Movie Review: 99 Homes (2015)

Homes. We live in them. They shelter us from the harshness of the outside world. And yet despite their importance, a few small legal stipulations can instantly take them away from us.

Ladies and gents… “99 Homes”.

After he gets tossed out of his own home, Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) goes on a quest to find a job so he can try to get it back. This eventually leads him to working for Richard Carver (Michael Shannon), the real estate agent that made Dennis leave his home. Already there you get an interesting setup. And the movie uses it to its advantage in developing the drama of the story, and it only grows more and more compelling as Dennis delves further down this spiral, becoming more involved with the real estate business. I honestly didn’t see where the story went at first, and even when I got some idea of the path later on, I still found it really engaging thanks to the genuinely interesting writing.

The characters in this are really interesting, as they’re actually pretty layered. Andrew Garfield plays Dennis Nash, a dedicated single father doing everything he can to keep his family afloat. He is the one that goes through the most development in the cast here (which makes sense, since he’s the main character), going from his emotionally charged starting position to where he ends up. And Garfield is fantastic in the role. We then have Michael Shannon as Richard Carver, real estate agent and dickhead extraordinaire. If you just think of those words together with the casting, you can probably imagine what the character’s like. And you’re mostly right… and it’s awesome. Michael Shannon’s awesome. We also get supporting work from Laura Dern, Noah Lomax, Tim Guinee, J.D. Evermore, and a whole bunch of other people, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Antony Partos & Matteo Zingales, and I think they did a pretty good job with it. The score is a mostly synthesized affair, making for a decently dramatic sound that fits the movie well enough. Not much else I can say. Good, but not too memorable.

“99 Homes” was written by Ramin Bahrani and Amir Naderi, with Bahrani serving as director. And I think Bahrani did a great job. He really knows how to bring you into it. There’s a confidence in his direction that gives the movie a certain flair that elevates it everything else by quite a margin. He almost gives the movie a bit of a documentary-esque vibe, without sacrificing the cinematic flair of the fictional elements. He also knows how to build some good suspense at times, especially with a scene early on that I won’t spoil. Bahrani’s good.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 76/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“99 Homes” is a damn fine drama, taking a nuanced look at some fairly complex issues. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, pretty good music, and really good writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “99 Homes” is a 9,62/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “99 Homes” is now completed.

Oh, and that “Based on true events label”? Not quite true. It uses the 2008 recession as basis for its story, but beyond that, the story and characters are fabrications.

Movie Review: Last Breath (2019)

Hello and welcome to 2020, friends! To kick it off I decided to review something I haven’t looked at in a while: A documentary. The last time I did was in 2015. I don’t know why it took me this long to get around to it again, but I think we should stop dwelling on that and instead just get into this.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Last Breath”.

“Last Breath” is about a group of men who work with diving in the North Sea, doing maintenance on underwater structures. However, during this one dive, something goes wrong and one of them gets stuck down there with a very limited oxygen supply, forcing his colleagues to find a way to try and save him. The movie is partly interviews with the people who worked on this operation, mixed with recreations of what went on, as well as actual footage from the incident. Now, while this approach is simple and something we’ve seen before in other documentaries, I feel like it still works in this movie’s favor. It’s a simple story of a terrifying situation, so there’s no real need to complicate how it’s told. It’s simple, but effective. They get you invested in the people involved with some quick behind-the-scenes goofing from one of the crew members filming on the ship, and then the main incident happens. Now we have a scary setup that manages to retain good tension throughout the rest of the runtime. Yeah, it’s well told and I was utterly invested from start to end.

The music for the movie was composed by Paul Leonard-Morgan, and before we get to discussing this movie’s music, I just wanna go on a quick sidenote. It is so weird seeing his name again. Don’t think I’ve seen his name attached to a movie since 2012’s “Dredd”. Anyway, back to “Last Breath”. His music is very good. It has a solid mix of emotionally resonant strings, with some electronic flourishes at one or two points. Some might call it emotionally manipulative, I call it good.

“Last Breath” was directed by Richard da Costa and Alex Parkinson, and I think they did a good job with it. The way they mix old, real footage with recreations is pretty great, and while they stylistically look different due to differences in technology, they still make the transitions feel natural. And even taking the new footage on its own, it is really well handled. Especially in terms of cinematography, I thought that was fucking stunning. Kudos to Alistair McCormick for those good looking shots. But yeah, the way it all comes together is really well handled.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

“Last Breath” may be simple in its approach, but it’s still a damn fine documentary that put me on the edge of my seat. It has an interesting story featuring some interesting people, its music is very good, and the way it is shot, edited, and directed is pretty damn great. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Last Breath” is a 9,67/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Last Breath” is now completed.

Kicking off 2020 on a high note.

Movie Review: The Invitation (2016)

Every year for the past few years, as we get closer to October (AKA the Month of Spooks), people keep recommending this fucking movie. So there, I finally got around to it. YOU HAPPY NOW?

Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for accepting… “The Invitation”.

On a night like any other, Will (Logan Marshall-Green) gets invited to a nice dinner at his ex-wife’s home. And as the night goes on, old memories keep coming back, all the while Will suspects that something might be going on. So now we have our story, and I think it’s an interesting one. What we have here is partly a character-driven drama, and partly a bit of a psychological thriller, and the blend makes for an utterly compelling and unpredictable experience that kept me on the edge of my seat from scene one. It is quite a slow burn, which might turn some viewers off, but for me it just added to the overall experience.

The characters in this are flawed, nuanced, and overall interesting. And I won’t go through them all, as that might ruin some of the reveals or interesting moments with them in case you’ll watch it. But the cast features people like Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Michelle Krusiec, Mike Doyle, Jordi Vilasuso, Michiel Huisman, John Carroll Lynch, and they all are great in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Theodore Shapiro, and I thought it was good. It is this low, almost droning score that creates a bit of an uncomfortable tension in some scenes, and adds emotional weight to others. It isn’t one I’m gonna find myself listening to in my spare time, but I thought it worked quite well for this movie.

“The Invitation” was directed by Karyn Kusama, and I think she did a fantastic job with it. She has a way of staying intimate to the main character while still encompassing everything going on around. To call the direction tight and focused would be underselling it. This is complemented by the outright stunning cinematography by Bobby Shore, which gives the movie an almost dreamlike vibe at times.

This movie has been generally well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

I can see now why people kept recommending me to watch “The Invitation”, because it’s fucking great. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Invitation” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Invitation” is now completed.

Maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t get invited to a lot of stuff.

Series Review: Line of Duty – Season 5 (2019)

During the first quarter of this year, I started getting into this show thanks to recommendations from friends (some of you might remember all the reviews I posted). And now the fifth season has come to a close, after finally premiering a few weeks ago. So let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Line of Duty” season 5!

After a secret police transport carrying very valuable amounts of contraband is hijacked, it is suspected that the capers had help from the inside. So it’s up to Arnott (Martin Compston), Fleming (Vicky McClure), and the rest of AC-12 to investigate this case, leading them down one of their most complicated and dangerous cases yet. So now we have our “Line of Duty” continuation. As per usual, it gives us a new situation to follow while also building on the overall mythos of the show. And like with previous seasons, this makes for some truly anxiety-inducing television that electrifies from start to finish. I’d even argue that this is the most suspenseful and unpredictable of the seasons, especially since it really starts toying with our beloved leads in ways that we haven’t really seen before. And while the show has put me on the edge of my seat before, it’s never made me feel this glued to the proceedings. So I’d argue the story/events of this season is some of the best yet.

The characters here are nuanced, flawed, unique, and just overall incredibly interesting. Martin Compston and Vicky McClure returns as Steve Arnott and Kate Fleming, our two main leads for the show, and they’re just as interesting as ever, both in investigating the case and also in some of their personal stuff. And both actors are once again great. Adrian Dunbar returns as Ted Hastings, head of AC-12, who deals with a lot more personal turmoil than usual, which really gives him a lot of new and intriguing development that we only caught glimpses of before, making him a real standout this season. And Dunbar is great in the role. New to the show this season is Stephen Graham, who plays John, the apparent leader of the gang that stole the contraband. He’s tough, ruthless, but there’s also a humanity behind his eyes that makes him a bit more compelling than your common thug. And the stuff they do with him this season is great. And Graham is fantastic in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Taj Atwal, Tomi May, Rochenda Sandall, Anna Maxwell Martin, Polly Walker, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with previous season, the music here was composed by Carly Paradis, who absolutely outdid herself. She’s come a long way from the slightly overbearing tunes of the first season, to the stuff we got here. There are layers, to her music, and it’s often subtly helping build the emotion of the scenes, making for a really nuanced and kinda beautiful score. It’s the best music we’ve gotten out of the show.

As with the previous seasons, all episodes this season were written by series creator Jed Mercurio, and directing by John Strickland (episodes 1 – 4) and Susan Tully (episode 5 & 6). And the craft on display is as tight as one expects from “Line of Duty” at this point. This show is no stranger to suspense, but the way it managed to make me clench every part of my body this season is quite unparalleled. Even in some of the more “quiet” conversation or interrogation scenes it is some of the most electrifying direction I’ve seen in a tv show.

This show/season has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,6/10 and is ranked #137 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

I’m gonna be honest, season 5 of “Line of Duty” is my favorite season of the show so far, it’s fucking perfect. It has a fantastic plot, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, and fantastic writing/directing. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Line of Duty” season 5 is a 10/10. So it of course gets a “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Line of Duty” season 5 is now completed.

God damn, I adore this show.

Series Review: Barry – Season 2 (2019)

Reviewed season 1 a few weeks back (ahem ahem). So it’s reasonable to think that I should tackle the second season now that it too has come to a close. Well, here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Barry” season 2.

Set a few weeks after the events of the first season, we follow Barry (Bill Hader) as he tries to get on with his life as an aspiring actor, while the consequences of his previous actions start creeping up to haunt him. Season 1 took a concept that I wasn’t entirely sure about and managed to make something great out of it. So how would they follow that up? By upping their game tenfold. That’s right, the second season of “Barry” manages to take the dark, yet somewhat quirky ideas of the first season and elevate them in ways I didn’t think possible. It manages to be fun, heartbreaking, suspenseful, exciting, and just overall a damn concise season of television. Great stuff.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, colorful, fun, and overall just really interesting. Bill Hader of course returns as the titular hitman-turned-actor. In this season we get to see a lot of his old demons come up. Combined with a lot of his more current issues, and it gives him a lot of really engaging character development. And Hader is fantastic in the role. Sarah Goldberg returns as Sally, Barry’s girlfriend and acting partner. She goes through a bit of personal conflict throughout the season, and it’s quite engaging. And Goldberg is great in the role. And we get supporting work from people like Henry Winkler, Stephen Root, Anthony Carrigan, John Pirrucello, Michael Irby, Patricia Fa’asua, Daniel Bernhardt, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with season 1, the music was composed by David Wingo, and it’s great. Suspense-building, emotional, dramatic, and just overall well composed, working well for the various scenes it’s found in. There’s also the occasional licensed track here and there, and they work alright in their respective scenes.

The show was created by Alec Berg and Bill Hader, with those two writing most of the episodes. And the craft here is pretty spectacular. Not only did they up their game in terms of storytelling, but they also went all in when it came to direction and cinematography as well. The first season wasn’t bad in that regard, but there’s a notable leap here, created a visually arresting show that also keeps the viewer on edge throughout most of the runtime.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 87/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10.

Season 1 of “Barry” was great. And somehow, season 2 is even better. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 2 of “Barry” is a 9,94/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Barry” season 2 is now completed.

Crazy motherfuckers somehow did it.

Series Review: Line of Duty – Season 4 (2017)

That’s right, another “Line of Duty” review. But don’t worry, it’s the last one… until season 5 makes its way over here.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Line of Duty” season 4!

AC-12 is back, this time investigating the recent, slightly suspicious actions of a highly decorated detective chief inspector (Thandie Newton). Twists, turns, and “holy shit” abound. Yeah, it’s another season of “Line of Duty”, the edge-of-your-seat police procedural that I still have no way of predicting where it would go each season. The threads brought back from previous seasons are tied wonderfully into some stuff here, and the new plot is great too. Really, there’s not much else that I can say without repeating what I said the last three times I reviewed this show. It’s more “Line of Duty”… and it’s great. Not season 3 great, but still great.

The characters here are as flawed, unique, layered, and interesting as always. To avoid repeating myself, I will not go over the three mains again, as I can’t say anything new about them here without going into potential spoilers. But the three of them (Martin Compston, Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar) are still great characters complemented by great performances. So let’s get into the new part of the core cast (for the season), that being Thandie Newton as DCI Roseanne “Roz” Huntley, a tough-as-nails policewoman who’s worked hard to get where she is. Not only is it interesting seeing her dealing with AC-12 and their inquiries, but she also has her own dealings (for lack of a better word) that she tries to handle throughout the six episodes, and that stuff is pretty engaging as well. So yeah, Huntley is an interesting character, and Newton is great in the role. And in the supporting roles we find people like Lee Ingleby, Paul Higgins, Maya Sondhi, Jason Watkins, Scott Reid, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As per the first three seasons, the music here was done by Carly Paradis, and once again it is great. Most of the time it’s a subtle piano piece that sneaks the main theme in a bit, but it does also know when to get a bit more tense, exciting, and loud. It’s probably my favorite iteration of the score so far. It doesn’t do anything overly new or groundbreaking, but it’s probably the most polished and balanced version we’ve gotten so far, and that’s an A+ in my book.

As per usual, all the episodes were written by series creator/showrunner Jed Mercurio, who even took on directing duties for the first two episodes, with John Strickland taking on the remaining four. And like with the score, this is probably the most polished version of the show so far. That’s not to say that they shy away from some of the gritty stuff… ’cause they don’t. It’s just that you can tell that they’ve come a long way since the first season in terms of both budget and storytelling confidence. Remember how I mentioned the “edge-of-your-seat” thing from before? Yeah, that applies to the direction too. In terms of suspense in television, few do it as well as “Line of Duty”.

This show/season has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,6/10 and is ranked #158 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

So yeah, as expected, season 4 of “Line of Duty” is fucking great. Great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Line of Duty” season 4 is a 9,92/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Line of Duty” season 4 is now completed.

This show is too addictive for my own good.

Series Review: Line of Duty – Season 3 (2016)

Yes, I know, you’ve been getting a lot of “Line of Duty” content from me in relatively quick succession, but I can’t help if the show is very bingeable. Or, well, technically it is, but also not… Shut up. Let’s just get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Line of Duty” season 3!

When a suspect is fatally shot during a police raid, Arnott (Martin Compston), Fleming (Vicky McClure), and the rest of AC-12 have to look into the possibility of corruption and misconduct within the strike team involved in the shooting. But as they work this case, they soon discover that it isn’t as simple as it might seem at first. And this is how “Line of Duty” weaves its most complex, layered, intense, and unpredictable plot yet… and I loved ever second of it. Not discrediting the first two seasons, they were great… but season 3’s web is so broad and layered with intrigued that it almost puts them to shame. In scope, storytelling, and suspense, it is probably the peak of any police show that I have ever watched, and honestly better than a lot of movies too. It takes the idea of “Line of Duty”, and not only creates a new, interesting plot in it, but weaves in elements from previous seasons too to create this big, elaborate plot… and yet it never feels messy. And at no point could I predict what was going to happen, which is quite nice to see in a police show. So yeah, the plot here is pretty fantastic.

The characters (new and returning) are all flawed, layered, engaging, and overall just really interesting. Martin Compston of course returns as DS Steve Arnott, still being the tenacious  investigator that we know and love. Seeing him do his job would’ve been interesting enough, but then they also give him some interesting development here too to keep it feeling fresh, which is a welcome addition. And Compston is great in the role. Vicky McClure returns as DC Kate Fleming, who as per usual, has to go undercover, this time with the strike team that’s under investigation. And while she doesn’t have the biggest arc this season, she still gets a fair amount of good stuff to chew on here. And McClure is great in the role. Adrian Dunbar returns as everyone’s favorite superintendent, Ted Hastings. Seeing him deal with the complexities of the case while also dealing with some personal things is really interesting. And Dunbar is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Daniel Mays, Craig Parkinson, Polly Walker, Arsher Ali, Keeley Hawes, Jonas Armstrong, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with the first two seasons, the music here was composed by Carly Paradis, who once again delivers a tense, emotional, dramatic, and just plain great score. It’s probably the best work she’s done for the show up up to this point. The compositions are layered, yet simple, which works incredibly well in creating the sound of the show.

Series creator Jed Mercurio returned to write all the episodes, and directing duties were split between Michael Keillor and John Strickland. And once again, this crew has really upped their game. The directing is more steady, more confident, and overall more intense, creating a truly electrifying viewing experience. Sure, the writing in itself is already amazing, but the addition of the season’s excellent direction creates a unique and awesome style that I really liked. It also makes the suspenseful bits even more uncomfortable.

This show/season has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,6/10 and is ranked #162 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

Once again, “Line of Duty” has one-upped itself. The plot is fantastic, the characters are great, the performances are great, the music is really good, and the writing/directing is fantastic. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Line of Duty” season 3 is a 9,95/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Line of Duty” season 3 is now completed.

For fuck’s sake, show, stop* getting better and better.

*Don’t actually stop.

Series Review: Line of Duty – Season 2 (2014)

Season 1 got reviewed a few weeks back. Time to finally talk about season 2.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Line of Duty” season 2!

When a super secret police convoy get attacked by some masked assailants, Arnott (Martin Compston), Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), and the rest of AC-12 have to look into the possibility of someone within the police leaking the convoy’s route. So now we have our plot set up. And while there was nothing wrong with the first season’s plot, it is nowhere as layered, unpredictable, and electrifying as what they got going on here in the sophomore outing. In the first season they were trying to find the show’s voice, but here in season 2 they found it, and they had a lot of confidence in the storytelling. The way it engages through clever drama and really tight suspense makes for one of the best seasons of television I’ve seen in quite some time.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, and really interesting. Martin Compston returns as Steve Arnott, the young-ish man working with AC-12 to stop corruption. He is given a good amount of development here, making him even more interesting than he was in the first season, while still keeping the determined nature that made him so engaging to begin with. And Compston is great in the role. Vicky McClure returns as Kate Fleming, AC-12’s resident undercover officer. She gets development here through something in the case that I won’t spoil, but it’s an interesting touch. And McClure is great in the role. Adrian Dunbar returns as Ted Hastings, the likable boss of AC-12. He has some personal problems that he deals with while also trying to be involved in the case, which is quite interesting to see. And Dunbar is really good in the role. We also get Keeley Hawes as Lindsay Denton, a woman/member of the police who is one of the prime suspects of the case, and they do some really interesting stuff with her character throughout the season. And Hawes is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Craig Parkinson, Mark Bonnar, Tony Pitts, Sacha Dhawan, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with the first season, the score for this was composed by Carly Paradis, and I think that it’s an improvement on the first season’s music. It still has a heavy focus in piano and some strings, but what it improves on is subtlety. Sure, the score is noticeable, but compared to the first season, it never gets overbearing at any point, and just ends up being this emotional powerhouse that makes the show even better than it already was.

The show was created by Jed Mercurio, who also wrote all the episodes here, with direction split between Douglas Mackinnon and Daniel Nettheim. And the craft here is even tighter than in the first season, with plenty more “holy shit” moments throughout, which keeps the show energetic and tense, even in the most subtle and quiet of scenes. A lot of cop shows fail in creating genuine suspense, but season 2 of “Line of Duty” never wavers in that regard.

This show/season has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,6/10 and is ranked #165 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

Season 2 of “Line of Duty” takes what was good about the first season and improves on it in every aspect. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Line of Duty” season 2 is a 9,91/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Line of Duty” season 2 is now completed.

I can see now why you Brits keep banging on about this show.

Movie Review: The Guilty (2018)

I don’t envy those doing police work. I salute them for doing it, but I don’t envy them.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Guilty”.

Asger (Jakob Cedergren) is a police officer who’s been assigned to alarm dispatch duty. However, things get a bit extra complicated when he gets a call from a woman who has been kidnapped. So it’s up to Asger to try to find a way to save this woman before something bad happens to her (you know, other than being kidnapped). And I can already hear some of you saying “Gee willikers, Mr. Markus, this sure sounds an awful lot like a Halle Berry movie from a few years back”. And to that I say, that is a fair comparison on a surface level. But digging deeper, this is a different kind of flick. This is a thriller that builds its suspense from its limitations. All we get is Asger in his office, talking on the phone, and occasionally reacting to them. It has kind of a Hitchcockian vibe to it. And I think it’s all handled wonderfully.

Jakob Cedergren plays Asger Holm, the policeman at the center of the story who’s been assigned alarm dispatch duty. He has kind of a working class man kinda vibe that instantly made me somewhat feel for him, as he didn’t feel like the typical movie protagonist. And seeing him go through the troubles of trying to help this woman, without being able to really leave his desk, it is absolutely riveting. And Cedergren is fantastic in the role. The people he talks to on the phone too does very well in their roles.

What is interesting about the music in this movie is that there is pretty much none. There is a bit of a droning track at the credits, but throughout the movie, there is nothing. And I commend the filmmakers for showing such restraint. You guys know me, I love me a good musical score in a movie. But here I felt like it wouldn’t work as well. It would’ve taken something away from the situation if you had suspenseful brass and jumpy strings playing the background. But yeah, the lack of music here I think worked wonderfully.

This movie was written by Gustav Möller and Emil Nygaard Albertsen, with Möller also serving as director. And holy fucking shit, did they knock it out of the park. As I mentioned, the plot in itself is handled in a really solid way, so there’s the writing aspect dealt with. But Möller’s direction here i tight as all hell, increasing the unease and tension with every scene, without resorting to stupid cliches. We’re always stuck in the room with Asger, so building the suspense wasn’t an easy task… but god damn, did they pull it off. And Jasper Spanning’s cinematography was suitably claustrophobic, adding to the experience.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 99% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

You’d think someone sitting at a desk for 80 minutes wouldn’t make for a compelling movie… but “The Guilty” proves that wrong. It has a great plot, a really good character, some great performances, and some fantastic writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Guilty” is a 9,90/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Guilty” is now completed.

Sometimes less is more.

Series Review: Line of Duty – Season 1 (2012)

Sorry that it’s been so long since my last blog post, which was… almost two weeks ago, yikes. I have no good reason for this lack of writing, my laziness has just been awful to me. But now I’m (hopefully) back for semi-regular posting.

Ladies and gents… “Line of Duty” season 1.

After an anti-terrorist operation he’s leading goes awry, Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) gets transferred to a different department, one that focuses on stopping corruption within the police. So we follow him as he deals with some of the aftermath of the fuck-up, while also trying to stop a certain, beloved, potentially corrupt officer within the police. So now we have our plot. And it’s pretty great. It manages to give us plenty of details to create a vivid picture while still hiding an ace up the sleeve in each episode, keeping it suspenseful, unpredictable, and constantly interesting.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, and interesting. First up we have Martin Compston as DS Steve Arnott, former anti-terror squad leader, currently member of the anti-corruption department. He’s a man who’s always on the prowl to get the job done… as long as it is by the book, because he’s a good guy who doesn’t fuck around and lie. And I found him to be a solid protagonist. And Compston is great in the role. Next we have Lennie James as Anthony Gates, a highly ranked and beloved officer within the police, and the person that Arnott and crew are investigating. He’s a highly determined, charismatic, and skilled policeman who seems like a good guy, but might also have some skeletons in the closet. And James is great in the role. We also get Vicky McClure as Kate, someone within the police whose allegiance is toyed with a bit. Not in a “is she a villain?” kind of way, but more in a “What’s she playing at?” kind of way, and it makes her quite an interesting part of the cast. And McClure is really good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Adrian Dunbar, Owen Teale, Neil Morrissey, Craig Parkinson, Gina McKee, Kate Ashfield, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show was composed by Carly Paradis, and it was good. It leans into a lot of piano, and some strings too, creating a dramatic tone that suits the story and character development on display in the series. Not all tracks hit it out of the park for me, as some of them can feel a little overbearing, but I wouldn’t say that I actively dislike any of them. Overall I’d just say that the music here is really good.

The show was created by Jed Mercurio, who also wrote all the episodes, with directing being split between David Caffrey and Douglas MacKinnon. And this teamwork gives us a show with a very gritty and intense look at the world that the characters inhabit. Which is especially impressive considering how much of this show is spent on some of the more mundane aspects of police work, making it tense and exciting through camerawork and clever writing.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,6/10 and is ranked #173 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

The first season of “Line of Duty” is an intense ride that I really enjoyed watching. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing/writing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Line of Duty” season 1 is a 9,82/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Line of Duty” season 1 is now completed.

I’m back.