Category Archives: thriller

Il Cartaio – Dario Argento (2004)

Argento has been one of the big names in the Italian horror genre “giallo” for a couple of decades. I have seen a few of those. The films are mostly marked by beautiful women, over-acting and bright-red-blood-splattering. With “The Card Player” I saw a more recent film from the genre.

The acting is still awful. The Italian actors try to speak English and Argento still seems to try to shock with brutality and weeping women. I am afraid it all is unconvincing to me…

The police from Rome has to play online poker against a kidnapper who kills his victims when he wins the game. The story unfolds with no surprises and the film only gets interesting in a vague scene about halfway.

Not my type of film I fear.

Closed Circuit – John Crowley (2013)

In the 1990’ies the court thriller was a real genre. “Closed Circuit” is a bit of an updated version of that genre.

In a contemporary story we follow the events after a terrorist attack in London. One suspect is apprehended and brought to court. Two ex-lovers are assigned to defend him, but it soon becomes clear that the man is already convicted.

Crowley made a descent court thriller that becomes a bit more of an action thriller as the film goes on. The film has wel built-up tension.

Perhaps an unsurprising, but certainly descent film.

Solace – Afonso Poyart (2015)

Another serial killer thriller in which an FBI team consults a psychic who is played by Anthony Hopkins. Of course the FBI team has a skeptical member who grows to being a believer.

“Solace” starts as an alright thriller. The story has no surprises, but the atmosphere improves when the film gets a bit vaguer in the second half. Hopkins is again good in his role as creepy old man.

A descent thriller in a milked out genre and with no surprises.

Nocturnal Animals – Tom Ford (2016)

This not too convincing film contains two stories. In the ‘real world’ we follow a rich art-lady whose life does not go exactly as she hoped. She receives the manuscript of a book of her ex and that story is the other half of “Nocturnal Animals”.

In the book a family is driven off an abandoned road. The man is dropped out of a car, the wife and daughter are later found dead. With the help of a policeman, the man tries to find the men responsible.

Both stories start to run through each other. This results in a few descent scenes, but overall the film is a not too good drama with thriller elements.

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.

Cypher – Vincenzo Natali (2002)

Man, what an awful film… I already did not like Natali’s “Splice” (2009) too much, but perhaps I thought to remember I found it alright?

“Cypher” is, to me, a film that fails on all points. There is a totally annoying story that has a plot shift every other second. The acting is awful. There are tries on vague scenes which are boring. For 90 minutes I have wondered how long it has been since I saw a film as bad as this. I sat it out, but when I had to go to the bathroom towards the end, I did not even use the pause button…

A dull man is hired by a company to be a spy. Then he is hired by the competition as counter spy and then by a third party. Both companies try to brainwash the man to try him to be another person. A Japanese looking lady seems to try to help him, but is that true? The aims of both companies seem to be nonexistent.

90 Minutes of annoyance. I cannot make more of “Cypher”. I like a weird film, but this is just bad.

Nerve – Henri Joost & Ariel Schulman (2016)

Damn, a teen movie. From the beginning it is clear that I am a few decades older than the target audience…

The zombie generation has a new game to play and follow 24 hours a day on their phones and which makes people famous who would normally be ignored. Just as the kids do all kinds of “challenges” nowadays, the game “Nerve” combines all that in a big game. “Watchers” pay to follow the game, “players” get challenges from the “watchers”. Performing them brings them money, at the end of the day one “player” wins and wins the big bucks. The “players” are watched constantly by the crowd throw their phones’ cameras.

The challenges go from ‘kiss a man you never met’ to ‘hang from a construction on top of a skyscraper’. The “watchers” manage to come up with the next challenge through a chat with 4000 people within seconds and the organizers of the game miraculously have insight in the complete lives of their “players” so they can share their fears with the “watchers” and also transfer money to their banks and withdraw it.

Needless to say that at the center of this all there is a pretty girl that is not popular at school, but works her way up in the game, sees how stupid it is and manages to shut it down.

Pretty boring it all is. The film does contain some messages for the zombie generation and their challenges and online lives though.