Category Archives: crime

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.

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.