Locke (2014)

locke-ivan-locke-tom-hardy-desktop-wallpaper-1080p (1)Roze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

Tom Hardy stars in this claustrophobic drama, taking place solely in the confines of his BMW. Using only his acting chops and a bluetooth connected phone as a prop, this becomes more than a casual drive down the M6. We are first introduced to Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) clearly at a crossroads, deciding to run away from his problems or tackling them head on. The film consists of the unraveling of his life during one drive to London as he attempts to patch it together with only his mobile device as his tool. It’s a film we can all relate to, as we all know too well that mistakes have consequences.

This film instantly reminded me of Buried (Ryan Reynolds) and Grand Piano (Elijah Wood), as both films take place in one location and are more or less shot in real time. The problem with these films is trying to keep the audience engrossed despite it being shot in one boring location. Buried for me is a perfect example of a film that succeeds in being just as thrilling as any blockbuster I’ve ever seen, and that took place in a wooden box. Locke does it’s best to keep the interiors of Tom Hardy’s BMW interesting and engaging, using the reflections of street lights and passing cars to create a frame worth looking at. What really overpowers the screen though is Tom Hardy’s unworldly ability to project his emotions onto the audience. You can sense his frustration, sadness and determination to make what would seem like an impossible feat repairable. It takes some kind of actor with the ability to be on screen alone for the entirety of the film and make it as entertaining and suspenseful as this.

The script is what makes the film so riveting, and with award winning screenwriter Steven Knight in the driving seat making his vision come to life, there was no way his story was going to fall flat. Especially after coming off Hummingbird, his directorial debut which didn’t go down as well as he would have hoped. Locke not only showcases his brilliant talent for screenwriting once again but redeems his ability as a director. I have to admit that there could have been more room for creativity as some of the shots started to feel repetitive, but thankfully Tom Hardy’s dynamic performance prevents the film from becoming tiresome aesthetically.

The story is incredibly relatable which is ultimately why it’s so compelling. Ivan Locke is clearly not a guy to say sorry, which becomes clear as the film progresses. He instead is a man who steps up and fixes his problems with actions instead of meaningless words. He’s always looking for “the next step” towards repairing said problems, choosing practicality over emotions. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have his moments of cathartic swearing, we all need to do that every now and again. But we soon find out that his determination to do the right thing and put 100% into each problem stems from a deeper childhood trauma, which he clearly carries around with him.  We realize that one moment of wrong choices can unravel a persons life and the others around them but it doesn’t mean it’s all over.

Locke may not be every ones cup of tea as it lacks physical thrills but for anyone looking for emotional thrills, Locke will be right up your ally. Tom Hardy’s performance alone should be enough of an incentive to see this film, if not then at least check it out for the love of nice looking beards.

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Rush (2013)

130910155412-rush-movie-poster-horizontal-galleryRoze-Rating: 5 / 5

Rush is based on the true rivalry between Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the racing season of 1976. It’s a story about two sportsmen with different outlooks on life and racing. Despite their seeming hatred of each other, there’s one thing that set’s them apart from other rivalry’s, they respect the effect it has on their lives.

What makes this film great is the attention to detail given to make this true story as real as possible on the big screen. If you are unaware of this rivalry and Formula 1 in general then I wouldn’t advise to go looking up the story. For me, not knowing anything about these two guys made it a much more thrilling watch. Your constantly wondering how far these drivers will push themselves to win, and whether or not they will go too far. It definitely makes that last race an edge of the seat moment. After the film though, having done some research and youtube-ing, it’s quite remarkable how much detail went into this film. From the costumes to the accents, almost everything about this film is spot on. Of course parts of the film are dramatized but it’s essential to telling this story as effectively as possible.

The casting is great, as a result of this we get two of the best performances of 2013. Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl don’t only look like the famous drivers they are portraying but sound like them too. Hemsworth captures the bad boy persona of James Hunt perfectly, with a you-only-live-once swagger. You buy into his character because he doesn’t race because of the lifestyle it brings, he races because it supports the lifestyle he lives. He respects the dangers of F1, therefore sympathizing for the men that get into accidents every season. Niki Lauda of course is the complete opposite. Bruhl presents Lauda as a cold, calculated racing driver, always acting on statistics and not emotion. If a fellow driver spins out or crashes, he shows no compassion but criticize their technique. He may sound like an antagonist but his conflicting behavior between winning and actual happiness gives us a reason to care for this character.

The cinematography is brilliant throughout the film, giving us the perspective of the driver during these relentless races. It makes the racing scenes more of an adrenaline inducing experience. As for it’s overall look, the shiny shades of orange and colour filtering make it great to look at. It feels as if we are in the 1970s as well as watching a documentary about it. Everything from the camera angles and the colours used to the back commentary and interviews.

It’s definitely one of the best rivalry stories I’ve seen on film. I like how the story doesn’t make the rivalry dirty or unpleasant but rather inspiring for both drivers. They use it as a way to push each other harder, a way to learn from each other and ultimately a way to feel alive. During the journey of the season, we realize that there’s a lot more respect within the rivalry than we think. That’s what makes the final scene quite a compelling moment.

Dredd (2012)


90851_galRoze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

Judge’s have the combined power of being judge, jury and executioner all at the same time. Dredd has a prestigious reputation making him known as the most feared judge around. They have been enforced to keep order in a deteriorating society where the criminals rule the chaotic streets. Justice calls for Judge Dredd to take down drug leader Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) who is the main distributor of a new street drug “slow-mo” which makes your brain perceive reality a fraction slower. He has been given rookie Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) a mutant psychic, for him to assess, unlucky for her, her first day isn’t a breeze in the park.

This film is exactly what we’ve been missing this year. I think we’ve been deprived of good no nonsense action films with cool gadgets and a simple bad ass character with good one liners. It’s unrealistic, gritty and bad ass all at the same time, exactly what you want from a comic book character brought to the screen. I have no relationship with the comics and little knowledge of the character, but from what I’ve read about it, Dredd perfectly captures that deteriorating society atmosphere with murky surroundings and a tolerance to violence. 

I really liked the cinematography, it’s stylish and has a genuine comic book look to it. The transitioning of the scenes reminded me of how comic strips are laid out and drawn, as well as the vivid colours that came out of the slow-mo moments. It made the action a lot more enjoyable to watch and set itself apart from the generic action films with static camera work.

Despite the lack of expression of Judge Dredd, I think Karl Urban did an outstanding job, he captured that non nonsense precision of the character perfectly. He plays Dredd extremely tough but also portrays his human side effectively during his moments with Anderson (Olivia Thirlby). Would like to see him in more actions flicks as good as this. Olivia Thirlby surprised me so much in this film, when I saw her cast as Judge Dredd’s temporary partner I honestly thought her character would be a mess. I’m extremely happy to say that she put in one of the most surprising performances of this year for me, I was totally hooked to her character. At first I expected her to exude femininity because of Thirlby’s past roles, but she doesn’t show a hint of it. She’s mysterious, calculated and incredibly gritty. Her abilities make her interesting and the way they are used is very entertaining. Definitely one of my favourite characters this year.

A great action film bringing Judge Dredd from the comic strips to the big screen with stylish cinematography, excess computerized blood and engaging characters, definitely one of the best action films of the year. I really hope they make a sequel, can’t get enough of these characters, truly badass.