The Snowman

A chilly start to a snowballing crime sees Michael Fassbender pursue a carrot-nosed villain.

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Infamous detective, Harry Hole (Fassbender), must strike up a work-life balance before he loses everything. What starts out as a harmless homicide investigation soon escalates into a matter of personal revenge, with Harry becoming the target.

The film had enormous potential to be one of the most hard-hitting crime dramas in years, but unfortunately, the lacklustre script left the overwhelmingly talented cast pining for a bigger challenge. At every turn, this film had the ability to stun, but, director Thomas Alfredson, disappointed with a culmination of scenes that merged into one another without much hope of climax.

Whatsmore is the lack of explanation as to why a story set in Oslo,  Norway has all-English speaking characters. Though clearly done in order to heighten accessibility in the cinematic universe, it does create confusion for audiences who are not familiar with the Jo Nesbo book on which this film is based, and simply adds to the overall uninspired finish of the film.

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American Assassin

Terrorist annihilation has never looked so thrilling.

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After losing his girlfriend to the deadly clutches of a terror attack, Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) takes revenge to the next level as he becomes a one-man army in an attempt to infiltrate and kill those responsible for his girlfriend’s demise. Though his plan seems flawless, the CIA decides his talents would be put to better use as part of a team, and so intercept him before he gets in too much trouble.

As movie partnerships go, Dylan O’Brien and Michael Keaton’s on-screen chemistry is electrically on point, with both managing to bounce of one another’s talent. The duos energetic charisma keeps the plots ever-growing tension, upbeat, without seeming forced. 

With a certification of 18, the film boasts a splendid amount of violently orchestrated bloodbaths, but given the nature of the film, it was a necessary evil in order to provide the authenticity of terrorist-driven activity.

Wind River

Snow storms are not the only danger for the residents of an American Indian Reserve in Wyoming.

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When local hunter, Cory Lambert, goes on a tracking expedition for some Lions, he finds more than he bargained for when he comes across the body of a young girl, which results in an FBI investigation.

The script for this film is a constant stunner, with twists and turns that keep the audience gripped throughout. And with a cast fronted by Jeremy Renner, the film continues to portray an authentically dramatic set of events.

With little to no representation of American Indians in today’s film industry, this film shows a particularly striking revelation, which brings with it an important message regarding the all too often disappearance’s of American Indian women, who are not considered worthy of counting towards the missing person’s report of America.

 

Unlocked

CIA films never get old, but they do, apparently, get longer.

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London is in a terror crisis, and it’s up to CIA agent, Alice Racine, to save the day. But as is the case with so many crime thrillers, such matters are never made easy.

In a plot twist that’s sure to make even Donald Trump double take, conspiracy theories get a whole new meaning as central intelligence gets a little less, well, intelligent.

With a cast that boasts the likes of Michael Douglas and Orlando Bloom, you can only hope for good things, but, alas, that’s about as good as this film gets; safe to say these two will be having harsh words with their management teams.

Despite the best efforts of the script-writers, this film just cannot get it’s feet off the ground, with each anti-climatic scene following the next, it’s a wonder there were so many cinema goers left in their seat by the time the end-credits rolled.

 

Split

When one man has twenty three personalities living inside him, it’s not surprising that things get a little weird.

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Kevin (James McAvoy) is a man with an army of personalities within him, and each one is as eager to reach the surface as the next. Despite his efforts to conceal these alter-egos, eventually the most powerful of the personalities are brought forward, leading him to discover a very dark side of this traumatic ‘illness’.

The premise of the film is one befitting to the horror genre; it’s just a shame that director M. Night Shyamalan didn’t fulfil its potential. The very idea of twenty-three personalities residing in one body is thought-provoking in itself and enough to entice any audience. But what starts out as an interesting concept soon spirals out of control as the screenwriters get carried away with themselves with the inclusion of an animalistic twenty-fourth personality, which quite frankly does nothing but cheapen this film’s potential brilliance.

Whilst the story does lose itself in a ridiculous turn of events, there is one saving grace that makes this film almost worthwhile a watch and that is the acting. James McAvoy, as you may expect is more than perplexing in his role, or should I say roles. Not only does he step into each character with ease, but he owns each one as though they are completely different entities.

The Accountant

If there’s one thing that’s for certain, it’s that this film is not a typical attempt at a Hollywood action. Quite the contrary in fact. 

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Ben Affleck takes centre stage as a moral murderer with a very unusual talent for mathematics and an accompanying diagnosis of Asperger’s; not exactly the usual recipe for an action hero.

Remarkably, Affleck convincingly portrays the traits of Asperger’s syndrome with fascinating ease; negating the need for any potential stereotypes that are often associated with a misunderstanding of the syndrome. 

Though Affleck does delight in his performance as the main focus, the Accountant, Christian Wolfe, the partnering with Anna Kendrick’s character, Dana diffuses some of the dramatic tension that is simmering under the plots surface, and brings a sense of normalised humour to the table. A trait that is very easily forgotten in the midst of action. 

The Accountant is not only truly refreshing in its inauguration, but provides moral sensibility with a wonderfully written script that has a perfect compromise of dramatic action to heartfelt reality. 

Nocturnal Animals

If ‘A Single Man’ is anything to go by, I think we can all begin to accept that Tom Ford films are weird, but even with that being said, his latest directorial engagement seems to excel beyond  even his normal stance of unusual.

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As plots go, this one certainly takes some getting used to, mainly due to the fact that it is essentially a story within a story; an inception that is never easily followed by cinematic goers.

What begins as a classic love story is quickly disrupted by a sinister force of reality, as a perfect life becomes a societal trap that leads to heartache and misery.

Nocturnal Animals uses a writers (Jake Gyllenhaal) perspective to create an alternative reality, with devastating consequences, all whilst taking the audience through conflicting emotions of love and loss as they struggle to decipher between what is real and what is not.

The deeper into the warped sense of reality the writer travels, the darker the plot becomes, eventually leading to the demise of the writer himself.

Despite the seemingly unconventional method of storytelling, Tom Ford does an extraordinary job in ensuring each scene sinks seamlessly into the next, regardless of any time difference that may occur between them.

Amy Adams also does a stunning job in pulling off what is probably one her most complicated characters yet; an art curator who has more money than sense, and is herself, a nocturnal animal.