Category Archives: crime

Dragged Across Concrete – S. Craig Zahler (2018)

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This is a very slow and fairly grim crime film. Mel Gibson plays Brett Ridgeman, an old and cynical police officer who goes in a little too hard catching idiots. When he is suspended he takes up an idea to provide for his family.

Ridgeman and his also suspended partner Anthony Lurasetti (Vince Vaughn) start following a drug dealer with the idea of taking some money that he does not need anyway. Of course things do not go entirely as planned and Rudgeman and Lurasetti run into a much bigger piece of crime than they hoped.

Quite some actors appear on the screen. Don Johnson, Udo Kier and Jennifer Carpenter. This does add a bit to the film, but it remains a quite nice, but not great film.

The House That Jack Built – Lars von Trier (2018)

Lars von Trier made a bit of an American Psycho type film. We follow Jack, a man with an obsessive-compulsive disorder but mostly a serial killer. The combination leads to Jack cleaning up houses of his victims thoroughly and checking multiple times for remains of blood.

We have Jack telling his story to his psychopomp. We get flashes of his violent youth, brutal murders and the things that go around in his head. All this is told with cold humour.

The filming seems to have been hand-held, but not completely ‘Dogma 95 proof’. It is mostly the way of filming that takes the film down a bit.

“The House That Jack Built” is a descent film, especially when you start to figure out how the film is meant to be. It is not a masterpiece, but when thinking big about the films that I saw from Von Trier, it is probably one of his better.

The Irishman – Martin Scorsese (2019)

Scorsese made a classic mafia film with classical mafia film actors such as Al Pacino, Robert de Niro and Joe Pesci.

Robert de Niro is the man from the title, a small time man who works himself up in the mafia ranks. Pacino is great at the overheated head of the truckers union and became one of the most powerful men in the USA.

The Italians in the USA have their hands in many businesses, often illegal. When the Kennedys rise to power, they start to get opposition, but fortunately that problem solves itself. Then internal problems occur that need to be taken care off.

“The Irishman” is an alright mafia film that in my opinion needed not to last for three-and-a-half hours. I must say that De Niro does not really convince.

Shimmer Lake – Oren Uziel (2017)

I saw this film last weekend and apparently forgot to review it. I do not remember much of it, which is probably a bad sign.

Both the Netflix announcement and IMDb immediately tell you that the film is told backwards. How inventive! Watching “Memento” (2000) for the first time, it is a lot more fun when you do not know the clue.

That said, some not too bright hillbillies think it is a good idea to rob the local bank. Of course everybody knows everybody in the small community, so it is not exactly difficult to figure things out. Just one character’s part in the whole scheme is somewhat elusive.

The film has a few descent jokes and amusing situations, but I do not remember many details, so I guess it was just alright.

The Poison Rose – Francesco Cinquemani & George Gallo (2019)

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The creators wanted to make a 1970’ies style film noir set in the 1970’ies. This worked out well for quite a bit.

John Travolta is the old, yet cool, private investigator Carson Philips. While he prefers to remain in L.A., he is sent for a job in his home-town in Texas, a town that he had left two decades before.

Travolta is also the voice-over, there are the typical introduction titles, way of filming, “femmes fatale” and silly, but good humour. Philips works himself into a web controlled by “Doc” (Morgan Freeman) and everybody seems to know Philip’s every move.

Of course the plots shifts a few times and Philips continues his investigations against all odds and prevails at the end.

The first three quarters are quite good, the ending is just fine.

Son Of A Gun – Julius Avery (2014)

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JR is sent to prison for six months where he lands between two gangs. Taken into protection by Brendan Lynch (Ewan McGregor as the tough guy) this naturally requires compensation. When JR is released, he is taken into Lynch’s gang and his first job is helping Lynch to escape.

After this JR is dragged from one job to the next, never feeling quite at his place and trying to find a way out of this world of heavy crime.

“Son Of A Gun” is an alright film with a very good McGregor.

Small Town Crime – Eshon Nelms (2017)

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John Hawkes (Sol in Deadwood) is great as Mike Kendall, an alcoholic ex-cop who can’t get his life back together.

After yet another drunken night he finds himself in a field and driving home, he finds a heavily wounded girl alongside the road and drives her to the hospital. When his old colleagues do not support his help in the investigation of this crime, Kendall decides to do the investigation himself.

What initially looks like a crime in a small town, proves to be a big muddle of ‘big town crime’ and Kendall works himself and the people he knows right into it.

In a nicely slow ‘Coen-like pace’ with similar harsh humour, the two directors Nelms tell their not too original story in a not too original style, but the result is an amusing film with the humour and violence typical for this type of film.

The Highwaymen – John Lee Hancock (2019)

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Woody Harrelson in a part in which we have seen him before. An old, grumpy police officer who is sent on a job in his old age. More surprising is that Kevin Kostner has the same part. Kostner as the touch guy. He handles it well, bur Harrelson is better in his part.

The two are retired government killers who get asked to get rid off the problem of Bonny and Clyde who drive through the country killing policemen and robbing banks and getting more famous as filmstars doing so.

“The Highwaymen” is a slow crime film. Not original in style, but well executed. Hamer and Gault try to get a step ahead of Bonny and Clyde. Initially they are the laughing stock of the 1000 men force of the FBI with the same assignment and the latest techniques. Of course Hamer and Gault find a way to get the job done.

Gotti – Kevin Connolly (2018)

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As you can see on the cover, John Travolta plays John Gotti. Gotti was an outsider who worked himself into one of New Yorks maffia families. Not entirely satisfied with ‘management’ he sets up a plan to take over when the second in charge passes away.

Travolta plays Gotti in different phases of his life, from relatively young to old and plagued by cancer. Travolta’s face looks… botoxed, but he still manages to convey emotions.

We follow John Gotti from the violent early days when he tried to make a name in the Gambino family. Lengthy parts are about his role as one of the local leaders and then, of course, we move to his moving up in the world and the media attention this brings.

“Gotti” is a descent film about the violent life of New York maffia and the family life that was part of it.

Rise Of The Foot Soldier – Julian Gilbey (2007)

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The violent life of Carlton Leach. As a youngster he was active as a football hooligan who liked to kick the shit out of people. Then he gets asked to be a bouncer for a club, a task he violently commits to. When he needs personnel, he gets his old mates. There are more clubs who need cleaning up and then the possibility arises to see to the security of drug deals. Of course then the step to violent crime is but a small one.

The film is full of brutal fighting, going over to torture and when the group gets a problem with the Turkish maffia, things really go out of hand.

The film makes quite a brutal watch. It is unimaginable what violence people are capable of. Of course his ‘work’ seeps into Leach’s private life as well.