Tag: suspense

Luftslottet som sprängde, 2009

Luftslottet som sprängde, or The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, continues the story of Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) and Mikael Blomqvist (Michael Nyqvist). This third and final installment picks up immediately following the conclusion of The Girl Who Played with Fire, Lisbeth is now hospitalized for her wounds and being detained by the Swedish police for the murders of a researcher working for Millenium magazine and his fiance.

Her father, Alexander Zalachenko (Georgi Staykov), is also hospitalized and in the same hospital as Salander. He wants the Swedish intelligence faction which has kept him hidden and protected for so many years to kill Salander, threatening to give up the organizations secrets if they do not comply. Salander’s brother (Micke Spreitz) remains at-large, though he is wanted for the murders of police officers killed during his escape from Zalachenko’s estate.

Salander’s long history of maltreatment at the hands of the Swedish state continues here and much of the movie continues the combined efforts of Salander, her associated hacker Plague (Tomas Köhler), Blomqvist, and Blomqvist’s sister (Annika Hallin), who acts as attorney for Salander in this case.

Once more, the work of director Daniel Alfredson is phenomenal in bringing the story from Stieg Larsson‘s novel of the same title to life on the big screen. With its superb acting, writing and pace, the story of Salander’s fight against the Swedish state that has taken so much from her and abused her for so long finally becomes the primary focus of the story. The viewer if given a lot of new information about her early life, which makes her efforts to clear her name – aided by both her doctor and attorney all the more compelling. In addition to their help, Salander is assisted by friends and associates to not only prove her innocence, but to prove she deserves a completely independent life. All of this, which occurs at a breakneck pace, keeps viewers on the edge of their seat until the ultimate finale.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is an incredibly satisfying conclusion to its two predecessors, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire, and is too good to spoil with this review. If you have seen the two preceding movies in this series and have not yet seen The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest you should do so at your earliest opportunity as you will not be disappointed!

The Escapist, 2008

Frank Perry (Brian Cox) is a long-time convict in an Irish prison where he is ultimately meant to live out the remainder of his life. Things for him change when he learns that his daughter is having problems with drugs and he decides he must escape from prison and try to mend his relationship with her, hoping that in the process he will be able to help her stop her drug abuse. To allow this escape he enlists help from a variety of other convicts, each bringing some skill, knowledge, or other asset to help achieve their common goal of escape.

What appears at first glance to a simple movie with an almost cookie cutter plot delves into ever deeper levels of meaning, symbolism and mental states, depending heavily upon the great skill of the supporting cast.

Aside from the guards, Frank must respect the political arrangements within the prison, which revolve around a drug trade, managed by Viv Batista (Seu Jorge) and overseen by the main power within the prison, a flatly menacing inmate played exceptionally well by the now A-list actor Damian Lewis. Others join the group as the plot becomes more and more complicated, culminating in a race through the underground structures sitting beneath the prison.

So much can be said about the quality of the acting and the depth that is developed by writer/director Rupert Wyatt; from the initially simple story unfolds what can best be described as an exceptionally elegant film. The web of characters is woven with impressive skill and the movie takes on complexity and levels of meaning that are not expected from the initial framing of the plot.

Any viewer who likes good, character-driven stories will likely appreciate this movie and it is highly regarded and recommended by this reviewer.

The Man from Earth, 2007

The Man From Earthis a 2007 masterpiece, directed by Richard Schenkman and written by Jerome Bixby, about the possibilities that would exist if a man never aged and had existed on Earth for 14,000 years.

The film opens with a simple professor packing up his things and getting ready for a small gathering of his associates from the college where he has taught for ten years. During the party he decides to make a confession to his friends: that he is such a man and has lived for more than 14,000 years, moving every ten years or so, once people begin to notice he isn’t aging. His decision to open up to the group results in profound questions, answers and compelling stories that pour from the man (David Lee Smith).

The film has absolutely minimal sets, feeling closer to a play than a film and relies on its underrated and relatively unknown supporting cast and writing to bring about an epic story that is absolutely gripping for the viewer. The highs are just as extreme as the lows as emotions are wrung out of the friends with such skill that the story, along with the questions and concerns of the group become almost too realistic.

The movie can’t be recommended highly enough. It’s remarkable how little attention it has garnered given its quality, skilled acting, precise direction and a killer script from Bixby. While the movie’s themes and stories are intense, it is also totally engrossing for the audience and a terribly enjoyable movie to watch anytime.