Friday, 4 March 2011

Triple Bill Mini Musings: February/March 2011...

Repo Men:
Set in a future that is, visually, heavily indebted to Blade Runner and Minority Report, you can buy new organs and bodily enhancements - but for an extortionate price, and if you can't pay your bills on time, your fancy new organ or implant gets repossessed. So it's a high concept action thriller, but similar to Daybreakers, the potential for a real exploration of a potentially fascinating future society (be it vampires have taken over the world and are running out of blood, or people are upgrading their innards for a vast price) is presented strongly at first, only to be kind of forgotten about soon thereafter.

However, Repo Men falters further and presents us with protagonists who aren't that interesting. It's a nice concept, but instead of focussing on the interesting specifics of this future society, we're treated more to a series of not-that-exciting action sequences and some scenes that are just odd (such as one towards the end behind "the pink door"). This all said, there is a sting in the tail at the end, which elevates (and somewhat rescues) the flick from being a relative meh-fest.

A nice idea to start with, but it's a missed opportunity.

Paradise Lost:
Following in the wake of Hostel, with its 'Americans in a foreign land succumbing to the evil locals' schtick, Paradise Lost - with it's glossy visuals, and sexy young cast - paints a better paced picture of similar intent. While Hostel required further instruction (through extra features and, notably, the very informative commentary tracks) to really get to grips with the background subtleties of the plot and story, Paradise Lost requires no such instruction.

A group of back packing sexy young things from America go traipsing through Brazil in search of adventure, but end up in a bus crash which leads them to a seemingly picture perfect water-side bar where they drink copiously and become quite merry. The following morning all is not well and they find themselves to have been robbed - they are most definitely in trouble now, and something untoward is afoot.

Turns out that something untoward relates to a gang of organ harvesters (whose motives are neatly outlined in a later sequence), and so I think you can figure out the basics of the rest of the movie.

It turned out to be a nice little surprise, with an enjoyable cast of vibrant 20/30-somethings, and despite some slightly dumb moments (to make sure our cast end up in serious trouble come the final act of the movie), it's a solid horror flick - with a rather nifty, and tense, underwater chase sequence in the final act ... and, for the gore hounds, the crimson grue is quite realistic and skillfully utilised.

I have come to appreciate Hostel (and its sequel), with the help of several viewings and the extra features, for something deeper and better than it initially appears to be, but Paradise Lost is immediately much more accessible and has a better overall pace, managing to easily sidestep the "torture porn" lashing that Eli Roth's euro-horror suffered.

The Prestige:
Sometimes it's the case that you've seen basically all of a director's feature films, but there ends up being one that you missed during it's original run and never got around to seeing. With David Fincher's catalogue it was The Game (which I finally saw years later and rather enjoyed), and in this case - Christopher Nolan - it was his rival magicians movie The Prestige.

Now, I had already seen the twist of the movie a couple of years prior, which I basically recalled, so the twist ending was mostly spoiled for me, however despite that I found it to be just as well crafted and just as interesting to watch as the rest of Nolan's flicks. Strong performances, beautifully realised cinematography, assured direction, and a smartly woven script all add up to a quality viewing experience.

No comments: