Category Archives: crime

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.

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.