Category Archives: crime

True Detective (series, season 3) (2019)

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After a few years of silence, here we have the third season of “True Detective”. The first season was brilliant, the second less so, it was different, good, but not like the first season. This review of the third season is a bit like that of the second.

The first two episodes are great and like the first season. Very slow and minimalist, a droning soundtrack that suggests something terrible. Then we continue with a police investigation of two quite different officers, quite like in the previous series. The initial investigation is repeated a decade later and again later, so we get the story in three time-lines. The case itself looks small. Two kids get lost. Initially something sinister is suggested, but as the investigation continues, the focus of the series goes more to the drama of the investigators and the parents of the lost kids.

The series gets a bit of a Memento edge as one of the main characters’ memory starts to fail him in the timeline in which he is old. The story of the lost children is told in bits and pieces and in the three timelines only slowly clearing things up.

Season 3 is descent, mostly moody and well-written, but just as the previous one, 3 does not really rise above the level of descent.

Crying Freeman – Christope Gans (1995)

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I thought that I bought some hip action film as a ‘spare film’, but only when I put it on, I noticed that it was directed by Gans who made some more descent films.

The freeman from the title is a killer for the Chinese maffia. When a woman sees him working, she is supposed to be killed too, but the freeman has second thoughts.

Then we jump forward to a feud between Japanese and Chinese maffia and the freeman’s mythical reputation. The film being based on a comic gives it a somewhat ‘poetical vibe’.

What really adds to the atmosphere are the slow, stretched scenes with 1990’ies synth music, very moody. The scenes are often dark. There are some weaker scenes, but overall I found “Crying Freeman” unexpectedly moody with here and there a violent shootout.

Fargo (series) (season 3 2017)

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Once again the creators of the series have found an unlikely story in a remote part of the USA.

We meet the brothers Stussy, both played by Ewan McGregor. One is rich (Emmit), the other jalous (Ray). The feud gets kindled when the jalous brother hooks up with a client.

Emmit has another problem. Trying to save his business he took a loan from a shady middle man who now comes to take over his business. These two problems start to strangely mix again making a “Fargo” with weird situations, black humor and violent outbursts.

This time there does not immediately seem be a connection between the stories of the previous ‘Fargos’. It is again an amusing series with a weird, weird true story.

Lords Of Chaos – Thomas Åkerlund (2018)

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Somewhere around 1990 I rolled into extreme metal. Then in 1991 we hear about the debut cd of the Swiss band Samael (“Worship Him”) and me and a friend started to explore the genre called “black metal”, a Satanic kind of metal. Samael was about the first album that peeked out of the underground, but that underground proved to be vast. Especially from Scandinavia came a plethora of extreme bands with a distinctive style (high pitched guitars, high pitched vocals). There was also a scene in the Netherlands and we soon started to meet the few other people who enjoyed this extreme form of music and philosophy. In several ways it was adversary to other metal scenes. Sure, there was headbanging, but as soon somebody started to try to “pogo” / “mosh” (jump around in front of the stage) or “stagedive”, he was usually kicked out. I remember the bassist of Marduk kicking a stagediver off stage. “No Fun, No Core, No Mosh, No Trends” was the scene motto.

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Mr. Nice – Bernard Rose (2010)

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When the dull but clever Howard Marks goes to Oxford University he is introduced to different types of drugs. Soon he becomes a reseller and then a spider in an elaborate trafficking business.

As his empire grows, problems arise, but usually Marks overcomes them with his amusing Welch way of handling things. Getting caught up in Irish independence conflicts, Middle Eastern conflicts he ends up trying to penetrate the biggest market in the world: America.

Naivity, humor and practicality bring Marks a long way, but eventually he is stopped in his endeavors and he finds another, legal, way to use his fame.

“Mr. Nice” is an amusing film about the 1970’ies and 1980’ies drug scene.

Revolver – Guy Ritchie (2005)

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Ah yes there was this period in which all kinds of hip crime comedies were made with difficult stories. Of course Guy Ritchie contributed to the genre with films such as “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch“.

In “Revolver” Ritchie looked up the extremes of the genre. There are the witty dialogues, a film that is monologued by the main character and a story that gets more and more complex. There is not just the continuing question of ‘who is Keyser Söze‘, but Ritchie added a split personality of a man discussing with himself worked out with pretty much over-the-top montage which gets annoying towards the end.

“Over-the-top” is actually a description goes for the film as a whole. It is not a boring watch, but the director overdid himself trying to make a hip and complex crime story.

Kvinden I Buret – Mikkel Nørgaard (2013)

Again a Scandinavian crime film in which the international title is completely different from the original. The title translates to ‘woman in a cage’, but the international title is “Department Q: Keeper Of Lost Causes”.

Initially we see two cops get shot. One of them remains in the hospital, while the other is sent to the basement to investigate cold cases. One of these cases leads Karl and his new partner Assad to continue investigating, much against the will of their colleagues.

The storyline that the original title refers to is a bit far-fetched, but the case unfolds nicely making “Kvinden” a descent yet typical Scandinavian crime film. Judging IMDb, the duo that are here Karl and Assad return in other films.

Bandits – Barry Levinson (2001)

Cheap entertainment, but amusingly so. Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton are great as an unlikely bank-robbing couple. Willis is of course the macho. Thornton the weird intellectual. Blake and Collins run into the gorgeous Kate Wheeler (Cate Blanchet) who joins them on their robbing trip. Nothing unexpected happens. Both men fall in love with Kate and in the end this situation leads them to being caught.

Willis, Thornton and Blanchet obviously had a fun time shooting this film. There are some witty dialogues and amusing (yet predictable) situations. Indeed, cheap entertainment, but amusingly so.

The film has some good (forgotten) music too.

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.