Directed By: Melanie Laurent 
Written by: Nic Pizzolatto 
Based On The Novel By: Nic Pizzolatto
Cinematography: Arnaud Potier 
Editor: Joseph Krings 

Cast: Ben Foster, Elle Fanning, Beau Bridges, Maria Valverde, Lili Reinhart, Jeffrey Grover, Christopher Amitrano

Debt collector Roy is a heavy-drinking criminal enforcer and mob hitman whose boss set him up in a double-cross scheme. After killing his would-be assassins, Roy discovers Rocky, a young woman being held captive, and reluctantly takes her with him on his escape. Determined to find safety and sanctuary in Galveston, Roy must find a way to stop his boss from pursuing them while trying to outrun the demons from his and Rocky’s pasts.

From the writer of TRUE DETECTIVE based on his novel. It’s just as down and dirty as the show. Only here no mysticism. It does show how certain things affect another. Though this is more a character study of the two leads. Only we seem more from their actions rather than from what they say. 

Melanie Laurent the french actress directs this movie. That is grimy yet has a golden sheen around it. Where it seems like the film takes great joy in not only seeing more sides of life.

Trying to give definition and be emphasized as being more real. Seeming to try and give the Film a street quality. Everything including the actions seems dirtier than needed. It definitely has a lived In quality, especially with a cast of unrecognizable actors. 

Ben Foster usually is great in whatever he is in and gives another great performance. He Keeps you mesmerized as you watch him. At times, you feel you have him figured out only to surprise you but he always feels natural. Even when he makes decisions that leading characters rarely do. 

The film is never happy, it seems like it’s trying to bathe itself In Dirt and unhappiness.

Letting you know nothing will be easy. The world the film creates is cruel with no victories, even so, the tragedy you know will eventually come. Still feels like a gut punch.

A pulp story told through two characters who are thrown together by chance and it seems each step to the way they dig themselves deeper while trying. To keep a low profile. Through this time they bond and grow closer. They have a relationship even if it is not romantic. They form A bond and kind of family. 

Even as throughout you can feel this Inching towards tragedy and it is rare anything happy or nice happens 

This is the first truly adult role Elle Fanning has played. As she always seems to work keeping busy. Here she plays a younger character. She feels real and lived in. It never feels like she is coasting and for such a character who hasn’t had a hard life seems a little innocent and happy go lucky. 

The film is strong even if at times it does feel like it is trying too hard. 

Grade: B-

RAMPART (2011)

Directed By: Oren Moverman 
Written By: Oren Moverman & James Ellroy 
Cinematography By: Bobby Butowski 
Editor: Jay Rabinowitz 

 CAST: Woody Harrelson, Robin Wright-Penn, Sigourney Weaver, Steve Buscemi, Ice Cube, Brie Larson, Anne Heche, Ben Foster, Cynthia Nixon, Ned Beatty, Jon Foster, Jon Bernthal 

Set in 1999 Los Angeles, veteran police officer Dave Brown, the last of the renegade cops, works to take care of his family, and struggles for his own survival. 

Woody Harrelson does what is called for, he seems natural in the role. The film just fails him as it gives us plenty of his background but doesn’t give us a compelling story to follow him through.

I will admit though I was more impressed by his performance in the film THE MESSENGER.

While there is a riveting story and a character study buried in here. It is never utilized to allow a greater more elaborate performance. The film seems misdirected while trying to go natural.

Then all of a sudden artsy camera movements and angles. It’s like the director didn’t know how exactly to set up shots for the best quality of the scene. So he cut together various bad ones. Considering the film is co-written by James Ellroy.

It gets the grittiness correct. As well as the political and inner workings of the L.A.P.D. But half of the bigger name actors seem only to be here in glorified cameos. They seem to only be in the film because they were attracted by the prestige. There is one scene of true originality.

When the chips are down and Woody’s character goes on a bender to an underground Club. Where sex and debauchery are going on all around him. Drunk and on any numerous narcotics. He walks through the club when the screen goes blank and over the next few minutes there are flashes of action bathed in the red light of what is going on in the club. It sneaks up on us and plays like his character going in and out of consciousness. So we are with him throughout the experience. The rest of the film is so unfulfilling that it pushes Mr. Harrelson’s performance to seem great otherwise compared to the rest of the film. Like a consolation prize.

The film shows that he seems to be living the role and reacting to what is thrown at him. Most of the other roles are underwritten and just woven into the tapestry to shape and show unspoken subtle things on the fringes. There are the makings of a great film here.

It’s a shame the film has good actors who seem stuck and misused in film.




Written & Directed By: Peter Berg
Based On The Novel By: Marcus Lutrrell & Patrick Robinson
Cinematography By: Tobias A. Schliessler
Editor: Colby Parker Jr. 

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana, Yousef Azami, Alexander Ludwig, Jerry Ferrara, Peter Berg

Marcus Luttrell, a Navy Seal, and his team set out on a mission to capture or kill notorious al Qaeda leader Ahmad Shahd, in late June 2005. After running into mountain herders and capturing them, they were left with no choice but to follow their rules of engagement or be imprisoned. Now Marcus and his team are left to fight for their lives in one of the most valiant efforts of modern warfare.

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