Operation Mincemeat (2021)

The tale of a plan to deceive the German army about the British army’s invasion plans, using a dead body and fake documents.

This is a strange watch. Like all films about the second world war, it does lose a bit of tension because you ultimately know how it ends. For this, even if the deception doesn’t work, it’s not like England are going to lose. So even if the film ends with a personal loss, in the grand scheme it’s a win.

Spoilers, it works and Germany loses the war. Just once I want a film like this to end with “and then the Nazis fought back and won the war, the end” just to confuse the ever-loving fuck out of everybody, and as a social experiment as to how many people get their history knowledge from films.

But despite us knowing how it ends, and the writers knowing we know how it ends, it still tries to draw tension into it in the “will it work” way. I mean, the trailer says “MI5 began the greatest deception in human history”, not “attempted”, the trailer itself implies it works. So the attempted adding of tension to those moments robs the film of what it could be. You can make it tense for the characters but intercut it with scenes of the plan working so that the audience is viewing it from the perspective that we have now. It is possible for historical films to surprise you, The Duke did it marvellously, for example.

This isn’t too well known a story, so if they marketed it differently, it might have worked. Although me saying this all is missing the point, this is a film very much not about the destination, but about the journey. It is a good journey to take on. It’s astounding to see this happen, and how lucky it was that everything worked out the way it did. It’s fascinating to see it all unfurl, how it was done, how it nearly fell apart, and the lies they needed to tell to people so it would work. Not just to the enemies, obviously, but also to the family of the body they used.

It’s when the film turns away from its main focus that it loses something. The interpersonal relationships between the team just aren’t that interesting and feel very tacked-on and unnatural. It feels like the script has a lot of potential sub-plots in so that they could pick one and focus on that, and then forgot to delete the rest. These unfinished plots make it feel not so much a standalone film, and more like an episode in a series. The Ian Fleming references, for example, feel a bit too smug and annoying, like the film is taking a quick respite to say “this is the guy who wrote Bond and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”.

On the plus side, the performances are pretty good throughout, and it is a genuinely fascinating story. So in summary, I’d say you probably should watch it, but you don’t NEED to. It’s being released on Netflix in America, and think that’s the ideal place for it.

The Northman (2022)

Amleth is a young child who sees his father get brutally murdered by his uncle, who then marries the dead mans wife and takes his throne. Twenty years later, Amleth comes back for revenge.

I think Robert Eggers hates his audience. I don’t mean that in a negative way, I mean he refrains from explaining things and making it easier for you. He explores difficult concepts, and doesn’t hold your hand and walk you through it. He revels in making you play catch up, making it so you can’t sit back and rest, your brain has to constantly work. Visually he does his best to make you uncomfortable too, not so much with moments of extreme violence, but a lot of focus on the aftermath.

This is intense, and it won’t be for everybody. If you get a chance to see this with subtitles, take that chance as it will be a much better experience. Like I said, this film doesn’t care if you’re comfortable, if you miss an important piece of dialogue, it’s not going to repeat it or give you any indication of what happened. In a way I admire it, it’s good to see a director who doesn’t treat his viewers like idiots, but on the other hand, I am an idiot, so some bits seemed a bit “wait, what exactly is happening here?” Especially when it comes to character deaths, people die and you get the feeling they’re big deals, but the camera never gets a good look at their face, and they’re not named, so you’re trying to retroactively figure out who it was, and then it turns out they were characters you never really met so……

There’s quite a bit of wasted time in this, particularly at the start. It’s strange as when you’re watching it it doesn’t feel wasted, you can see why it’s there. But then once the main plot gets started (mainly once he gets on an island), you feel “maybe it should have started somewhat closer to here”, especially given how underwritten some of the other characters are, it could have cut some of the earlier scenes and replaced them with scenes fleshing out the other characters.

I do respect the realistic take on the characters. I mean, once you ignore all the mystical and Bjork. It doesn’t show the “heroes” as particularly heroic, the main character hangs around with a group who invade a town and massacre the inhabitants, brutally. It’s shocking to see on screen, it’s not just “chop chop stab stab ultra violence” violence, it’s cold, calculating and it’s evilness is only matches by the pointlessness of the actions. At one point, they set fire to a building. You sit there thinking “oh, they’re just destroying the town and driving the people out”. But then you hear screaming from inside, and banging on the door, and the full implications of what you’re watching are apparent. It’s horrific, disturbing, and would have made a better opening I think. If we started with an invasion on a town, all the horrific acts going on, and THEN realise that one of these guys is the hero, it would add more nuance to whether he’s really the good guy. As it is, it opens with him as a child, so that innocence is always in your brain and stops you seeing him as being as ruthless as he actually is when you think about it.

This has definitely not been marketed well. It’s been marketed as being like Gladiator, something aimed at the mass market. This isn’t like that at all. This has a niche audience, and I fear the trailer might have actually put them off (unless the director’s name hooked them in). This is more like The Count Of Monte Cristo than anything else it’s been compared to.

So in summary, there’s a high chance you’ll hate this; it’s mean-spirited, confusing at times, and slow. But then again, you may love it for the exact same reason. I’m glad I watched it, but don’t think I’ll need to see it again. I very much appreciated what has been done, just wasn’t for me. But there is a definite audience for this, and they will love it.

The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent (2022)

Quick synopsis: Unfulfilled and facing financial ruin, actor Nick Cage accepts a $1 million offer to attend a wealthy fan’s birthday party. Sadly this fan turns out to possibly be a drug lord, so the CIA get Cage to spy on the person for them.

Let’s face it, someone like Cage is perfect for this film. He’s not so much as an actor, as he is a living meme at this point. Capable of greatness, or being terrible. You never see a Cage performance and think “he was alright, nothing special”. He’s one of those people who you could hear any story about and believe. “hey, I heard Nicholas Cage slapped a Rhino with a sea bass” “yeah, that seems like something he’d do”.

So a film in which he plays himself, who gets roped into doing an investigation into a suspected drug lord? Perfect. The result? Well it’s not perfect, it is very, very good. It has a lot of laugh-out-loud moments, but just not consistently enough to consider it great. Also, there are too many issues which stop it from reaching the next level. What issues? Well I’m glad you asked, and your hair looks great by the way.

Well firstly, a big issue is that this has been done before. An action star who is having family trouble, being caught up in a crime? If you want to see how that’s done, watch JCVD, that’s a superb movie featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme giving (genuinely) one of the best performances you’ll ever see. The other issue is that ONLY Cage is playing himself. I’m okay with Sharon Horgan playing his wife, and there are other similar performances. Put Neil Patrick Harris is too big a name to just play Cage’s agent. When I first saw the trailer I assumed he was playing himself too, and he knew about the wealthy person who liked Cage because he’s been invited to his parties too. But nope, he’s just his agent. I feel it would have made more sense to have it as himself though, would have set Pedro Pascal’s character up as the kind of eccentric rich guy who pays celebrities to hang out with him. I kind of have a similar issue with Pascal, who is definitely too big a name to not known. But overall I’m more okay with that, because he is so much fun in this. He doesn’t normally do comedy, but he should, he has a talent for it, and him and Cage bounce off each other wonderfully.

The other downside? This could go further, it features moments where Cage is interacting with a younger version of himself. It’s a bit weird, happens enough that it is notable, but doesn’t happen enough to make you comfortable. I mean, it’s Cage, this has room to go a lot weirder, and it’s weird how refrained it is. I also have an issue with the fact that the guy we thought was good, turns out to have been good all along, and the actual villain is a guy we’ve seen only once or twice in the film, and then very fleeting.

I know this sounds negative, but I have had to be very nit-picky to make those points. Overall it’s a very fun watch. I’m glad I saw it, and probably will see it again if it’s on streaming services, or I find it cheap at a boot fair or charity shop. As I said before, it is very funny, even if some of those laughs have been ruined in the trailer. The plot makes sense, even when people make stupid decisions, you can understand the logic. It also has actual characters with their own personalities and motivations. This means that when the film aims to be emotional, it actually works.

So yeah, if you get a chance, go see it. But don’t rush out RIGHT NOW. Treat it like a deer, approach slowly and realise you may not see it.

Turning Red (2022)

Quick summary: A young teenager finds out her family members transform into red pandas when they come of age, unless they trap the red panda spirit in a talisman.

I had heard quite a lot of negative things about this, about how it’s overly sexual, makes references to abortions and periods. But those were from idiots, from people who’s opinions I actually trusted, they said it’s excellent. Turns out they were the correct. This feels like the closest Pixar has got to a sitcom in terms of how it introduces the characters. On that subject, it starts with her talking about making movies, but that never really hangs over the film like it does Mitchells Vs. The Machines. Also, the animation isn’t quite as good as Pixar usually does, but that says more about what they normally do than what this film does. Those are the few problems I have with this film. Otherwise? It’s stunningly beautiful.

I’m aware I’m not the target audience, it may be a surprise to you but I am not an Asian-Canadian teenage girl, but the characters are so well written that they’re very easy to relate to. For most people anyway, for Cinemablend reviewer Sean O’Connell it was too limiting in scope (direct quote: “By rooting Turning Red very specifically in the Asian community of Toronto, the film legitimately feels like it was made for Domee Shi’s friends and immediate family members. Which is fine — but also, a tad limiting in its scope”), presumably because if a film isn’t aimed at people who are exactly like him he dislikes it. Which is weird as he seems to like Batman movies, which make me think his parents were shot in alleyway, or he just has adolescent violent power fantasies and uses superhero movies so he can express his violent tendencies while still claiming to be morally superior.

But I still liked this movie. The characters are so easy to like, and the story is one that’s easy to identify with. Pixar are great at picking up on the little nuances that make people tick. Their films are as much character studies as they are stories. The performances are all great, it’s good to know that animation studios have continued their new casting technique of “casting people with same ethnic background as the characters”, who’d have guessed that would have better results than “hire a sitcom actor to do a funny accent”? It’s especially notable because the main character is voiced by Rosalie Chiang, and this is her first role. She knocks it out of the park and I hope this leads to more roles in her future. She’s getting quite a lot of plaudits, and rightfully so. But I feel a performer who is going under the radar in this is Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, who delivers such a brilliantly deadpan performance that her character provides some of the best moments. Other than that the film is mostly unknowns, with the exceptions of Sandra Oh, and James Hong. But if you’re going to see a Pixar film to hear famous actors, you’re going for the wrong reasons. You don’t go to them for that, you go to be broken slightly.

This does have a lot of important things to say about teenage independence, and about how parents need to actually let teens be teens (this is somehow a controversial thing, and is being fought against by the same people who say “let kids be kids”, and no, they don’t see the irony in that, they never do). This will hit people differently, young kids will just see it as a fun film about a teenager who turns into a panda, teenagers will see it as a story about a girl desperate for her own identity and to be treated differently, and parents will see it as as a tale about a fear of your child losing their innocence, and how you have to let them grow up and make mistakes in their own way.

In summary, this has replaced High Fidelity as the best example for me to use when I sell Petra to people. And for that I am grateful.

Dark Night (Episode 1: Update 3)

So, I’ve finished. Kind of. As I was writing, I took some bits out so I now need to make some bridges between plots. But this is what I’ve got as my basis, and I’m pretty proud. I’m not quite sure about the ending yet, but overall I think it’s pretty disturbing, and that’s what I’m going for.

As with all of these, feedback is very welcome, always looking for improvements.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore (2022)

Quick Synopsis: Dumbledore and Newt try to stop Grindelwald rigging an election, with magic!

I’ll start with the positive. Mads Mikkelsen is great, as he always is. He replaces Johnny Depp, who was fired after abuse allegations. If there’s one thing big movies like this cannot abide, it’s abusers, especially ones that are violent towards women. By sacking Depp they made it clear that there is no room for abusers in this cast, and that any sign of someone being an abuser, even just an accusation of abuse, will immediately result in that person not being in the film.

Ezra Miller is also in this.

Him being in the cast isn’t the biggest issue with this film. The biggest issue is just how dull this is. I just stopped caring very early in. I think part of it is an issue of tone. It’s trying too hard to be magical, in a way that’s not needed. The original Harry Potter series was about magic, but it took place in our world, and it was the mesh of those two that was interesting. This is almost all magic, they have wand fights randomly, there’s no talk of secrecy, they don’t check nobody is following them. It feels like the whole series takes place in a world which has already established magic, rather than one that is hiding one from people. It doesn’t help that magic is used weirdly, just to hold a cup in the air for a few seconds. It doesn’t make the witches and wizards look magical, it just makes them seem like lazy show offs.

It also provides a tonal problem. It shows us all this magic, all these impressive visuals designed to wow us, in between dialogue telling us the world is soon to be doomed. It doesn’t feel like a world on the brink of war. We all know now what it’s like to live in a world where a war is about to start which could destroy the world, we know that feeling. We know how people react in those situations, what they talk about. And it never comes across in this. Also, personally, I think they mess up the ending. They have a happy ending, but with a sense of “but bad things might still happen”. I feel it would be better if it had a downer ending. At the moment it’s “evil will be defeated”, a “sometimes evil wins and you need to figure out how to beat it” would be more relevant to modern times, especially if they are trying to compare the character to fascist dictators. He’s already been beaten a few times in this series, so he doesn’t feel as big a threat as he could. The series is so determined that each film should have a happy ending, that it hurts the overall narrative as the bad guys don’t get any momentum. They’re three films deep into the planned five, so the series only has one film really to set up Grindelwald as a massive threat to the wizarding world.

So in summary, I just didn’t care. It’s a problem that all prequels have, we know how it ends. We know Dumbledore and Grindelwald will duel, and Dumbledore will win. Yet it’s taking 5 films to get to that point, and it’s just not interesting enough to watch. It feels like it’s trying to be a heist movie, but lacks the cleverness, one of the main characters involved in it is so underwritten that if you took out his sections you’d lose nothing. It’s weird as his character has a moment where he has the memories of his dead sister taken away from him. This should be a big emotional moment, the inner torment leading up to that moment should sell how difficult this is for him. But it’s not, his character is so blank that even he looks sad, well that’s how he looks all the time so it doesn’t hit home. Long summary I know, but I just keep thinking of more reasons to say this was dull.

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (2022)

Quick synopsis: Robotnik comes back, very angry at Sonic. Robotnik has Knuckles, Sonic has Tails.

I found the first one fine. Wasn’t great, but wasn’t bad. Was one of the better video game adaptations, but not one of the better films in general. The kind of film you watch on Netflix while you’re homesick and need something simple.

This…..this is better. It’s very funny in parts, and has a MUCH better story than the first one. It also fixes some of the issues of the first film. It focuses more on Sonic and less on the human characters, realising that people that buy tickets to a Sonic movie, actually want to see Sonic. It also moves the action away from a crowded city, allowing the action to take place in natural environments. The games took place on grassland, so having so much of the first one take place in an urban area felt strange. This fixes that.

It also has a genuinely good story. It’s simple, but effective. And had a moment that actually surprised me. Especially since I didn’t know I was going to be surprised. It wasn’t like “I thought it was a straight drive from Point A to Point B, but one of the directions I took was different”, more like “I’m on a straight road and then a giant wooden Armadildo (nope, not a typo) appeared in front of me”.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t going to appear on my “best of” list at the end of the year. But if it’s on Netflix, I’ll probably watch it. If I need something on while I do something else, I might choose it. It’s just wholesome fun. It’s not trying to say something deep about humanity, or make you think melancholic thoughts about the universe. It’s just bright colours, comedic lines, actions and noises. Encanto was ABSOLUTELY the better movie, but I’d show kids this first.

The smartest thing this film does are the references to the games. And there are A LOT of references. This was clearly made by someone who has actually played the games, the little sound effects, the visual references, and similar camera angles, are all perfect. Some of the references are less subtle, there’s a coffee shop called “Mean Bean Machine”, and one of the Sonic themes is someone’s ringtone. But if you find a list of references, there WILL be some you miss.

It’s not perfect though. There are two problems from the original that they haven’t fixed in this one. One is personal opinion, some of the music choices feel too much like they’re chosen just to be “cool”, rather than working for the film. The second one is speed. Sonic is fast, and there are more than a few moments in this film where him remembering that fact would have ended a scene quicker. Like when he needs to get a map from a bar, and it’s attached to the bottom of someones foot who he is challenging to a dance contest. We’ve already seen (from the bar scene in the first film) that he could EASILY run, get the paper off the bottom of the shoe, and run back without anybody noticing. But he doesn’t. It’s a shame as it shows that the writers haven’t considered it. Him being fast means you have to be more creative with what problems you put in front of him, but this doesn’t do that. It puts the same problems to him, and then just doesn’t have him go fast.

The action, the world-building, the fact that even though the character is fast you can still tell what’s happening during the action scenes. It all adds up to a sentence I’d never thought I’d say:

This would have been a better MCU-adjacent film than Morbius. It also used Idris Elba than the Thor franchise did. He has tremendous personality with great comic timing, and him not being allowed to display any of those in the MCU is a massive waste of his talent.

It’s just overall a very solid film, it introduces the new characters well, establishing who they are and what their powers are so that even people who haven’t played the games will know what they can do. It also does a good job of making the villain imposing. You do sit there genuinely wondering how the heroes are going to win.

So in summary, go see it. It won’t change the world, but it will make your day better.

Morbius (2022)

Quick synopsis: After living his whole life with a dangerous blood disorder, Doctor Michael Morbius decides to try a radical approach, vampire bat blood. This turns him into a vampire of the non-sparkly variety.

This was originally supposed to be released in July 2020, and has been delayed multiple times since then. That kind of delay is never a good sign for a film, it usually indicates a lot of studio interference, which makes the film feel incredibly disjointed. That’s definitely the case here. It lacks a coherent vision. There are times when it feels like one of those assignments you had to do at school where one person would write a chapter, then someone else would write the next one etc. There are also quite a few moments where I felt like I missed something. A character is shown in hospital recovering from serious injuries, and in a pretty bad way. They’re established as being there in a lot of scenes, and then suddenly they’re being stalked by someone who is watching them through their bedroom window. When were they released? There wasn’t even much indication that they were getting better and suddenly they’re not only back home, but also completely recovered from their injuries, with no indication that they were ever hurt.

While that’s not shown, what is shown is not always needed. The bit in the trailer of him cutting his hand and then bats flying towards him? Not needed. That’s how the film opens, and it adds absolutely nothing. If we just saw the character in his lab with the bats, we’d know he got them. It’s even weirder that this scene is followed by a flashback of him and his “brother” in Greece growing up. I mean, it’s in Greece, but all the characters speak English, with American accents. Now you could say “oh they went there because it’s a specialist place that deals with those blood diseases”, but the bullies outside speak in English too. It feels lazy, and completely unnecessary. Just have the building in America. Yes, it changes the character backstory from the comics, but you’re doing that anyway. Fuck it, if it is important to you, if he absolutely MUST be from Greece, but you still want to cast an American, there’s a town in New York (Rochester, specifically) called Greece, just use that. Yeah, it’s cheating, but it’s not as though you’ve stuck to the comics with the rest of how you’ve treated him.

Now, onto the post-credits scene. It’s strange. The trailers featured The Vulture from Spider-man: Homecoming, so you knew he was in this film. Technically he’s not, he doesn’t appear until the post-credits scenes. So to clarify, they put the post-credits scene in the trailer. That’s really weird and also destroys the point of post-credit scenes, they’re supposed to be surprises. The nature of it just raises more questions. So for some reason, Vulture comes from the MCU universe to this one? He’s the only one this happens to. The only way this works is if he was originally from this universe, got transported to the MCU at some point, and then the events of No Way Home sent him back. Still requires explanation but still, it’s not as though that’s the only thing that raises questions (other questions, Morbius’s reaction to “I blame Spider-man” isn’t “who the f is Spider-man? Why would I blame him? This was all me”, where did Vulture get his equipment from in this new world? Doesn’t he miss his family? The prisons reaction to a stranger turning up from another universe is “meh, free him” rather than asking ANY questions about how he got there).

Now onto the absolute worst thing for me in this film, there’s a fight scene near the end which is among the worst I’ve ever seen. There’s a moment where there’s just an incomprehensible mess on screen for a few seconds, just a blur of brown and black. No need for that. That should not exist in a film this big and it’s a disgrace to modern cinema that it is. There are a lot of bad scenes in films this year, and there will be more, but that is almost a dead cert to win “worst scene” at end of year.

Now onto the good, the performances weren’t too bad, the character has clear motivations, the love interest doesn’t feel tacked on, and the music choices for the trailer were good. Although no matter how good Leto was in it, it has to be acknowledged he was a prick on set. He decided to method act, so would walk around very slowly using crutches, like his character. This meant his pee breaks took so long it was slowing down filming.

Congratulations Leto, you’re pissing off people who are working longer hours than you, for less money, and less recognition. I wonder whether his use of method acting is purely an excuse to be a massive prick to everybody. From what I’ve heard of his behaviour on Suicide Squad, seems the case. But it’s fan, the Hot Topic crowd love him. So films cast him, then make him ugly, but not TOO ugly, because they still want horny teens to buy tickets.

It’s a film you come out of thinking it’s stupid, although the more you think about it, the more you pontificate on what happened, the more you realise it’s actually INCREDIBLY stupid. And filled with characters who do stupid things. Like at one point he turns down a Nobel Prize because he was rewarded for discovering a new technique while trying to solve something else, so he sees it as being rewarded for failure. This is supposed to show him as dedicated and headstrong, in reality it just shows him as incredibly stupid. He is doing all this research work, seemingly with one other person. He’d have a much higher chance of success if he showed he was willing to work with others. So really the whole thing just makes him seem like a petulant dick, who is more focused on HIM curing the disease, than the disease being cured.


The Lost City (2022)

Quick Synopsis: While on tour promoting her new book, reclusive author Loretta (Sandra Bullock) gets kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire who hopes she can lead him to an ancient city’s lost treasure from her latest story. Alan, her cover model (Channing Tatum), wants to prove his worth to her so tries to rescue her.

This will not be the best film you see all year, but it is not bad. The plot is very predictable, you can guess pretty much everything that will happen from the trailer, you can probably even guess specific lines. But it’s also a lot of fun. It’s incredibly funny, with some amazing dialogue. Heard some of the biggest laughter of the year in this. It’s not aiming to be deep or make you sad, there’s nothing here that’s even approaching the island of tears. It’s not going to make you re-evaluate life or think differently. It’s not going to affect you emotionally. But it’s not supposed to. It’s supposed to be popcorn entertainment, and it does that very well. There are no moments where it feels too stupid (unlike Moonfall) in a way that takes you out of the film. There are a few moments where the backgrounds don’t quite mesh well enough in a way that seems believable. Side note: is it just me or is that happening more and more lately? Big budget films seem to have lost the ability to green screen in a way that seems real.

Other than that, visually it works too. There are no spectacular visuals or shots which will blow you away. The action scenes look good though, the directors are talented enough that even when there is a lot of stuff going on, you know exactly what is happening, who it is happening to, and where everybody is. There are no “wait, I didn’t see what happened there, the camera was moving too much” moments that plague films like Ambulance.

The performances are all fine too. Bullock is an acquired taste, she’s not someone who I’d see a movie because of, but she’s not someone I’d avoid. That opinion is probably because she primarily does really broad romantic comedies, and they can be very bland. But when she’s given a good script and character, her comedic chops really shine.

Tatum also does great. It’s strange to see him play someone so uncoordinated and unsure, but he pulls it off. When he does comedy, he does it very well (as has been shown in 21 and 22 Jump Street). He’d have made a great Drax in Guardians Of The Galaxy if they couldn’t get Batista. Daniel Radcliffe seems to be having a lot of fun, I think he’s at the stage in his career now where he’s just doing films for shits and giggles. His introductory scene contains a LARGE selection of cheeses, yet the only thing Radcliffe chews is the scenery, delightfully.

So in summary, you don’t need to rush out to see it, but it is worth a watch if you can. It’s just under 2 hours long, but I’ve yet to see a film fly by as quick as this one did. In summary, it’s not the greatest thing ever, but it’s a lot better than you expect it to be.

Ambulance (2022)

Quick synopsis: Two brother thieves rob a bank, then steal an ambulance with a half-dead cop in the back.

I was looking forward to this. I thought it would be action-packed and a lot of fun. It does have a lot of action, but it’s directed in a way that you can’t see a lot of it. The whole thing is just too Michael Bay. He doesn’t direct action very well, which is weird as it’s the only thing he makes. You have the standard “swooping long-distance shots” which last less than a second but were probably really expensive to make so it just feels wasteful and decadent from a production standpoint.

The key to a good action scene is you need to be able to clearly see what’s happening, but you can’t with this. It feels like it’s been edited by someone on their fifth cup of cocaine coffee of the morning. It is possible to do this, and still make the action coherent, the key is to keep the action in the same part of the screen between cuts, so that all the eyes need to do is stay still, and they take everything in (best example of this is Mad Max: Fury Road), this doesn’t do that. It has stuff all over the screen so your eyes have to constantly shift to take it in. The non-action scenes don’t fare much better. Conversations between characters are filmed in the same “handheld shakey-cam” way as the rest of the film. Even when it’s a quite dull conversation. At one point, the camera is focused on some guys nose as he talks.

Now onto my main issue. Did any of you play the Minority Report video game? It’s a game where you play as someone who is trying to prove he’s not a murderer. While playing this you can grab people and throw them against walls, or through glass etc. But you can also throw them through windows, windows of skyscrapers. So in your quest to show you’re not a killer, you can kill people, but it’s okay because you don’t see them hit the ground, and they don’t have names. That’s what this film does, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s character is based around the concept of “I’m a good person, I’m not letting this cop die”, and then causes car crashes and explosions that DEFINITELY kill people. But it’s okay, we don’t see the people in those cars, so they don’t count.

It’s a shame as the film has potential. It’s a good idea, and the cast is GREAT. There’s not a single performance in here that you don’t buy, it’s just they’re saddled with a script that needed to be cut down. It’s got a good ensemble cast of characters too, but a lot of them are wasted and not really shown enough to give them believability. If they took out the fluff at the start (and there are a fair few diversions along the way which aren’t really needed either), and replaced them with moments where they flesh out the background characters then it would feel more of an ensemble piece, and would improve it immensely as you’d actually care about them. At the moment you don’t really care that much. It’s weird as it’s clearly trying to make it so you do. They have a moment where one of the cops has a personal connection to one of the robbers, this has no influence on the plot, and would mean nothing if it wasn’t there. It’s like the script knows that those kind of things are normally in films like this, but doesn’t know why, but puts them in there anyway.

So in summary, I’m not mad, I’m disappointed.