.

“Breach” is a descent, but unsurprising, spy thriller in which a young FBI-agent-to-be is assigned to follow the tracks of a high ranked colleague and spy. Of course the two grow a bond and the young man is tossed between loyalty to his new boss (and subject) and his employer.

Not badly done, but like I said, very unsurprising.

Cure – Kiyoshi Kurosawa (1997)

A not too convincing crime thriller from the far East. “Cure” has a fairly slow pace, but does have the Eastern bloodiness. Storywise the film reminds of a particular X-Files episode.

A city is plagued by a series of gruesome and similar murders, but each time with another killer. The police sets out to find the pattern which indeed they find out giving the film a psychological twist.

Like I said, not too great.

Collateral – Michael Mann (2004)

A descent crime thriller with a 1980’ies feel.

Max is a taxi driver who picks up what appears to be a business man. Vincent (Tom Cruise) proves to be in the business of hired killing though and the two set out for an unlikely drive through the nightly streets of LA.

The film contains good dialogues, good acting and a story that may perhaps not be too surprising, it is worked out well and works well too.

“Collatoral” may not be a ‘high flyer’, but if you feel like watching an uncomplicated, yet descent film, it could be a title to pick.

Chugyeogja – Hong-jin Na (2008)

“The Chaser” is an entertaining film from the far East. A pimp thinks somebody kidnaps and sells his girls. When he sends out his last girl, he thinks he has an idea about whom is responsible for the kidnappings, so he goes out for a chase.

“Chugyeogja” contains the usual elements for this type of film. Black humor, bloody violence, stupid policemen. Especially funny are a couple of chaotic scenes.

The film is never really surprising, nor is it of the dark Eastern type. Rather an amusing crime thriller.

Fargo (series) (season 2 2015)

I have good memories of season 1, which I remember is quite like the film. Reading back my review of July 2015, this is not really the case though. Somehow I had the idea that I had seen season 2 already and when season 3 came I noticed I had not seen season 2 yet. Time to do something about that!

The story is season 1 is that of the film, but with more context. So what would the story be of season 2? Do small, snowy cities have more violent crimes? Apparently they do, since season 2 takes us back to 1979 in which a clash between two criminal groups runs completely out of control. Some civilians and local police officers get caught in the middle and a story as unlikely as that of the film and season 1 unfolds. The stunning naivety of some of the main characters gives plenty room for the black humor that accompanied previous Fargos and the cold-bloodedness of the criminals allows for violent outbursts and more black humor.

Now I do not know if you want to know this or not, but season 2 is not just similar story in a similar surrounding. Two characters that feature in season 2, return in season 1. Or put the other way around: season 2 is a “prequel”.

Just as season 1, season 2 is a fun watch, but by and far not as good as the Coen film. Since there are only 10 episodes, the music (especially in the earlier episodes), characters, story and atmosphere are well done, I would say that this second season is not a waste of time though.

Deja Vu – Tony Scott (2006)

It probably sounded like a good idea for a story. A special investigation team found a way to look 4,5 days back in time, so they can retrace people’s steps solving crimes. Things get highly unlikely when the hardware proves to be able to see everything in that past, even within apartments. If that is not enough, the package comes with a time traveling machine.

A ferry is blown up killing hundreds of people. ATF agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) proves to have a keen eye and his is recruited for the special team by Agent Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer). Soon the investigation focuses on a young lady who proved to have died before the ferry was blown up.

I found the unlikeliness of the hardware too annoying to ‘get into’ the film. Fortunately the acting makes up a bit, but when things take ‘unexpected’ courses, my annoyance level rises again and the end is even more incredible.

The film is alright with regards to filming, action and acting, but more thought had to be given to the central theme of the film.

Triple 9 – John Hillcoat (2016)

A descent crime-action-thriller in which a group of bad cops violently rob a bank. Severe pressure forces them to do another job.

We follow the cops in their normal and ‘other’ occupations and of course their group of colleagues trying to find the men who robbed the bank.

The film starts as a proper action film, but slowly becomes somewhat darker making a nice, gloomy atmosphere towards the end. The story shows that there are often more sides to a story. It does not really have many surprises, but it is good and worked out well.

Educazione Siberiana * Gabriele Salvatores (2013)

In this moody film John Malkovich plays the pater familias of a Siberian (criminal) family that has no respect for Russian law (enforcement), but has a strict code of its own.

The international title of this film seems to be “Deadly Code”, but the original title rather seems to mean “Siberian education”, which covers the film a lot better. We mostly follow a small group of youngsters growing up in a small, Siberian town, educated about the people’s ways by the grandfather of one of the boys. They are fed hatred for the regime and harsch ways of protecting their own ways.

The film is told in two stories, which are actually the same, but playing in different times, both of which give a peek into Russian ‘mafia’ and law enforcement.