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Ford v Ferrari (2019)
Miles & Shelby: Friendship Through Racing
Ford versus Ferrari is too bland of a title for this amazing movie. International title Le Mans 66 already sounds much better. I would however propose Miles & Shelby: Friendship Through Racing. This is what the movie is all about. There is a lot of competition, culture, drama, hardship and racing in this film but once you have gotten the bigger picture, this movie really is about the friendship between an ambitious constructor and a tough driver.
This gem of a movie convinces on numerous levels. The settings are authentic and bring the United States of America, Italy and France of the mid-sixties back to life. An old sports car here, an iconic poster there and legendary race circuits bring back the pioneer age of race driving.
The actresses and actors are doing an outstanding job. Christian Bale and Matt Damon are two of the greatest actors to be around and they underline their excellent reputation for two and a half entertaining hours. Christian Bale convinces as rough guy with a tender core who cares as much about his own success as he does about his son who idolizes him. Matt Damon incarnates an ambitious entrepreneur who always strives to make the impossible possible. The supporting actors and actresses are also noteworthy as Caitriona Balfe convinces as resilient, smart and emotional wife and mother while Remo Girone delivers the goods by incarnating legendary entrepreneur Enzo Ferrari.
The story is obviously also addictive as viewers care about the fates of the charismatic protagonists. The plot might be predictable, especially if you have some background knowledge about the actual events this movie is based upon. This however doesn't reduce this film's enjoyment because everything is crafted with authenticity, detail and wit.
In the end, anyone who likes racing must watch this intense drama despite a few minor lengths. Those who were longing for a similar movie after the astonishing Rush six years earlier, will finally get something to crave for. Ford versus Ferrari is one of the most emotional dramas of the year and best enjoyed on the big screen at your local movie theatre.
Knives Out (2019)
Old-fashioned murder-mystery thriller executed with wit
Knives Out is a murder-mystery movie in the key of old-fashioned Agatha Christie or Edgar Wallace novels and their cinematic adaptations throughout the sixties and seventies of the last century. This sounds worse than it is because a movie without an overdose of special effects that goes back to the basics is actually quite refreshing. Elderly audiences will adore this movie and it might as well introduce younger audiences to this almost forgotten type of cinema.
This thriller works well for numerous reasons. The actors and actresses are veterans and talented youngster who complement one another perfectly. Young Cuban actress Ana de Armas delivers the goods as good-hearted caretaker who ends up mingled in a crime. Veteran Christopher Plummer is excellent as eccentric author who despises his own family. The diversified Daniel Craig convinces as mysterious investigator who tries to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.
The locations and settings are simple but very efficient in this movie. Most parts of the film take place in a gorgeous mansion and even though the architecture and landscapes look splendid, the tight rooms and sinister decorations give the film a gloomy vibe. The few scenes that are filmed away from that location offer some refreshing diversity in form of small appartments, charming downtown areas and rural restaurants.
The plot obviously comes around with a few twists and turns. However, those don't come as big surprises if you are familiar with this type of storytelling. Another minor issue is that too many details are revealed rather quickly through flashbacks. This movie would have been even better if it had given its audience the time and occasion to come to its own conclusions and put the pieces of the puzzle together.
Still, Knives Out offers one hundred thirty minutes of old-fashioned but well-executed murder-mystery entertainment and convinces thanks to a solid plot, great locations and gifted actresses and actors. In addition to this, this film also offers some soial criticism by pointing out the egoism, greed and manipulation of the rich and the famous. If you want to know what kind of movies your parents or grand-parents enjoyed when they were younger, give this film a fair chance. Sometimes, going back to basics means advancing in the right direction.
Motherless Brooklyn (2019)
A movie that successfully hearkens back to the art of cinematography established throughout the golden years of American filmmaking
Motherless Brooklyn is a wonderful film noir that combines drama with thriller elements. It's easily the greatest American movie of the year and only South Korean masterpiece Parasite beats it on an international level. I wouldn't be surprised if this movie were nominated for several Academy Awards a few months from here.
The greatest element about this movie is its atmosphere. It's dirty, gloomy and sinister. This is due to excellent camera techniques recalling film noir techniques of the fifties. The light techniques also blend in very well as the movie works a lot with dimmed lights and different shades. The settings also contribute as the lifestyles of the rich and poor are contrasted by the locations they live. The period cars, clothes and music blend in perfectly as well. There are few films that have brought the past back to life so authentically as it's the case here.
One has to point out the character developments and excellent acting performances. Edward Norton is incredible as socially awkward investigator with a strong moral compass. Gugu Mbatha-Raw convinces as upright human rights activist with a mysterious past. Alec Baldwin convinces as ambitious, eloquent but sinister businessman. Willem Dafoe perfectly incarnates his brilliant, desperate and isolated brother. Bruce Willis convinces as courageous leader with a hidden agenda. The way these numerous characters interact like dynamic pawns in a twisted game of chess is absolutely incredible.
Last but not least, one has to underline the excellent story. It comes around with interesting developments, turns and twists without ever feeling staged. The story is on the pulse of time of what was going on in the United States of America in the years and decades following the Second World War. You can learn about that period of time in this movie than you ever will in documentaries and history books. Telling you anything more would lessen the magnificent experience of watching this masterpiece.
In the end, Motherless Brooklyn is a brilliant film noir that perfectly balances drama and thriller elements. It's a movie that takes its time to develop its characters, settings and story but the audience will be rewarded with an authentic, emotional and intellectual masterpiece. Nervously fidgeting youngsters might find the movie slightly long-winded but fail to understand that this movie successfully hearkens back to the art of cinematography established throughout the golden years of American filmmaking.
Food for thought delivered with exciting wit
Parasite is the best movie of the year. This Korean movie won the renowned Palme d'Or of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. It has been selected as the South Korean entry for Best International Feature Film at the ninety-second Academy Awards.
This movie combines multiple genres such as comedy, drama, horror, thriller and tragedy. The main theme is the clash between rich and poor in the Republic of Korea. This conflict has been the main topic in other great films such as The Housemaid and The Taste of Money. Parasite however is less cumbersome, melodramatic and moralizing and convinces with wit, depth and creativity instead.
International audiences might feel slightly confused by this unusual genre mixture at first contact but this is exactly what makes this movie so unique. The story starts in a dramatic way and portrays a poor family who lives in a small semi-basement apartment and struggles to make ends meet. The movie gets more comedic when the son of said family gets the unexpected opportunity to replace a friend as English tutor for the beautiful daughter of a wealthy family. The film turns into a thriller when the four family members gradually infiltrate and even replace the personnel of the wealthy family with ethically questionable procedures. The movie turns into a horror film when the family realizes that the family mansion hides a creepy secret as things gradually spin out of control. The film ends as an almost surreal tragedy that will leave the audience speechless. Parasite is a movie the leaves a lasting impression, offers much food for thought and should animate philosophical discussions. The movie is so detailed, precise and profound that it deserves to be purchased to be watched time and again.
I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to watch this movie in French in a Canadian cinema and so were the numerous other members of the audience in the packed movie theatre. People are craving for a change and are tired of tame, predictable and repetitive Hollywood superhero prequels, remakes and sequels. There should be more creative, dynamic and entertaining international movies like Parasite in movie theatres all around the world. If you desire to make a statement in favour of cinema as an artistic expression rather than shallow entertainment, do yourself a favour and enjoy this incredible movie on the big screen. This movie has the potential to become a cult classic and deserves all the praise it gets.
An entertaining horror flick on the pulse of time
Countdown is an entertaining horror movie that is best enjoyed with some friends around Halloween. The film revolves around a cell phone application that predicts when a person is going to die. The story follows a young nurse who realizes she only has three days to live after downloading the application. She doesn't take the application seriously until one of her patients who had also downloaded it dies under mysterious circumstances. The young nurse starts investigating in order to bring the grisly series of deaths to an end.
The movie convinces with some interesting plot elements on the pulse of time in form of the omnipresent impact of cell phones and its applications on our lives and a few sinister cases of sexual harassment in times of the Me Too movement. The film convinces with solid pace and entertains from start to finish without any unnecessary lengths. This flick has a few efficient jump scares in the middle section and convinces with an eventful finale.
The film obviously also has some flaws most contemporary Hollywood movies suffer from. The story is shallow and simplistic. The characters are rather exchangeable and lack development and depth. The first third of the movie kicks off too smoothly and isn't truly scary. The film's predictable conclusion might be eventful but is ultimately everything but surprising. The film's final scene before the credits leaves room for a potential sequel in an extremely lazy way.
You won't get profound cinema while watching Countdown but that couldn't have been expected anyway. What you will get however is a contemporary, entertaining and gripping horror movie. It's certainly better than Escape Room, Ready or Not and Truth or Dare. On the other side, it can't compete with more profound genre entries such as Mandy, The Wailing or Us. In the end, Countdown fulfills its expectations solidly but won't leave a deeper impression.
It Chapter Two (2019)
It wasn't necessary
It: Chapter Two tells the story of what happened to the members of The Losers' Club as they confront evil clown Pennywise to kill it for good twenty-seven years after the events of the first movie. In my humble opinion, this second movie shouldn't have been made in the first place. The first part had an intriguing atmosphere, stunning characters and diversified plot that ended on a bittersweet note. Some stories don't need a conclusion as some unanswered question might actually spark the audience's creative imagination. In order to cash in on the first film, the producers decided to opt for a sequel nonetheless.
The main issue is that this sequel doesn't have the magic of the first movie. The coming-of-age vibe of the teenagers with their beliefs, bonds, fears, hopes and motivations was second to none. What we get here are seven rather depressing adults in their mid-life crises who haven't become the wonderful people they could have been.
Another problem is that the movie constantly dwells on the past, has a ploddingly repetitive script and re-tells parts of the first film over and over again. There are numerous horror movies with considerable lengths that never get boring with classics like The Shining or recent masterpieces such as The Wailing. However, this film here overstays its welcome with lengthy storytelling, tiring flashbacks and endless dialogues. This movie should have been about one hour shorter than it actually is for a more dynamic, entertaining and relevant structure.
Not everything is bad about this movie as you might have guessed by looking at my rather positive rating. The special effects are as great as they can get. The smalltown settings are perfectly chosen. The light techniques and camera work are precise, captivating and atmopsheric. The film includes a good balance of humorous and serious parts. The adult actresses and actors are doing a wonderful job and one has to point out a charming but melancholic Jessica Chastain in particular as well as James McAvoy who underlines his reputation as one of the most diversified, talented and unique contemporary actors as usual.
The movie's saving grace however are the gripping final thirty minutes. The duel between The Loser's Club and Pennywise is fascinating to watch and feels like a reward after a stuttering start. The action scenes are intense, the characters develop depth and the special effects are spectacular. Make sure to enjoy such cinematography on the big screen while you still can.
In the end, It: Chapter Two is quite a mixed bag. The film is technically well done but simply overstays its welcome. Personally, I didn't need a sequel at all but can objectively admit that this film has slightly more strengths than flaws.
Epic action movie with an overdose of twists and turns
War is an Indian action-thriller about a soldier who has to eliminate his former mentor who has gone rogue and starts assassinating influential targets around the world for mysterious reasons.
The movie convinces on numerous levels. The story comes around with numerous surprising twists and turns that will keep the spectators on the edge of their seats until the very end. Most of the characters have interesting background stories, convictions and motives which make the two lead characters progressively more profound as the movie unfolds in particular. The action scenes are spectacular and vary from explosive car chases to combats in an old church that has fallen into disrepair. The special effects have been designed with care as the camera work and light techniques are very solid except from one unnecessarily nauseating scene in a conference room. The beautiful locations and settings are very colourful and vary from India over Italy to the Arctic Circle.
On the negative side, the first half of the movie has a confusing chronological order and constantly switches from past to present and back again when a smoother chronological structure would have been much easier to understand. The movie includes two completely unnecessary dance choreographies that harm the movie's flow, contradict the tense atmosphere and look mildly amusingly amateurish. Some plot elements are a little bit over-the-top and it feels as if the scriptwriters had tried to include ideas for three movies into one single film which make the movie slightly overloaded. Some acting performances are rather wooden such as Vaani Kapoor's who was probably chosen for her role because of her elegant physical appearance but is lacking elementary acting skills.
Still, War is a very entertaining action-thriller of epic proportions that improves steadily until a gripping finale. Anyone who likes action films, spy flicks or thrillers should give this dynamic movie a try. Fans of the Bourne trilogy, the Fast and the Furious franchise and the xXx films might discover a wonderful hidden gem here.
Zhong guo ji zhang (2019)
Balancing tearjerking empathy and ominous violence
The Captain is a Chinese action-drama inspired by real events that occurred less than a year and a half before this film was released. One has to admire how quickly, professionally and precisely the three production companies have written a tight script, elaborated upon fascinating characters, hired excellent actors and actresses, put lots of money into stunning special effects and promoted this stunning movie at home and abroad. It's a shame that I was the only spectator who wasn't Chinese when watching this movie in Canada. People should have an open mind to discover excellent cinema from abroad instead of being fed repetitive Hollywood blockbusters.
There are numerous elements that make The Captain an excellent action-drama. The script is overall tight and gets to the point while still introducing the lead characters at the beginning and showing a brief aftermath at the end. The movie however mostly focuses on the turbulent flight as crew and passengers have to deal with broken windshields, depressurization, communication issues, turbulence related to bad weather, speed issues and weight problems.
The characters in this movie are interesting because they are based upon real people. Especially the caring, diplomatic and professional head flight attendant and the cold-blooded, determined and resilient pilot stand out as gripping lead characters. The movie however also includes numerous intriguing side characters in form of diversified passengers who add some drama, humour and inspiration at appropriate moments.
The acting performances are equally convincing. Yuan Quan convinces in her calm, composed and empathic role as authentic flight attendant. Zhang Hanyu delivers the goods as cool, dry and quiet pilot. The actors and actresses become one with their roles and play them with stunning authenticity.
The special effects of this movie are fully convincing and among the highest contemporary standard. The scenes of the breaking windshield and the gloomy thunderstorm are particularly breathtaking yet sufficiently realistic to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. The supernatural dream sequences involving the pilot's daughter are a nice addition to spice things up.
The movie has been produced by three companies who have not only invested financial resources but staff-related professionalism and technological know-how. Veteran director Andrew Lau managed to find the perfect balance between an intense action film and a tearjerking drama. Being myself afraid of flying and heights, the movie mirrored such fears very efficiently and realistically.
There are only two minor elements that keep the movie from being perfect. First of all, The Captain is yet another Chinese movie that includes Communist propaganda as it's mentioned that the heroic pilot and the most heroic staff members are of course members of the Chinese Communist Party and its symbols and flags can be found throughout the movie which doesn't add anything to the film but makes it look rather shallow at times. Secondly, the coda slightly overstays its welcome as ten compact minutes would have been sufficient to conclude the movie instead of showing events one year after the main story to stretch the film's length.
Still, anyone who likes action blockbusters or emotional dramas should watch The Captain. This movie convinces with stunning special effects, precise script, fascinating characters and excellent actors and actresses. I would definitely watch this movie again and recommend it to all my friends.
The horror slowly creeps in
Suspiria isn't only a remake of Dario Argento's movie but an expanded reimagination of the legendary Italian horror movie. The film is set in Berlin during the German Autumn and follows the story lines of a young American dancer who arrives at a dance school and an old psychotherapist who investigates the disappearance of one of his troubled patients. The two story lines intertwine in six chapters and an epilogue with a total length above two and a half hours and find their climax in the mysterious dance school.
This movie convinces for numerous reasons. First of all, it doesn't blandly copy the original movie but adds more characters, new plots and haunting visual effects. It's very interesting to compare both movies and it's really just a matter of personal taste which version you prefer.
Secondly, the characters in this movie are really interesting. The female lead character incarnates ambition, innocence and resilience but soon gets caught up with sinister events. The male lead character incarnates curiosity, guilt and shame and investigates both his own past and present events involving a missing dancer. The side characters in this film are also highly intriguing, especially head artistic director and choreographer Madame Blanc who is torn between supporting her colleagues and saving her protégée.
Thirdly, the actresses in this movie are absolutely outstanding. Many of them play two or even three different roles. One simply has to point out Tilda Swinton who convincingly plays a male psychotherapist, a female choreographer and a mysterious physically disabled old woman. The movie features numerous excellent young actresses such as Mia Goth (''Everest''), Dakota Johnson (''Bad Times at the El Royale'') and Chloë Grace Moretz (''Carrie'').
Fourthly, the movie has a truly gripping atmosphere that subtly intensifies throughout the movie. There are numerous red flags showing that something is amiss about the mysterious dance school. One student mysteriously disappears. Another one has a meltdown during a practice. The building includes numerous hidden rooms with sinister secrets. The more the film progresses, the more intense it gets until a stunning surreal finale.
Fifthly, the cinematography of this movie is astonishing. This starts with the sinister locations along the Berlin Wall. It continues with the gloomy weather as it always rains or snows in Berlin. The numerous dance practices and performances in the movie are creative, emotional and intellectual. The use of blood, bones and urine makes the movie progressively more repulsive. The film's climax is visually stunning with outstanding light effects and visual components.
In addition to all these elements, the movie cleverly connects the main plot to elements regarding Germany's sinister past during the Third Reich and contemporary political events throughout the German Autumn. All these events deal with guilt and shame and foreshadow or parallel the sinister events of the main plot. This movie deserves multiple views to uncover and understand its numerous references.
There are two reasons why this movie didn't get an even higher rating. First of all, the first act of the film is quite confusing as we are introduced to numerous characters and multiple plot lines without any explanations and without any clear structure. This confusing potpourri disentangles during the second act and the movie then progresses coherently until the very end. Secondly and lastly, the movie slightly overstays its welcome with a challenging length of one hundred fifty-three minutes. The film could have been shortened by about twenty to thirty minutes without losing its essence. The filmmaker should also refrain from working on a potential prequel or sequel. This movie works very well on its own and doesn't need anything more.
In the end, Suspiria should please to fans of moody horror movies that are willing to invest two and a half hours to discover fascinating atmospheres, characters and story lines developed with outstanding acting performances and creative cinematography. It doesn't matter whether you have watched the original movie or not since this isn't a remake but a reimagination that stands very well on its own. Original creator Dario Argento didn't appreciate this new version but his closed-mindedness shouldn't be categorized as anything more than a personal opinion among many others. Suspiria is one of the better horror movies in recent memory.
I'm one of the few who watched Ari Aster's second feature Midsommar before his first full length movie Hereditary. Hereditary is slightly better than Midsommar because it slowly develops a haunting atmosphere until a vibrant final quarter that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Hereditary isn't a masterpiece like The Wailing but certainly among the better Hollywood horror movies in recent memory.
The acting is certainly one of the movie's strongest points. Milly Shapiro is absolutely astonishing as eccentric young teenage girl with odd and at times disturbing behaviour. She is a name you have to keep on your mind for future endeavourments. This movie would have been even better if she had been given more screen time. Alex Wolff plays a completely different character as a seemingly normal teenage boy who likes to party but soon becomes an isolated loner confronted with abominable dangers. Toni Collette is fully convincing as desperate, gloomy and unstable mother whose beahviour becomes more erratic as the film progresses. Gabriel Byrne complements her perfectly as calm, diplomatic and rational husband who handles the pressure around him better than anyone else. The four characters have great chemistry and complement one another perfectly.
Another strong point of this movie is its atmosphere. Right from the start, you realize that something is wrong with this family. There are numerous red flags throughout the film. The daughter plays with a dead bird and cuts its head off. The son comes home at night after shocking events but decides to go to bed instead of calling the police. The mother starts to believe she is a medium who can speak with the dead. Only the father's behaviour is rational and he is easily the character worth rooting for.
The movie has a few minor downsides however. Even if this is a supernatural horror movie, some decisions of the characters are baffling. How can a mother send her antisocial daughter who suffers from severe allergies to a party with her older brother? How can the father quietly observe how the family members around him show more and more erratic behaviour instead of taking them to the hospital? Why does the mother not call the police after she discovered several more than disturbing elements in her house? Some of the actions, decisions and reactions of the characters make an otherwise solid plot slightly unconvincing.
In the end, Hereditary is an atmospheric horror movie with psychological and supernatural elements. Instead of delivering predictable jump scares, the movie fleshes out its characters and plot and remains refreshingly unpredictable until the very end. Despite a slow pace and a few weird decisions made by the characters, Hereditary is one of the better horror movies of the past few years. If you like this film, watch the even better The Wailing and give the less supernatural but more psychological horror movie Burning a try.
I Am a Hero (2015)
Survival action movie with a multitude of diverse genre influences
''I Am a Hero'' is a Japanese survival action movie based upon a manga series. Most Japanese movies seem to be based upon manga series these days and zombie films have also saturated the market over the past decade. Those are also the main issues I have with this movie. It doesn't add anything new to the formula and most certainly can't compete with recent genre highlights like the Korean films ''Train to Busan'' as well as ''Rampant''. Still, genre fans should appreciate this movie and can give this a try.
The story revolves around thirty-five year old manga artist assistant Suzuki Hideo whose life has become quite depressing. Once an aspiring newcomer, he fails to publish his own stories and works with three other guys in an extremely small room for a selfish boss who gives him impossible deadlines and has an extramarital relationship with the only female assistant. Suzuki Hideo lives in a small, messy and dark apartment with an increasingly unhappy girlfriend. When he fails to publish his most recent story, his girlfriend decides to break up with him and kicks him out of their apartment. Suzuki Hideo now lives in a small park nearby or sleeps at his workplace. This introduction to the movie is quirky, melancholic and amusing at the same time.
While Suzuki Hideo's life is slowly falling apart, strange events are occuring around him. A news report mentions that a human being has bitten a dog who has then gone crazy. Increased military activity can be observed in the city. Things really turn sour when Suzuki Hideo's girlfriend mysteriously transforms and assaults him. The protagonist escapes in shock and realizes that zombies are roaming the streets and attacking the living. He manages to escape with a female student named Hayakari Hiromi. These scenes are among the most intense in the movie and find the right balance between gory horror elements and slapstick situation comedy.
The middle part of the movie is really tiresome. Suzuki Hideo and Hayakari Hiromi get to know each other and try to reach Mount Fuji where the virus apparently doesn't spread due to high altitude. The film is losing a lot of pace here and the relationship between the two protagonists remains unclear. They seem to care for each other but no motives are ever elaborated upon.
The second half of the film takes place in a shopping outlet just below Mount Fuji. This place is infested with zombies but the two protagonists are saved by a group of survivors. However, they soon understand that those survivors aren't less dangerous than the zombies and end up being caught in a grim rivalry between two leaders. Hayakari Hiromi starts suffering from a mysterious illness, conspiracies slowly decrease the group's ailing team spirit and the ordinary Suzuki Hideo needs to become a hero to save those he cares about. This last part of the movie takes some time to develop but unfolds quite intensely until a rather vapid conclusion that leaves numerous questions unanswered.
To keep it short, the movie starts on a promising note and manages to introduce the two lead characters dynamically. The action scenes in this movie make the second half thoroughly entertaining. However, the middle section is plodding, eventless and at times even directionless. The slow conclusion leaves room for a sequel as many questions remain unanswered.
Please note that I Am a Hero isn't a horror movie. There are some gore effects indeed and the villains are zombies but this film isn't even remotely scary and can easily be watched by younger teenagers. This is a survival movie that focuses mostly on brutal action scenes. Melancholic drama elements and occasional slapstick situation comedy add some entertainment and make for a quite diverse mixture.
If you like survival films or the original manga series, you are going to appreciate the good but not groundbreaking I Am a Hero. If you are looking for a scarier zombie movie, you should really watch Train to Busan that deserves all the attention and praise it has received. If you want to look for a more profound Japanese survival drama with some comedic elements, you should watch the overlooked Survival Family. In the end, I Am a Hero offers some vivid entertainment for sure but fails to leave a deeper impression.
Terra Formars (2016)
Fast-paced science-fiction entertainment that is much better than its reputation
Terra Formars is a heavily underrated live action version of a famous Japanese manga and anime series directed by legendary Miike Takashi (''Audition'') and starring famous actresses and actors such as Ito Hideaki (''Sukiyaki Western Django''), Kato Masaya (''Godzilla''), Takei Emi (''Ruroni Kenshin''), Kikuchi Rinko (''Babel'') and Fukushima Rila (''The Wolverine''). The movie plays in the twenty-sixth century when mankind attempts to colonize Mars with the use of moss and cockroaches. A group of criminals is sent on a seemingly routine mission to exterminate the cockroaches and verify whether the planet can now be colonized. Upon arrival, the fifteen astronauts realize that the cockroaches have evolved very quickly and become intelligent humanoids attempting to defend their turf no matter what. An intense fight for survival begins for everyone involved.
There are numerous things to be praised about this movie. First of all, the expert director does an excellent job and really cared about every single detail in this film. The potent cast delivers the goods with diversified performances. The settings, make-up and costumes are very rich, detailed and colourful. The movie is entertaining from start to finish and avoids an unnecessaily long introduction or an overlong conclusion. The film's rapid flow is spiced up with many interesting flashbacks giving essential background information about the most important characters. The action scenes are visually stunning, relentless and diverse. The plot comes around with a few twists and turns. The fact that it's impossible to predict who is going to die or survive in the movie should keep the audience on the edge of its seat. The unique details about the different insects given throughout the movie are very instructive but also add to the story.
The movie isn't without a few flaws. The special effects look a little bit old-fashioned and stiff at times and especially the titular monsters look rather cute than dangerous. The acting performances are overall great but at times stiff and emotionless as the characters rarely seem to care when people around them die. The story obviously focuses much more on fiction than on science, so you should be aware to watch a movie that attempts to entertain rather than inspire.
In the end, Terra Formars is much better than its reputation and offers colourful, diversified and fast-paced science-fiction entertainment that should appeal not only to fans of the anime and manga series but for anyone who likes spectacular kaiju movies such as ''Godzilla''. Don't hesitate to watch this movie and evaluate it fairly to give a potential sequel a chance.
Sam gang (2002)
Three complementary types pf psychological and supernatural thrillers with a dark tone
Three, internationally marketed as 3 Extremes 2, consists of three horror short films by renowned Asian directors. All three short movies had something different to offer and were quite entertaining since they didn't overstay their welcome. However, these short movies aren't among the directors' greatest hours either.
The first short film is entitled Memories and was created by South Korean director Kim Jee-won, who made masterpieces like the psychological drama A Tale of Two Sisters, comedy western The Good, the Bad, the Weird and grisly horror shocker I Saw the Devil. Memories tells two stories that slowly but surely intertwine. The first story is about a man whose wife has disappeared and who suffers from memory loss as he can't remember why or how she left. The second story revolves around a woman who wakes up in the middle of a street, can't remember who she is and tries to figure out her identity and what happened to her. On the positive side, the movie convinces with gloomy atmosphere and moody cinematography. On the negative side, the story is somewhat predictable and slow-paced.
The second short film is called The Wheel and was created by Thai director Nonzee Nimibutr, who is known for action movie Dang Bireley and the Young Gangsters, romantic horror film Nang Nak - Return from the Dead and romantic drama Jan Dara. The Wheel revolves around cursed puppets that haunt a group of puppeteers living and performing in rural Thailand. The curse starts when the master puppeteer puts his soul into said puppets but later on orders his wife and child to get rid of them. His wife and child drown and the old man burns alive in his house. A rival puppeteer plans on using these puppets but other grisly events soon start to take place as performers collapse on stage, commit suicide or start to see ghosts. On the positive side, this film is the grisliest of the three and includes several haunting deaths. The locations in rural Thailand are stunning to watch. The movie also introduces us to a part of Thai culture which isn't very known outside the country. The film's sinister conclusion is also memorable. On the negative side, the acting performances are a little bit stiff at times and the movie was obviously suffering from a very low budget.
The third and last short film is called Going Home and was created by Thailand-born Hong Kong filmmaker Peter Ho-Sun Chan, who directed movies such as romantic comedy drama The Love Letter, historical drama The Warlords and action epic Dragon. Going Home tells the story of a single father and cop who moves into a decrepit apartment complex with his infant son. His son soon befriends the strange daughter of the only other family living in the building and then goes missing. His father suspects the weird father of that family who nurses his mysterious wife back to health to be responsible for his son's disappearance. On the positive side, the characters in this movie are really strong, the story takes a few unexpected turns and the movie even has a romantic underlying message which one couldn't expect from a horror movie. On the negative side, several questions in this movie remain unanswered which make it feel somewhat unfinished. This movie should have been elaborated into a full length movie to have a bigger impact.
In the end, all three movies have their merits but also a few minor disadvantages. Expect solid psychological and supernatural thrillers but no grisly horror episodes. All of these short films were entertaining and are worth to be discovered, presented or watched again.
The Farewell (2019)
Spend as much time with your loved ones as you can while you can
The Farewell is a bittersweet Chinese tragicomedy that has the potential to become an Academy Award winner for Best International Feature Film. The movie revolves around an elderly Chinese lady who suffers from an incurable cancer. Her sister however hides this information from her and instead tries to bring all the family together for one last time. A hastily arranged wedding between a grandson and his Japanese girlfriend serves as purpose for the family members abroad to come back to Changchun. However, the burden of this lie is heavy and conflicts, confusion and misunderstandings soon occur.
The most interesting question about this movie is how you would deal with a situation such as the one portrayed in this film if someone close to you were concerned and how you would like to be treated if you were in a similar situation yourself. The family members in this film try to carry the burden together and decide to not tell the aged grandmother that she is dying. There is no right way to deal with such a difficult decision. If you hide the truth, you might prevent the other person to live every day as if it were the last day and to say farewell. If you tell the truth, you will cause an immense emotional burden to the concerned person who will live in fear of dying every single day. The Farewell offers much food for thought and also shows how differently Western and Eastern cultures approach such a scenario.
The acting performances in this film are outstanding. Every character has its own identity from the drunk war veteran who was in love with the elderly lady over the chubby grandchild who is addicted to technology to the deaf housemate who is the only one to mind his own business. Lead actress Nora Lum convinces as concerned granddaughter who disagrees with her family's strategy of hiding the truth from her grandmother and who also has some financial and social problems of her own. Shuzhen Zhao steals the show in her very first movie as headstrong elderly lady with a heart of gold.
The movie portrays the differences between Western and Eastern cultures cleverly and also portrays how the Chinese society is changing. People have become greedy capitalists looking for financial opportunities abroad but also try to embrace their ethnic heritage at the same time. Changchun has developed from a rather small city with less than a million citizens to a gigantic city with close to eight million citizens in only fifty years. The movie shows how gigantic buildings and monuments have replaced small houses and gardens.
The Farewell also has alight-hearted side and manages to cheer its audience up despite numerous heartbreaking moments. The subtle humour works very well and includes drunk war veterans declaring their romantic feelings, hilarious karaoke performances during the wedding and several running jokes in form of the careless deaf housemate and the disconnected overweight grandson.
In the end, The Farewell is an emotional tragicomedy with a profound message: to spend as much time with your loved ones as you can while you can. As someone who is living abroad and far away from his family, I can truly empathize with the movie's meaningful message. Give this movie the chance to inspire your brain and warm your heart.
Horror movie to be watched by young teenagers
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is an entertaining but shallow horror movie aimed at teenage audiences in the key of It. Based upon the novels by Alvin Schwartz, the movie revolves around anthologic horror stories that make your worst nightmares come true. The teenagers who mistakenly kickstarted the curse by discovering an old book in an abandoned mansion must find out more about its writer in order to make the horrors stop.
On the positive side, the different creatures seen throughout the film are intriguing, diversified and creative which makes for an entertaining experience. The back story around a psychologically and physically assaulted girl that keeps the whole movie together is actually interesting and even moving to a certain degree. The appropriate settings blend in very well and bring the late sixties in the United States of America to life in an authentic manner. The characters are easy to empathize with and especially lead actress Zoe Colletti underlines her reputation as one of the greatest young actresses to be around these days.
On the negative side, the film isn't really scary as the atmosphere never goes beyond mildly gloomy. This might be appropriate for young teenagers but older teenagers or adults could quickly get bored. The style of this movie is closely inspired by It and fails to develop its own idnetity. The film's ending isn't satisfactory as several questions remain unanswered which could hint at a possible sequel. The movie however doesn't have the depth to become a franchise.
In the end, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is an entertaining horror movie to be watched at your local cinema with your friends if you like the genre and are between twelve and sixteen years old. The movie certainly doesn't reinvent the genre and fails to develop its own identity. The movie is good enough to be watched once but fails to leave a deeper impression.
The price of greed
Siberia is a slow-paced romantic thriller that has received a surprising number of unfair reviews. While the movie is certainly no genre highlight, it convinces with solid acting performances, a gloomy atmosphere and a realistic story.
The story revolves around an American diamond merchant who travels to Saint Petersburg in Russia for a big deal. Upon arrival, his contact person has vanished and the rare blue diamonds are also gone. A local gangster boss however insists on getting these diamonds delivered as quickly as possible and gives the merchant forty-eight hours to find them. The diamond merchant wants to save his reputation and travels to the Siberian hometown of his partner. He learns that his partner attempted to double-cross another gangster boss by trying to sell fake diamonds. The diamond merchant now understands that what seemed to be a perfect deal is a dangerous situation. Even the Russian secret service starts investigating. The diamond merchant however gets unexpected help from a cosmopolite café owner he falls in love with and a former South African trade partner. The diamond merchant must try to find his contact, get the deal done and cooperate with the secret service in order to leave the country alive.
Siberia's main flaw is that the film is quite slow-paced before the final thirty minutes finally increase intensity.
However, the movie convinces on several levels as well. Every scene has a purpose for the story. The bear hunting scene for example shows us how the café owner's brother starts to trust the diamond merchant and tolerate the relationship between his sister and the mysterious foreigner. The acting performances are convincing and honest. Keanu Reeves plays a calm and experienced man which explains how he could be involved in diamond trafficking but his insecure and tender side also shows that he is despising some of his partners and longing for a fulfilling relationship. The story involves numerous interesting side characters such as an intimidating gangster boss and a cunning secret agent. The settings of the movie are splendid and vary from one of the world's most beautiful cities with Saint Petersburg to rural towns in Northeastern Siberia. The story is complex but always easy to follow thanks to its smooth pace. The ending of the movie is unconventional but realistic and certainly offers some food for thought.
The more I think about this movie, the more positive elements I find. I would recommend it to patient viewers with an interest in Russian culture. If you like slow-paced Scandinavian, German and British thrillers, you might also possibly like this movie. If you expect Keanu Reeves to play a similar role to his John Wick character, you won't find it in here. If you need thrillers to be fast-paced and focused on explosive special effects, you've got it all wrong. Siberia is a gloomy thriller that stands out with its unique style nowadays and focuses on character and story development rather than impressive action scenes and baffling plot twists.
The Salvation (2014)
Candidate for greatest western of the twenty-first century
The Salvation is a Danish western and while this might sound surprising at first sight, The Salvation is easily the best western I have seen in many years and a solid candidate for western of the decade or even of the century. The story revolves around a quiet Danish farmer named Jon Jensen who welcomes his wife and son in the United States of America after years of separation. On the night of their arrival, the peaceful farmer gets savagely beaten up by two thugs. They then proceed to rape his wife in front of their son before killing both of them. Jon Jensen takes his revenge but soon learns that one of the criminals was the brother of an influential local land baron who now plans to kill Jon Jensen. Since the local land baron controls the town and people close to Jon Jensen, he can only rely on his brother and needs to be extremely careful to survive. It soon becomes obvious that either the local land baron or the Danish farmer has to die to end the conflict.
There are numerous elements that make this movie great. The story is very emotional and gritty but always remains realistic and easy to follow. The settings look absolutely splendid and especially the dirty oil town where the land baron lives with his thugs looks memorable. The camera work is detailed, epic and precise. The atmospheric soundtrack enhances the movie's sinister atmosphere. The action scenes are authentic, gripping and tough. The movie doesn't overuse special effects and goes back to the stylistics of classic westerns from the sixties. The acting performances are absolutely splendid. Mads Mikkelsen who incarnates the quiet protagonist underlines once more that he is one of the greatest contemporary actors. Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays a charismatic antagonist who really incarnates everything you might dislike about another person. Eva Green plays a silent femme fatale whose intentions aren't always clear and whose development throughout the movie is truly intriguing.
I have thought long and hard about negative sides of this movie but there simply aren't any. This western is enjoyable from start to finish, not only for western fans but for anyone who likes excellent cinema with vibrant action scenes, intense atmosphere and interesting characters. The Salvation proves that the western genre isn't gone and forgotten yet but can still be entertaining and vibrant in the twenty-first century without denying its roots and style.
A plodding fairy tale saved by extraordinary acting performances
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood is one of the Quentin Tarantino movies that is the most difficult to describe. Usually, there are movies of his that convince with atmosphere, depth and twists such as Inglorious Basterds or films that are rather shallow, referential and confusing like Kill Bill. The only movie that is somewhere in between both extremes might be Jackie Brown that convinces with great acting and cool retro atmosphere but disappoints with unnecessary lengths and a weak story. This new movie could be compared to Jackie Brown.
The acting performances, especially by a very cool Brad Pitt and a vividly emotional Leonardo DiCaprio, are absolutely outstanding. Without the two brilliant main actors, this movie would have been painfully average but the strong acting performances make it a good movie, neither more nor less. The movie truly manages to capture the spirit of the end of the golden age of Hollywood with numerous references to popular television series and movies such as The Green Hornet and Rosemary's Baby. The movie cleverly mixes facts and fiction.
However, the movie clearly overstays its welcome with a running time of one hundred sixty-one minutes. The film takes more than two hours to introduce all characters and settings until the climax unfolds in about ten minutes. While most of Quentin Tarantino's movies have a clever twist, the one used here is slightly disappointing at first contact but at least offers some food for thought in hindsight. This is the kind of movie that grows on you as you think about it later on while it slightly disappoints while watching it.
This movie should be recommended to those who are either interested in the history of the American film industry or admire Brad Pitt or Leonardo DiCaprio who would both deserve Academy Awards for their extraordinary performances. The movie however has massive lengths and an almost unspectacular story. It's worth being watched at the cinema but overall slightly overrated due to the massive critical acclaim any Quentin Tarantino movie seems to receive.
What if all your lies suddenly became reality?
Menteur, internationally known as Compulsuve Liar, is a highly entertaining comedy movie featuring many famous actors and comedians from Quebec. The story revolves around compulsive liar Simon whose lies become reality one day and teach him that facing and telling the truth is important in life.
Not every gag works out and the opening sequences feel slightly rushed but about twenty minutes into the movie, things start getting truly hilarious. My personal highlight of the movie was Simon's boss played by a hilarious Geneviève Schmidt who changed from being strict, organized and influential to a confused drunkard overnight.
Menteur is hilarious entertainment for the whole family and a wonderful introduction to Quebec's comedy culture. In addition to this, the movie even presents valuable life lessons in a light-hearted way. Menteur isn't memorable enough for becoming movie of the year but certainly worth to be checked out at your local cinema.
Ready or Not (2019)
Ready or Not tries to be a mixture of a comedy and a horror movie and fails at both. The movie is never atmospheric, intense or scary enough to be a great horror movie. The film is never clever, surprising or vibrant enough to be an entertaining comedy movie. Even by poor b-movie standards, the story of this film is completely ridiculous in a way that it's almost insulting.
If you were wondering why this film still deserves four points, the movie isn't entirely bad. The settings look great and especially the mansion where the sinister hide and seek game takes place is really gorgeous, including hidden hallways and elegant gardens. The movie features a few intense action scenes that make you root for the desperate lead character. The film has a fast pace and doesn't overstay its welcome with plodding storytelling. Lead actress Samara Weaving does her best with a poor script and has enough charisma to be the only great actress in this film.
Ready or Not should be ignored since it's neither a gripping horror film nor a clever comedy. It's a shallow action film with a few gore elements. Movies like You're Next are similar in style but executed much better. The overtly positive reviews for Ready or Not show that expectations for horror movies have significantly decreased in an era of prequels, remakes, sequels and overall rehashed ideas. Refer to European or Asian cinema to find some creative horror movies these days.
There is no monopoly on common sense on either side of the political fence
Gongjak, internationally known as The Spy Gone North, is a gripping mixture of a drama and a thriller based upon historic events. The movie follows a businessman who works as a South Korean secret agent and who is tasked to infiltrate influential North Korean circles by offering the opportunity to shoot commercials for South Korean products in the remote country. He befriends a North Korean economist who hopes to inspire change in his country. Their friendship is put to a test when South Korean politicians try to influence North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il to attack South Korean civilians in order to influence upcoming elections. The businessman and secret agent overhears the abominable conspiracy and must decide whether he lays low and lets an incredible crime happen or whether he risks his identity and life in order to try to make Kim Jong-Il change his mind.
The Spy Gone North convinces on numerous levels. First of all, the actors are absolutely outstanding and especially lead characters Hwang Jun-min as seemingly blunt but naive businessman and Lee Sung-min as intelligent and resilient economist deliver marvelous performances. The intriguing story gets more tense, dramatic and complex as the movie progresses and especially the last forty-five minutes will keep you on the edge of your seat. The settings are remarkable as the movie takes place in the People's Republic of China, Republic of Korea and Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The crew was obviously not allowed to shoot on location in North Korea and recreated those settings in Taiwan but they still look impressively realistic on screen. One has to applaud the fact that the movie avoids spreading propaganda. The South Koreans are depicted as negatively and at times even worse than North Koreans. Kim Jong-Il is shown as eccentric and socially awkward but also diplomatic and intelligent leader which is a rare perspective. Anyone interested in Korean culture, history and society will particularly admire this movie.
In the end, The Spy Gone North is a tense mixture of a drama and thriller partially based upon historic events. The film's perspective is surprisingly balanced and thought-provoking for anyone interested in Korean culture, history and society. The outstanding acting performances make an already great movie an excellent one which is highly recommended.
Korô no chi (2018)
Back to the V-Cinema style of yakuza movies in the mid-nineties
Korô no chi, internationally known as The Blood of Wolves, is a brutal gangster movie reminding of the Japanese V-Cinema era in the mid-nineties. This type of movie could have been made by prolific directors such as Mochizuki Rokuro, Miike Takashi or Kitano Takeshi.
The story revolves around brutal, non-conformist, lone wolf police officer Ogami Shogo and his conformist, intellectual and naive partner Hioka Shuichi. They investigate the disapperance of an accountant in the late eighties. It soon turns out that the accountant was involved in a yakuza clan and tried to steal money. Ogami Shogo uses violence, menaces and connections to investigate while his partner Hioka Shuichi is shocked by such procedures and rather tries to make sure his partner will get suspended. However, the unusual team soon needs to cooperate in order to prevent a war between two yakuza clans and find out what really happened to the mob accountant.
The greatest thing about the movie are the two conflicting lead characters and their fascinating relationship that evolves throughout the entertaining movie. The film convinces with grisly fights, dirty locations and cool one-liners. The plot comes around with a few surprises towards the end which explain how the different characters have become who they are.
If you like brutal yakuza flicks of the eighties and nineties, you will certainly appreciate this nostalgic but entertaining movie. The Blood of Wolves takes its inspiration from movies such as Another Lonely Hitman, Shinjuku Triad Society and Hana-Bi. Genre fans will certainly find this movie thoroughly entertaining.
Second Winter (2016)
Portraying issues of young adults in South Korea
Second Winter is certainly a very unusual movie. This drama follows a few days in the life of a young couple living in a big city in South Korea. They are both twenty-nine years old and have been married for a little bit less than two years. Hyun-ho has recently quit his job and tries to become an actor. Jung-hee struggles to find a job because she is married and potential employers believe she might get pregnant soon. The couple lives in a small apartment with a broken boiler. They are ashamed of their financial problems that soon become a burden for their relationship. Hyun-ho doesn't tell his mother that he has quit his job and also hides the fact that he has resumed working after his attempts at becoming an actor failed from his wife.
The movie certainly exposes the struggles a lot of young people face in South Korea. Society expects them to succeed at having their own families, getting great jobs and living in shiny apartments. The couple in this film tries to turn things around but is out of luck. The struggles with their families, devastating unemployment and financial issues are heartbreaking. Second Winter makes viewers empathize with this young couple and its issues.
The film uses unusual recording techniques. The camera work is very static. For example, a camera is put across the couple's bed. For about two and a half minutes, the viewers observe how the lovers kiss each other. For the next two and a half minutes, they talk about their broken boiler. The film then transitions to the next scene and the same approach is repeated. There are no special effects and no soundtrack which gives this slice of life the vibe of a documentary.
Second Winter certainly has a few creative ideas but it's still hard to sit through. There is no particular story to speak of. The pace is very slow. The camera work is too static. The two lead actors don't have much chemistry. The movie doesn't have a real start or finish.
In the end, Second Winter is a drama about the struggles of young adults in contemporary South Korea. However, the movie only states the obvious facts people are already familiar with. It fails to leave a deeper impression and is at times simply stated boring. I don't regret spending a little bit more than one hour watching this movie but would neither recommend nor watch it again.
A realistic portrayal of a sinister past
Historical action thriller Flesh+Blood by renowned director Paul Verhoeven and acting legend Rutger Hauer was indexed for decades in Germany for its portrayal of violent fights and gang rape scenes. Germans rather prefer slow-paced thrillers in depressive settings. The movie got finally released six years ago and is now available in its original and intended form.
Flesh+Blood takes place in 1501 and follows charismatic mercenary Martin, played by a very cool Rutger Hauer. His ruthless gang gets betrayed by a nobleman who hired them to conquer a walled city. The gang gets its revenge by kidnapping the fiancee of the nobleman's intellectual son and takes refuge in a castle. The intellectual young man uses his inventions and hires his father's former commander to confront the gang of mercenaries and prostitutes.
Flesh+Blood is unlike most movies portraying the Middle Ages and Renaissance. There are no heroes to be seen in this movie. Everything looks decayed, dirty and muddy. The characters are superstitious, opportunistic and mean. An innocent nun gets critically injured and is then forced to work as a farmer. A young fiancee gets raped by a gang of thugs and falls for the leader. We meet a dying child suffering from the plague whose entire family gets murdered. We see a young girl who was raped by bandits at the age of twelve and got her tongue cut out. A sick dog gets shot and cut into pieces to be used to poison people. If you are looking for charming princes and innocent princesses, you've got it all wrong. There isn't anything romantic about this movie.
The story might be simplistic but the movie remains intense despite a long running time thanks to its shockingly realistic portrayal of the past, a selection of nasty characters and a mixture of violent action scenes and pornographic elements. Flesh and Blood is actually a euphemism for sex and violence. This type of movie certainly isn't for everyone and shouldn't be watched by children or even teenagers. A movie like this couldn't be made anymore nowadays due to its portrayal of sexual abuse. However, the movie is very unique, very realistic and very entertaining. Flesh+Blood has stood the test of time as its intended impact is as intense nowadays as it was three and a half decades ago upon its release. It remains one of both Rutger Hauer's and Paul Verhoeven's greatest movies and also features a memorable performance by a very young and very nude Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Split Second (1992)
Sinister water world
The great Rutger Hauer is known by most people for his outstanding performance in the etremely overrated Blade Runner but there are numerous other and better movies he has played in. Those aren't sophisticated movies that would win Academy Awards but they were unpretentious and thoroughly entertaining films that should be prefered over artsy but boring flicks. Split Second is a perfect example for Rutger Hauer's entertaining charisma and even though its a so-called b-movie made on a shoestring budget, it convinces with tense action scenes, sinister atmosphere and interesting characters.
The story takes place in the near future as global warming has caused terrible floodings in the city of London. Isn't it ironic that even a cheap b-movie would accurately foresee our current issues with climate change that some aged conservatives still refuse to accept? In this dystopian setting, Rutger Hauer plays Harley Stone, a rough cop who constantly argues with his colleagues, disrespects his superior and got suspended a long time ago. He has become such a bitter man since his former partner got killed by a sadistic serial killer who never got caught. Five years after those grisly events, Harley Stone is still determined to find the murderer and he gets his badge back when he nearly captures the killer in a shady bar. He is however forced to collaborate with intellectual detective Dick Durkin played by Alastair Duncan. The movie also features a young Kim Cattrall who plays Michelle McLaine, the widow of the deceased officer and love interest of Harley Stone. The trio tries to find the serial killer's hideout but quickly realizes that they aren't the hunters but the hunted. Note that the movie also starrs musician Ian Dury in a secondary role, known for hits such as "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick".
The most memorable element about the movie are the settings. The decaying city of London is flooded and most scenes take place during heavy rainfall and at night. The lead character's apartment is the dirtiest I have ever seen and underlines his negative state of mind. Even crows are living in his flat. The investigations take place in the tunnels of the sewer system that is overcrowded with rats. The smooth camera work and sinister soundtrack amplify the movie's gripping atmosphere cleverly. The characters are truly intriguing as the lead character isn't only trying to solve an old case but to find peace of mind. His intellectual partner becomes more and more like him while the lead character's mental condition slowly improves. The woman who completes the trio also has to deal with guilt and wants to find the murderer to finally leave the past behind. With a concise running time of ninety minutes, Split Second never ever gets boring and entertains from start to finish with the explosive conclusion being a highlight.
The plot might not be surprising and some special effects look older than the movie actually is but Split Second oozes with atmosphere, convinces with fascinating characters and is entertaining from start to finish. This movie has aged surprisingly well and even has an important ecological message. Our world needs more unpretentious actors like Rutger Hauer and climate activists like Greta Thunberg.