WITHOUT REMORSE (2021)

Directed By: Stefano Sellima
Written By: Taylor Sheridan & Will Staples 
Based On The Novel By: Tom Clancy 
Cinematography: Philippe Rousselot
Editor: Matthew Newman 

Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Guy Pearce, Lauren London, Cam Gigandet, Brett Gelman, Colman Domingo, Jacob Scipio, Todd Lasance 

An elite Navy SEAL, goes on a path to avenge his wife’s murder only to find himself inside of a larger conspiracy.


Considering the talent involved. This should have been a much better film. 

The film feels more like a revenge saga that happens to have espionage and the government more on its mind and just adds that revenge to make it more personal for the lead.

The film’s most memorable action sequences are shown in the trailer and seem to be used quickly within the film’s first hour.

This is a totally joyless film with no sense of fun or any real excitement. 

When it comes to most espionage films. I usually find myself confused and having to watch a few times to work out exactly what happened or went down. This film comes off as simplified or maybe as I get older I pay closer attention. This film feels way too simple.

The film runs into the Wonder Woman example of the hero being encouraged and supported. Only to find out by the end. He is the true enemy following the keep your friends close and your enemy closer mentality. The prick character thought out thought to be the villain is actually a red herring and the closest to an ally the main character might have.

Screenwriter Taylor Sheridan is used to writing these types of films but here he is working with previously written material. So he can only do so much.

The film has an epic story that feels more like it is told and is more compact than it should be.

Which considering director Stefano Sollima’s previous work. He seems to always make the focus sharp but seems to limit the action which feels all over the place as it feeds into a vast conspiracy that is international and worldwide, but by the end feels way too simplified and compact. 

Cinematographer Philippe Rousselot manages to make the images sumptuous enough that you can see the richness in the colors making everything vivid while being mysterious. 

The film keeps your interest but by the end doesn’t feel worth it. As there are way too many conveniences. It doesn’t help that star Michael B. Jordan and co-Star Jodie Turner-Smith feel like they are in two different films and most of us would rather be in the one she’s in. As it feels stronger like her performance. Whereas Michael B. Jordan comes off as a one-note. In pure action hero mode and not a charismatic one. Is that supposed to be for him to feel more realistic?

In the end, the film is entertaining enough but never feels like it goes far enough. So that by the end it is one of the few films made from Tom Clancy’s novels that feels small scale 

Grade: C-

SICARIO (2015)

Directed By: Dennis Villeneuve 
Written By: Taylor Sheridan 
Cinematography By: Roger Deakins 
Editor: Joe Walker 

Cast: Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Jeffrey Donovan, Victor Garber, Jon Bernthal, Daniel Kaluuya, Maximilano Herandez, Raoul Trujillo

An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by an elected government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.


This film is where director Dennis Villeneuve style really comes alive. Now while PRISONERS is a well directed film. I always had problems with it. Here Villeneuve’s style is crucial to the story.

It can only be explained as he has a knack for making scenes feel alive with tension. Even simple ones. He manages to catch you off guard so many times. That at any moment in his films anything can happen. Especially in the world the characters inhabit. Violence can break out at any time. Tension which he excels makes everything feel urgent and powerfully delivered. Makes it feel like anything can happen

The film while having violent scenes manages the trick of not really showing any violence but making it feel like there is more in the film then there actually is. The few scenes of violence are either so shocking or graphic. That in other scenes that even suggest it. Your imagination is already at work going overboard.

That is certainly a skill in story telling.

Here Emily blunt is our protagonist so we learn things just as she does and through the first half of the film. We realize we are on a mission, but just like her the rules and true objective are confusing and the rules keep changing. So that we are constantly confused even when the audience thinks it knows where the film is going.

She makes a good lead as her character proves both tougher and more fragile then she is presented. Seeing her in EDGE OF TOMMOROW convinced most audiences of her ability to be tough. Which she uses here, but here she also reminds us of how deep and emotional she can be whole Doing or at least showing so little.

Initially, the director was asked to rewrite Emily Blunt’s part for a man. But, Denis Villeneuve wanted Emily Blunt for the role after he saw her in The Young Victoria.

The film could easily be compared to films like TRAFFIC. For how it mainly shows the government side of taking down drug cartels, but the film also manages to tell small Individual stories of different characters and their position in this trade. What it also manages to do is remind the audience yes we are in this films singular world, but there is a greater real bigger world out there. That is our reality that these characters live in also.

Some night even compare the film to ZERO DARK THIRTY. If they did the only reason I can see is that they both have a female protagonist who learns to become more cautious and tougher as the film goes along. As well as learning more information about her supposed target through various different governmental agencies. As well as working with special teams to extract certain people to get to main targets. Though that film is more fact based. This one deals with a real subject, but manages to create it’s own story. This film is truly it’s own Animal

No matter what is shown and not shown this film is brutal. It is a cutthroat world they operate in.

There are some nitpicking like why at first do they forbid her partner access to go with them. Then throughout they seem to not mind if he is there.

Josh Brolin is good as the charismatic leader of this force. Who seems to operate in bureaucracy and in shadows, but the films MVP is Benicio Del Toro as a badass man of mystery. Though his character is mostly quiet. There is an intensity and toughness about him. That makes him look world weary, but constantly sharp. He takes no prisoners and seems to have no moral guide. I missed this type of performance from del toro. He played this type in SAVAGES, but that character was more of a loud mouth and sadistic for fun. Here he does it because he has to and can. If it helps achieve whatever mission he is on.

Throughout the film. The story plays out slowly only revealing itself when it has to. Even when we are privy of scenes and information that blunt isn’t. There isn’t too much revealed. So we are still just as unsure as she is. History is more reveled slowly about the characters rather then present it as soon as we meet them.

The shots throughout are beautifully composed and framed. That makes the territories they govern and go through come Alive. Even in their plainness. They feel constantly full of mystery even though they are mostly plain.

Though the film is structured well and directed well. It doesn’t feel overly stylized.

This film is a doozy, it is wild, yet calm. Epic and far reaching yet small.

The acting that plays out constantly or at least the threat of it Is not the kind you expect in a film Like this. No big action set pieces that rely on the audience finding a thrill. Like it is a roller coaster. Often the violence is either surprising, quick or just plain unorganized in the manner that it happens. This isn’t a thrill seeking movie. It is a thrill feeling movie.

Though it more relies on a moral meter. Rather than having a clear political message or even discussing the politics of the situation. It is matter of fact, yet offers a deep reserve for the audience to ponder. As it Also doesn’t offer any answers. Leaving it more of an open ended film. It’s not even really too much of a political film More like an extreme procedural.

Now while this film could have been made with any director. I believe the reason the film excels is because of director Dennis Villeneuve his style totally fits in with the story and reminds one of the promise he showed with the film INCENDIES. As with his other films though acclaimed. The style for me never quite fit the stories. Or the stories never quite fit his style. They took too many wrong turns or all there seemed to be was that style and little to no substance at least nothing deep. As the direction seemed to suggest.

GRADE: B+

SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLADADO (2018)

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Directed By: Stefano Sollima
Written By: Taylor Sheridan
Cinematography: Dariusz Wolski
Editor: Matthew Newman 

Cast: Benicio Del Toro, James Brolin, Catherine Keener, Jeffrey Donovan, Isabella Moner, Matthew Modine, Shea Whigham, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Elijah Rodriguez 


The drug war on the U.S.-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border. To fight the war, federal agent Matt Graver re-teams with the mercurial Alejandro.

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