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dir Michael Apted
scr Peter O'Brien
prd Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Claudia Bluemhuber, Erik Howsam, Georgina Townsley
with Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom, Toni Collette, Michael Douglas, John Malkovich, Akshay Kumar, Tosin Cole, Aymen Hamdouchi, Michael Epp, Brian Caspe, Philip Brodie, Raffaello Degruttola
release UK 5.May.17, US 1.Sep.17
He's behind you! Bloom and Rapace
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Energetic, mindless fun, this London-set action thriller holds the attention with its manic plot and intriguing characters, well-played by a rather eclectic all-star cast. Even though it feels brainy, the film is packed with laughably preposterous details that continually remind us not to take any of it too seriously. From corny cliches to boneheaded expository dialog, all of the hallmarks of an entertaining romp are here.
Former CIA operative Alice (Rapace) is enjoying a quiet in London life until she gets dragged into a situation involving a jihadist (Hamdouchi). Noticing that something is off, she shifts into action mode, consulting friends in the CIA (Douglas) and MI5 (Collette) and, when trouble starts, teaming up with a random burglar (Bloom). Even with American chief (Malkovich) helping from afar, she is painted as a rogue agent. But she's the only person who knows that the Muslims are actually trying to stop an attack; someone inside the agency is working to make it happen.
Conversations are overloaded with details that never quite make any sense, including layers upon layers of conspiracy, sudden twists and revelations, and various character back-stories (previously assigned to Paris, Alice blames herself for a 2012 terrorist bombing). There's constant chatter about "protocol" among the spies, as everyone is trying to discover the secret password phrases and clandestine meeting points, but all of this is essentially background noise as the tension ramps up. Fortunately it really does, with a few genuinely thrilling sequences.
Rapace is solid at the centre, an actress who's always easy to sympathise with even though she only barely lets the audience in. Virtually every other role is a scene-chewing one, and the prizes go to Collette for some truly wonderful sarcasm and a full-on Rambo moment and to Malkovich for his impeccably warped comic timing. Douglas and Bloom also acquit themselves with some snappy moments of their own.
There's a solid message woven into the fabric of the narrative about true believers who know that violence isn't the way forward, but this is drowned out by radical political nutcases who believe that collateral damage is essential to gain even more control of the general public than reactionary over-reaching laws like the Patriot Act already give them. In other words, there isn't a single original thing about this movie. But director Apted keeps it clicking along with slick skill, and the cast members throw in terrific surprises along the way.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2017 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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