Calendar

August 2019
S M T W T F S
« Jul    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Categories

Tag Cloud

psychological thriller

Split (2017)

DIRECTOR: M. Night Shyamalan

CAST: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Betty Buckley

REVIEW:

While it might be his first commercially successful movie in years, I have to go against the critical consensus and disagree that Split represents a return to form for M. Night Shyamalan.  I’ve never held the writer-director in that exalted esteem, but The Sixth Sense, Signs, and The Village were enjoyable, if flawed (the twist in The Sixth Sense, while a great “gotcha” surprise in the moment, makes less sense the more you think back on it), and in some ways Split embodies his troubled career: a movie with flashes of promise that goes off the rails, sputtering along in fits and starts until finally undone with a twist (such as it is) that turns the movie from a psychological thriller into something like a comic book supervillain origin story that doesn’t come to any true ending (due to Shyamalan’s intention to tie it in with 2000’s Unbreakable and set-up a third installment in what he is now calling a “trilogy”).  Whether Shyamalan’s franchise intentions come to pass remains to be seen (though Split‘s success at the box office might be enough to get the green light), but taken on its own, Split is as schizophrenic and half-formed as its villain’s identity. Continue reading

Red Dragon (2002)

DIRECTOR: Brett Ratner

CAST:

Edward Norton, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson, Mary-Louise Parker, Harvey Keitel, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anthony Heald, Bill Duke

REVIEW:

Following in the footsteps of 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs and 2001’s Hannibal, 2003’s Red Dragon was purported to complete the Hannibal Lecter ‘trilogy’ (but then came the ill-conceived flop Hannibal Rising, detailing Hannibal’s childhood and thus removing the last shred of the character’s enigma- and whose bright idea was it to try to make a Hannibal Lecter movie without Anthony Hopkins?). Continue reading

Insomnia (2002)

insomniaDIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan

CAST: Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank, Martin Donovan, Maura Tierney, Jonathan Jackson

REVIEW:

WARNING: THIS REVIEW WILL REVEAL ASPECTS OF THE PLOT

In hindsight, after such impressive entries on Christopher Nolan’s filmography as The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Inceptionand InterstellarInsomnia feels low-key and even slight, lacking the grandiose ambition the British director would later become known for.  Ranked alongside his later efforts (Insomnia was only his third film after little-seen indie Following and the critically acclaimed mind-bender Memento), it’s one of his least memorable films, but a “lesser” Christopher Nolan film is still a taut and intriguing murder/psychological thriller worth viewing. Continue reading

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

DIRECTOR: Jonathan Demme

CAST:

Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Anthony Heald, Diane Baker, Brooke Smith, Chris Isaak, Charles Napier, Daniel von Bargen

REVIEW:

Few cinematic villains are a source of as much morbid fascination as Hannibal Lecter. Like the heroine Clarice Starling, we are frightened and disturbed by him, and yet we are too intrigued to turn our eyes away. Dr. Lecter is undoubtebly the character best-remembered from the psychological thriller The Silence of the Lambs, and the acclaim showered on Anthony Hopkins for his Oscar-winning performance sometimes threatens to overshadow Jodie Foster’s also Oscar-winning lead role as FBI trainee Clarice Starling, a fine performance and a well-developed character in her own right. Clarice and Hannibal are two of the strongest characters ever written and acted in a horror movie, and they are given a script that does them justice, a dark, intelligent thriller that relies much less on blood and guts than on well-honed characterizations, a few scenes of indelible purely verbal interactions, and a vivid sense of atmosphere. All of these elements combined to make The Silence of the Lambs a classic of the thriller genre and earned it five Academy Awards in 1991. Continue reading

Archives

Categories

Bookmarks