IN CINEMAS NOW
RUNNING TIME: 118 min
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic
Ruthless crime lord Alphonse Hoyt has been receiving death threats and finds one of his men dead in a freezer, thereby realising that someone is after him. During a gunfight with another gang, his life is saved by Victor, an engineer who then starts working for him. Victor forms a friendship with Beatrice, who lives in the apartment across from him with her mother, and who wants Victor to kill the man who badly scarred her face. If he refuses, than she will give to the police a recording she has of Victor killing a man, but Victor has his own agenda, something to do with Alphonse…..
This is a decent thriller which seems to have bombed at the box office but is quite engrossing. It has been marketed as something akin to an action movie, but, even though it had a few good gunfights, isn’t really one. It’s a revenge drama that certainly gives you the revenge, but is handled like, and even shot more like, a film noir, with much moral murkiness and emotional and physical darkness everywhere, sometimes overdoing the latter so much that you can barely see what’s going on. The plot gets very unbelievable but occasionally does provide a surprise or two, while the film really succeeds in its darkly romantic subplot, from the beautifully touching scenes where they first see each other in the other person’s apartment and say hello with their hands, to the really affecting scenes when Colin Farrell’s character tries to hide his feelings for her because he knows he’s bad for Noomi Rapace’s. Farrell, always better in low-budget films, is fine but the star is the extraordinary Rapace, finally been given an English-speaking role worthy of her talents. She’s wonderfully fragile but unique in this film. Neils Arden Oplev’s Swedish breakthrough The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo did little for me, though I found the remake a bit dreary too, so maybe I just didn’t connect with that specific material. With this film though, he does a good job balancing violent thrills, simmering tension and damaged romance, and combined with the performances mostly atones for some considerable weaknesses in the script, which sadly decides to play it too safe towards the end when more unconventional ways of wrapping up may have worked better.