Archive for October, 2010

The Unforgettables – American History X

Monday, October 18th, 2010

ahx-posterWe have decided to start putting together regular reviews of some of cinema’s most unforgettable gems; movies that raise the bar, leaving us stunned and in awe of a true masterpiece. Today, we look back at 1998’s American History X, a disturbing, harrowing but ultimately brilliant non-linear portrayal of a neo-Nazi and his difficult journey through the complications of his misguided ideology.

Edward Norton is Derek Vinyard, a young man who excelled at school and was part of a contented suburban family until his fire fighting father dies whilst putting out a blaze in a predominantly black neighbourhood. The subtle seeds of racism had already been planted in young Derek’s mind by his late father, and the man’s untimely death served as a catalyst to his son’s simmering radical beliefs.

Derek moves on to become a leader for lost and troubled youths, going so far as to have a swastika tattooed on his chest, inciting race-related violence and vandalism and even making a bet with a group of young rival black youths that results in their `banishment’ from the basketball courts. Vinyard’s antagonistic behaviour results in the attempted armed theft of his car, which is noticed by Derek’s younger brother Danny (Edward Furlong, Terminator 2). Derek flips, kills the men, and receives a three year jail term for voluntary manslaughter.

Upon Derek’s release he is a changed man, having spent hard time in a prison where his racial prejudices and questionable moral values were truly put to the test. His time, though unpleasant, has had the necessary effect, but he comes out to find that Danny has grown older and is being lined up as a fitting replacement for Derek by twisted kingpin Cameron Alexander.

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The Disappearance of Alice Creed

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

disappearance-of-alice-creed-posterGorgeous rising starlet Gemma Arterton continues to take the movie-world by storm with her excellent performance in devilishly devious and delightful British thriller The Disappearance of Alice Creed. She has appeared in recent blockbusters Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, but is still making time for homeland cinema and we should all be very grateful.

She plays the eponymous Alice Creed, who is taken, stripped, bound, gagged and left in the darkness by twisted thugs Vic and Danny. The two rotters have painstakingly fortified a small flat in an unknown location, and this serves as the set for almost the entire movie. Their grand plan is to force Alice Creed’s rich father to pay up £2million, through the use of some unpleasant photographs and video that effectively display Alice’s harrowing, brutal and potentially fatal situation. Vic is particularly bonkers; he poses a very genuine threat to Alice, as opposed to the younger Danny, who seems a little more confused and reluctant about the plan once he sees the physicality of the torment and stress placed upon the helpless girl.

Perhaps this sounds a little familiar, and the ‘kidnap a rich man’s daughter’ motif is not an original concept. However, this is a film packed with twists, turns and a couple of very genuine shocks. The film takes about 5 seconds to get going, and then bounds forward in a perfectly paced and gripping manner, demonstrating some real potential from writer and director J Blakeson. The script is excellent, with the beats coming at just the right time, and effortlessly executed with aplomb. The film is certainly not without its kinky side, and there is no holding back regarding nudity and violence.

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