Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:59 pm 
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We are back in the doldrums with two new US releases meant to thrill you, that do not. In both cases the stars (Ethan Hawke, Guillaume Canet) return to collaborate with a director (Robert Budreau, Christian Carion). Maybe they shouldn't have bothered. It's not like Christoph Waltz and Tarantino, you know.

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STOCHOLM (Robert Budreau 2018).

As noted in my review, this is a lot closer to what actually happened than Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon, which grew out of it, but everything is stop-and-start, flat, and sometimes silly. The mercurial energy of an Al Pacino is direly needed as well as a well-written scenario that builds and surprises. Bank robbery with hostages? Ho hum. With Ethan Hawke and Noomi Rapace, and not a word of Swedish spoken in a movie set in Stockholm among Swedes. Watched on a screener 22 Apr. 2019. 92 mins. Metascore 54%.

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MY SON/MON GARÇON (Christian Carion 2017).

This is another collaboration between Carion and Guillaume Canet (who scored big as a director with Tell No One in 2006), following the Academy Award nominated Joyeux Noel (2005) and the unexciting spy story Farewell (2009). The novelty is that Canet gave himself wholly to this six-day shoot (filmed on his shoulder by Carion, a plus), depicting a father called back by his wife, now divorced, to find their little boy, who has been kidnapped. Canet agreed to improvise all the way shooting in chronological order, without knowing what comes next. It's a psychological thriller and then becomes a conventional revenge/rescue tale, and increasingly violent. The late action part is tense, the mountainous winter setting atmospheric. But due to the working method, a lot winds up not being explained. The Les Inrocks critic observes tellingly of improvisation that it should be "a chemistry of chance and of the moment where one must embrace the unexpected, not a palliative for a too-strictly calibrated story line." In French, with Mélanie Laurent, Shosanna in Inglourious Basterds . On a screener, 23 Apr. 2019. 87 mins. AlloCiné press rating a poor 2.9; Rotten Tomatoes 57%. 12 Apr. US release.

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