The Innocents: Where Is The Line When Showing Animal Abuse On Screen?

0.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A group of troubled children develop otherworldly abilities and use their powers for sinister means.

I forget who said it now, but a reviewer of this film that enjoyed it far more than I did said of it something to the extent of ‘finally a film for adults’, no doubt in a jab at the mindless blockbusters many don’t view as true cinema. However, I want to pose the idea that if this often excessive and unpleasant film is true cinema then maybe it isn’t such a good thing.

There are two examples I would like to point to that soured the film for me, both happen fairly early on and it only gets worse from there. The first is when a heavily disabled girl is tortured by our lead, played by Rakel Lenora Fløttum, and the second is when the lead and her friend shove a cat into a sack and then drop it from a height onto the ground. I understand that these elements are to show that the child is twisted and sadistic, but in my mind this is communicated to the audience in a needlessly tasteless way. A defence for this could be that it is a horror film so we can expect sights that sicken and disturb us, however, at least for me this crossed a line.

Animal abuse in film is always hard for me to watch.

Overall, this film was a bit too rich for my personal taste.

Pros.

The child actors do feel genuinely menacing

Cons.

The animal abuse

Bad taste

Pacing issues

The plot feels overly familiar

Some meandering subplots   

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The Trip: Three Violent Criminals Saving A Marriage

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A husband and wife duo, played by Aksel Hennie and Noomi Rapace, head up to their cabin with plans to murder one another, however these plans are thwarted when three escaped prisoners show up and take them hostage.

I don’t think this film wins any awards for originality, I have seen this premise before, a husband and wife who hate each other being forced to defeat a threat and then coming back together at the end with the troubling events having saved their relationship. However, it is done well here.

Both Hennie and Rapace are terrific and I enjoyed the game of one-upmanship they have. Neither of their characters knows the other is plotting against them and I enjoyed seeing their plans run into each other with each thinking they had the advantage over the other only to later have that stripped away.

Moreover, I also really liked this film’s sense of humour and I found myself laughing a number of times throughout. Obviously the humour here is quite dark and won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I found this to be one of the funniest films I have seen in a while.

My only real criticism of the film would be that there are a number of scenes that I think go too far and maybe start to cross into bad taste. I am of course talking about the attempted rape scene, many films have these sort of scenes in them as they apply to the story however here I found it to be far more intense and graphic than what we normally see and as such it made me feel very uncomfortable, the camera often lingered for too long.

Overall, a terrific dark comedy film, minus a slight bit of bad taste.

Pros.

The humour

Hennie

Rapace

The ending

Cons.

It goes too far for my sensibilities   

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The Quake: The Continuing Adventures Of The Most Unlucky Family In The World

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

I know I said in my The Wave review that I was done with disaster films, however here I am doing it again; I have to get my shlock fix somehow.

Anyway ignoring the ridiculous nature of the plot with the same man being at the centre of two separate natural disasters and surviving both, I would argue this is actually better than the first film.

Firstly, as the recurring protagonist is more of a defeated man here he is easier to warm to, whereas in the previously he came across as unlikeable. Moreover, you buy the bond he has with his kids more so here, and the wider emotional soul of the film feels stronger this time around.

I also thought the spectacle and the effect used looked far better this time around. Yes there was a wide gap in-between the two films so of course the effects will look better as they are newer, but I also thought they were used more effectively: the scene in the collapsed skyscraper is proof of what I am talking about it was incredibly tense.

Overall, this is definitely better than the first film though the two do share a lot of the same issues.

Pros.

The lead is more relatable this time around

The emotions of the film connect more

It is more visually impressive

Cons.

It is more of the same

It is incredibly dumb and falls apart the more you think about it

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The Wave: Nowhere Is Safe From Tsunamis It Seems

2.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

I think I might give up on the disaster genre, I try, and I try, and I try to get into these films but they all just feel the same to me, this is no different.

The film is deeply predictable and goes through all the regular stages of disaster films, a dad or husband who has had a spat with his family or his wife has to save them and also the world from certain doom due to some natural phenomena; of course he is the only person who can do this. It is tiresome.

I just long for something more original than this. Hell the film even has Danish acting legend Thomas Bo Larsen in it and yet they only give him a few lines and let him hang out in the background of a few scenes, it is a massive waste.

The actual spectacle of the film is good, but it pales in comparison to the natural reckonings brought to screen by films like The Day After Tomorrow. Ultimately in a lot of ways the film just feels very average.

Overall, not as good as you might have heard, very deeply average.

Pros.

The cinematography

A few tense scenes towards the end

The score works well

Cons.

Predictable

Wasting Thomas Bo Larsen

The Spectacle

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Headhunters: Never Let Anyone Touch Your Hair

Headhunters is a Norwegian action thriller film directed by Morten Tyldum. The plot follows art thief Roger (Aksel Hennie), as he unknowingly targets the wrong mark and finds himself being hunted down by a tracking expert. The film serves as an adaptation of the Jo Nesbo novel of the same name.

This was a very stylish action thriller; glossy would be the word I would use to describe it. I enjoyed the unfolding mystery and how nothing was as simple as it first seemed, the premise that I listed above is a vast simplification. Said mystery makes for a very tense viewing experience, where you never quite know what is going to happen.

Nikolaj Coster- Waldu plays the films antagonist Claus, the man who hunts Roger down mercilessly over the course of the film and he is truly menacing. Not menacing in the sense of him being over the top and scary but, menacing in the sense of him being relentless and basically just an unstoppable corporate killing machine.

I enjoyed the ending immensely; it was nice to see Roger finally best Claus and it was done in a clever way that I found enhanced the whole experience. The final fight did not just boil down to a brawl it was far more intelligent than that.

Overall, a smart crime film that kept you on the edge of your seat as you never knew how far away Claus was from finishing the job.

Pros.

Hennie

Coster-Waldu

The mystery and the overall sense of tension

The ending

Cons.

There is only so many times you can see someone narrowly avoid being killed before it becomes unrealistic.

4/5

Reviewed by Luke