The Drop (2014)

US / 107 minutes / color / Chernin, Big Screen, Ingenious, TSG, Fox Searchlight Dir: Michaël R. Roskam Pr: Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping Scr: Dennis Lehane Story: “Animal Rescue” (2009 in Boston Noir, edited by Dennis Lehane) by Dennis Lehane Cine: Nicolas Karakatsanis Cast: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz, Ann Dowd, Michael Aronov, James Frecheville, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Tobias Segal, Michael Esper, Morgan Spector.

Scripted by Dennis Lehane on the basis of a story by Dennis Lehane first published in an anthology edited by Dennis Lehane (one of the celebrated Placename Noir series published by Akashic), this highly impressive slice of neonoir has, well, Dennis Lehane all over it.

Noomi Rapace as Nadia and Tom Hardy as Bob.

Brooklyn bar tender Bob Saginowski (Hardy) works in a drop bar, so-called because the local mobsters choose a different bar at random every night for receipt of their nefarious takings from all over, figuring that this way the cops are less likely to figure out where the money’s being collected. The bar where Bob works is managed by his much older cousin Marv Sliper (Gandolfini), who lives with Continue reading

snapshot: Unlocked (2017)

Czech Republic, Switzerland, UK, US / 98 minutes / color / Silver Reel, di B, Bloom, Sira, Lipsync Dir: Michael Apted Pr: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Georgina Townsley, Erik Howsam, Claudia Bluemhuber Scr: Peter O’Brien Cine: George Richmond Cast: Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom, Toni Collette, John Malkovich, Michael Douglas, Tosin Cole, Matthew Marsh, Makram J. Khoury, Brian Caspe, Philip Brodie, Michael Epp, Aymen Hamdouchi, Akshay Kumar, Robert Alexander Russell, Rami Nasr, Lauren Jessica Boone, Olivette Cole-Wilson.

As this movie’s closing credits rolled, I sat back with a sigh of satisfaction. An old-fashioned edge-of-your-seat yarn, excellently told, with some genuine surprises and a thoroughly admirable, likeable protagonist. All this and Noomi Rapace in kickass form. What could be better? They should make more movies like this . . .

And then I discovered one reason why they don’t.

Apparently Unlocked was roasted by the critics on release for not bringing anything new to the table—for being old-fashioned, in other words.

To which all I can respond is: I’m a big fan of mold-breakers, but there’s room for old-fashioned too, y’know.

Noomi Rapace as Alice Racine.

CIA interrogator Alice Racine (Rapace) was one of the best, but a couple of years ago an operation went pear-shaped in Paris, innocents died, and she had to Continue reading

Dead Man Down (2013)

US / 118 minutes / color / FilmDistrict, IM Global, WWE Studios, Original, Frequency Dir: Niels Arden Oplev Pr: Neal Moritz, J.H. Wyman Scr: J.H. Wyman Cine: Paul Cameron Cast: Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard, Dominic Cooper, Isabelle Huppert, Luis Da Silva Jr., Wade Barrett, Franky G., Declan Mulvey, John Cenatiempo, Roy James Wilson Jr., Myles Humphus, Stephen Hill, Aaron Vexler, James Biberi, F. Murray Abraham, Andrew Stewart-Jones, Beata Alexandra Dalton, Accalia Quintana, Saul Stein, Armand Assante, Robert Vataj.

Two years ago, on June 17, Delphine (Quintana), the little daughter of Hungarian immigrants Anka (Dalton) and Laszlo Kerick (Farrell), was killed by a stray bullet as the thugs of racketeer landlord Alphonse Hoyt (Howard) attempted to clear the tower block in which they lived. Anka and Laszlo were determined to help the DA bring the hoodlums to justice, but Alphonse hired an Albanian gang led by Ilir Brozi (Biberi) to murder them. Ilir’s mob succeeded in killing Anka and, they thought, Laszlo; but in fact Laszlo survived.

Now, having taken the name Victor, Laszlo has, with the aid of Anka’s uncle, Gregor (Abraham), succeeded in infiltrating Alphonse’s crew. (As Sam Juliano has pointed out, Victor Laszlo is the name of Paul Henreid’ character in CASABLANCA [1942].) He’s secretly playing a cat-and-mouse game with Alphonse, sending him photographs of Alphonse’s hoods with their eyes crossed out, plus small cut squares from another photograph with the obvious implication that, jigsaw-pieced together, these will reveal the identity of Alphonse’s tormentor and the reason for the torment. Alphonse sets his henchman Paul (Vexler) to trying to find out who’s behind the unsettling campaign. Paul deduces the guilty party is Victor and confronts him in the latter’s apartment but, before he can tell anyone else, Victor strangles him.

Dead Man Down 2013 - Beatrice explains her deal to Victor

Beatrice (Noomi Rapace) explains her deal to Victor.

Unknown to Victor, this crime was witnessed by Beatrice Louzon (Rapace), who lives with her mother Valentine (Huppert) in the Continue reading