100 Word Review – The Departed (2006)

If the film that (finally) won Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Shutter Island) his Oscar isn’t worth watching, then I’m not sure what is.

Screenplay by William Monaghan (Body of Lies, Edge of Darkness), it’s set in the duplicitous world inhabited by Boston’s mafia and law enforcement.

Intense, beautifully shot and with a cast to die for (Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Ray Winston), it has a truly brilliant soundtrack.

With four Oscars and at #43 on IMDb’s Top 250, I’d call it perfect, if only there were some strong women in it.

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100 Word Review – Insomnia (2002)

Psychological crime thrillers don’t come much better than this.¬†

Homocide¬†detective Will Dormer (Al Pacino) is sent with his partner (Martin Donovan) to investigate a murder in a small town in Alaska. Trapped in the perpetual daylight of an Alaskan summer and growing tensions, insomnia sets in…

Co-starring Hilary Swank and Robbin Williams and directed by the one and only Christopher Nolan (Memento, Inception, Interstellar), this film is tense beyond belief. It’s exhausting in the best possible way, placing you squarely in Will Dormer’s shoes.

Pacino and Williams are mesmerising, Swank’s sublime and Nolan’s clearly doing what he does best.

100 Word Review – Shutter Island (2010)

Another wonderful example of Martin Scorsese’s (The Departed, Goodfellas) attention to detail.

Set in 1954, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is partnered up with Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) and sent to Shutter Island, a hospital for the criminally insane, to investigate a patient’s escape.

Based on a novel by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone), this crime thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.¬†Emily Mortimer, Michelle Williams, Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson all co-star, each contributing brilliantly to the sense of dread and suspense present throughout. It currently sits at 194 in IMDb’s Top 250 list.

100 Word Review – Gone Girl (2014)

Not as good as the book, in part because of Ben Affleck, this is still one of the best films I saw in 2014.

Adapted from the novel by its author, Gillian Flynn, this film about a missing wife (brilliantly portrayed by Rosamund Pike) has the suspense of the best crime thriller and the emotional gravitas of a personal drama.

Neil Patrick Harris is superb as the eerie ex, which makes it even more of a shame that Affleck couldn’t bring the depth his character needed.

Despite this it’s truly fantastic and chilling, and will leave you on edge for weeks.

100 Word Review – From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

I do not like Quentin Tarantino. That said, I think Robert Rodriguez is amazing, and I think his hand in this film really shows.

When the Fuller family (Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis) find their RV high-jacked by notorious criminals (George Clooney, Tarantino) they think that smuggling them across the boarder into Mexico is going to be their biggest problem.

Salma Hayek and Danny Trejo turn up as some very unsavoury characters south of the boarder, and the question becomes will our heroes survive the night?

Part crime flick, part undead, gory nightmare, this is not for the faint of heart.