Warner Bros, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, Wigham Productions
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Country of origin: United Kingdom/USA
Runtime: 116 minutes
Henry Cavill nails it as Solo, a mild mannered, suave, debonair CIA agent (blackmailed into lending his attributes due to his recent capture and imprisonment) who takes everything in his stride, even if it means enjoying a light lunch as his partner encroaches upon death's door via drowning. Meanwhile Armie Hammer (who can boast of bearing the coolest name ever!) portrays a Russian special agent, Illya, who operates in a completely different manner than his aforementioned US counterpart. When the two collide there's fireworks when they're forced to work together there's confusion, distrust and disillusionment. With enough double crossing, twists, turns, wheeling and dealing to keep any career politician on their toes this is, a few minutes short of, two hours that I enjoyed very much. Especially nice to witness were the startling attention to details given to object d'art pieces of the time, for instance your standard oversized pair of designer sunglasses, corded telephone (seemingly from another dimension) and the automobiles. How could they possibly be deemed anything less than pieces of art, lightning quick but nevertheless still utterly frameable.
Another factor that carved a huge crooked line across my face were the numerous split screen elements utilized. Be they homage of the Brady Bunch (smile), 24 (rather modern) or the original Man from... series itself. A number of small details lift this film from simply 'I like it' status to an 'I love it' elevated plateau. Armie's character has a history of rage, most likely due to abandonment issues, and in several moments in the film he's forced to hold it at bay at the behest of his inner demons, however, there are enjoyable moments when he relents and abides to their dark bidding. His relationship to Gaby, Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) is a pleasure to watch unfold and develop. Crazily enough the main villain in this movie is Victoria, femme fatale fans roar with approval admittedly a concept before it's time for this is the sixties, a role expertly crafted with dominatrix like precision by Elizabeth Debicki.
Admittedly there's enough enjoyable caricatures in this movie to fill several, Hugh Grant even makes an appearance as a British head operative, with yards of scripted dialogue and interactive antics to make one, that's old I'll use a better term; wise enough, to think back upon the various spy themed series of several decades ago. Overall a feature that cannot be ignored other than the obvious fact that it has the Guy Ritchie stamp all over it. It also delivers all the action, and more, demanded of the genre and a high likability factor that will keep it repeatedly recommended for years to come. Poop! Now that wasn't that brief at all was it? Outstanding! Now My Guy Ritchie collection is complete I'm eagerly awaiting the much rumored and anticipated ('antihero') Lobo project. Am I able to say please loud enough?
Beijing Starlit Movie and TV Culture, China Film Group
Directed by Clarence Yiu-leung Fok
Country of origin: China
Runtime: 99 minutes
Directed by Luigi Pastore
Country of Origin: Italy
Runtime: 80 minutes
The film itself...
Ignoring the advice of his psychoanalyst, a patient instead decides to fixate on a device front and center in the room - a Newton's Cradle. After said instrument fascinates him no further and his doctor has finished waffling on about future plans for his immediate specialized treatment, he contemplates ways to dispose of her lifeless cooling body (naughty lad). Of course, he's to blame as he is for many more murders throughout the length of this movie. It would be easy to say that all the killings are senseless, though one must remember this is a Giallo flick and therefore nothing is quite that easy. The audience is submitted to numerous flashbacks whilst more details are slowly unraveled in regards to the killer. Apparently his heart has been broken so instead of breaking out the Scotch tape he lumbers around brandishing a bloody great knife and calls up some nefarious friends to aid in his 'recovery of sorts'.
SiBR has many moments of intrigue. A number of great flashbacks heavily shrouded with a bleak noir vibe and lots of crimson (blood not the color) other flashbacks are vivid concentrating on (what I'm making out to be) the one person responsible for his current metamorphosis. As the killings continue the authorities become baffled. As luck would have it a special investigative local television team step in to help, in doing so they taunt the movie's antagonist. A plan of attack that doesn't end well, neither in a much needed ratings boost or a prolonged career for one journalist in particular.
During the film I was often left wondering why it was that certain aspects of the killer's demeanor didn't give him away, apart from the fact that he acted like a voyeuristic creep and wore vinyl gloves near the entire length of the film. Seriously who does that?
As in many Giallo features the killer's identity/name isn't given away, his face isn't shown though everything else is, the mystery and atmosphere is added to by the audience often times given a killer's view (at least numerous close ups of his eye would lead one to believe it was) perhaps to put one in his frame of mind. A jaded place indeed filled with jostled memories and lingering recordings of idyllic landscapes, birds and small bodies of water. (Wait, is Richard Attenborough the killer?) Is there hope left for this deviant slasher? Can he be saved? Will he be able to get a Government job? Will his penchant for wearing surgical gloves be his downfall?
Remember this a cult Italian film made perhaps twenty five years too late and sans the same style of those before it but it still has its moments, unfortunately, overshadowed by many that are naught but confusing and seemingly out of place.
Is this befitting of a place in the aforementioned much celebrated genre, as a fan of films decidedly more gruesome, bloody and dripping with entrails chased by hordes of the undead I can't honestly answer that!
I'm of the conclusion therefore that this is a love it or leave it film.
Though well worthy of a peek before you can decide which side of the fence you sit.
It has boobs, blood and menacing characters but a storyline that wavers too much for my attention span.