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Zettel Film Reviews » Detective

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Oceans Thirteen – uncool cool, marking time, selling us short

Tweet Oceans Thirteen – Steven Soderbergh No guys it’s not enough to just turn up to get paid. You’re supposed to act. It is a truism that if you think you’re cool – you ain’t. The more you think it – the less you are. This film thinks it is but the acting and the […]

Michael Clayton – innovative, thoughtful, enjoyable, satisfying

Tweet Michael Clayton – Tony Gilroy Watch Gilroy go. This intelligent, absorbing, innovative thriller is Tony Gilroy’s impressive directorial debut. It comes as no surprise that he wrote the superb screenplay having a track record that includes writing credits on all three films in the excellent Bourne franchise, Proof of Life and Devil’s Advocate. With […]

Die Hard 4.0 – triumph of the Willis

Tweet Die Hard 4.0 – Len Wiseman Downtown LA. Four American super-heroes meet for a drink. We will pass over Superman’s coke with a shudder. Even the non-diet doesn’t help. Phillip Marlowe’s bourbon, no ice, restores our faith in the misplaced connection between masculinity and booze. Harry Callaghan has something anonymous; guns not alcohol are […]

36 Quai des Orfevres – right guys – wrong roles

Tweet 36 Quai des Orfèvres – Olivier Marchal Close but no cigar. This is an entertaining cop melodrama with a dash of Gallic style. Yet it might have been the heir to Dassin’s Rififfi or Clouzot’s Wages of Fear. Its set up has the ingredients. But Marchal has taken the safe route to journeyman melodrama […]

An American Gangster – sentimentalising gangsters, fetishising guns

Tweet American Gangster – Ridley Scott Sentimentalising gangsters and fetishising guns are twin cancers at the heart of American culture. Each feeds off the other to create a moral landscape that can be obscenely equivocal and cumulatively corrupting. I have been corrupted enough over the years to enjoy the tension and excitement of conflict in […]

The Valley of Elah – the art of depicting war

Tweet The Valley of Elah – Paul Haggis This quiet dignified film is blessed with an Oscar-worthy performance which displays precisely the same rare qualities by the mesmeric Tommy Lee Jones. It is by far the best film so far to evoke the contradictory emotions personal, political and moral, that are and should be aroused […]

Gone Baby Gone – the Afflecks impressively at home in Chicago

Tweet Gone Baby Gone – Ben Affleck All the subtlety, and nuance so notably missing from Ben Affleck’s wooden pretty-boy acting can be found in this impressive directorial debut. It was clear from the Oscar success of Good Will Hunting 10 years ago, that Affleck and Matt Damon penned and starred in, that Affleck could […]

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – Kilmer: “Downey’s a great Kisser”

Tweet Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – Shane Black (BBC Prize Review) Pulp Fiction? Give me a break. This off the wall, can’t be pigeon-holed, literate little gem has far more style, wit, laughs and ironic self-mockery in its little finger (which the dog eats by the way). Lets hear it for Mary Gail Artz and […]

In The Cut – Campion’s under-rated exploration of sexuality

Tweet In The Cut – Jane Campion Reviews of Jane Campion’s In The Cut have been shamefully grudging. Always an interesting Director, her intriguing, challenging film has been dreadfully served by Distributors. This is surprising for a bad reason as it is, briefly, perhaps the most sexually explicit movie so far in main line cinema […]

The Departed – Nicholson’s Existential villain

Tweet The Departed – Martin Scorcese Camus places ‘absurd’ man at the heart of an implacably indifferent universe that is Godless, meaningless, purposeless. Without bad faith or consoling self-deception, absurd man makes a definitive existential decision: against all the evidence and the urging of reason, he decides against suicide. Absurdity resides in his deciding to […]