The Guilty (2021)

the-guilty-2021-movie-poster-reviewDirector: Antoine Fuqua

Genre: Drama, Thriller, Crime

Runtime: 91 Minutes

Main Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Riley Keough, Ethan Hawke, Peter Sarsgaard, Christina Vidal, Eli Goree, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Paul Dano, Bill Burr

Plot: Joe Baylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) has been demoted to a call dispatch desk after an incident. He’s coming up towards the end of his shift when a call comes in from a woman who has been kidnapped.

My Thoughts: I only learnt about The Guilty around 5-6 weeks ago but I’ve been desperate to see it ever since. I’m a huge fan of Jake Gyllenhaal and I heard the movie being compared with Tom Hardy’s Locke (2013) which I found fascinating, so I’ve been counting down the days! I find these one-location movies to be quite spectacular. They could quite easily be boring so a lot of tension is needed to keep the tempo, and The Guilty has tension by the bucket-load!

It’s a remake of a Danish movie from 2018 by the same name, and I’ve heard the original is far superior. You’ll have to forgive me for not knowing about it sooner but I guess not being able to compare greatly helped my enjoyment of this remake, because I loved it! Well, as much as you can enjoy an hour and a half of being stressed beyond belief, that is. Joe isn’t a likeable character, he’s clearly done something wrong to have been assigned to this desk in the first place, he’s separated from his wife, and he’s hostile towards his colleagues. But his dedication to the job and wanting to do the right thing is admirable.

So, I’ll hold up my hands and promise to watch the original, but for now I have to say, The Guilty was everything I wanted it to be and more. I loved pretty much every second, I didn’t want to pause it for anything, I just needed to know what was going to happen next!

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Best Bit: I mean, the reality is shocking but watching Joe shout at the cyclist calling for help and repeatedly hanging up on him made me laugh so hard and it was the perfect way to ease the tension just a little!

Worst Bit: The only thing I can really find to complain about was the ending. It was good to finally find out what happened in the events leading up to that fateful night on call, but at the end of the day it didn’t really add anything to the story, really. Maybe that’s one part that’s done a lot better in the original, I’ll have to find out for myself.

Fun Trivia: Because someone near director Antoine Fuqua tested positive for Covid-19 mere days before the film began shooting, he had to isolate. Faqua directed the entire film from a van with monitors rather than on the soundstage with the actors.

My Rating: 4 and a half inhalers that I almost needed myself whilst watching the last few scenes of this movie.

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The Devil All the Time (2020)

the-devil-all-time-2020-netflix-movie-posterDirector: Antonio Campos

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 138 Minutes

Main Cast: Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgard, Riley Keough, Robert Pattinson, Haley Bennett, Harry Melling, Eliza Scanlen, Mia Wasikowska, Sebastian Stan, Jason Clarke, Douglas Hodge

Plot: Set in a town called Knockemstiff in Ohio,  the story revolves around Arvin (Tom Holland), orphaned at a young age and surrounded by violence and grief. Arvin tries his hardest to live a good, honest life, despite the sinister characters around him.

My Thoughts: You know how my mind works by now, I stumble into an actor or actress obsession and then I make it my goal to watch anything and everything they’ve ever starred in. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve watched many a terrible movie starring Robert Pattinson, and I have to say, I wasn’t even looking forward to The Devil All the Time. I watched the trailer a few times and it just didn’t seem like my kind of movie. And well, sometimes it’s when your expectations are rock bottom that you find yourself a movie you enjoy the most. I don’t think this one is perfect, it’s very bleak, quite depressing and at least 20 minutes too long, but it’s been playing on my mind for almost a week now since I watched it.

Tom Holland is phenomenal here. He might be known best as Spider-Man in a playful role, but he really shows off his talents here. I don’t have a clue when it comes to awards and I know this movie hasn’t had great reviews but surely Tom Holland deserves some kind of nomination for this? His accent is impeccable and the way he transforms from a quiet boy to the man seeking revenge is just…incredible! Also, I know the buzz is around how Robert Pattinson steals the show as the corrupted and deceitful Revered (he is excellent, I won’t argue), the show-stealer for me was Harry Melling, who we all know as Dudley Dursley from Harry Potter! I hope we get to see him in more movies.

There are so many characters in the movie it can be hard to keep track, and not all of their stories are really necessary, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. The movie had a The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) kind of feel to me, I’m not sure what that niche little category would be called. It’s not a happy movie, it’s not a fun movie, but it tells an interesting story and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would!

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Best Bit: The stand off between Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson towards the end was particularly good, I thought.  It was tense and uncomfortable for the right reasons, and the perfect example of how great both actors are.

Worst Bit: Imagine being a Pattinson fan, watching this and thinking yes, this man could actually tempt me into going to church, just to find out that like almost everyone else in this movie, he’s a massive twat. Sigh…

Fun Trivia: Robert Pattinson didn’t work with a dialect coach and crafted his high-pitched Southern drawl on his own. The actor hid his accent from everyone – including director Antonio Campos – until day one of filming. Other actors sent Campos recordings of the voices they were working on – but not Pattinson, preferring to rehearse by himself and getting self-conscious by being judged before actually standing in front of the camera.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 spiders that Harry Melling actually dumped on his head for that stand-out scene, ugh!

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The Lodge (2019)

the-lodge-movie-review-2019Director: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz

Genre:  Drama, Horror, Thriller

Runtime: 108 Minutes

Main Cast:  Riley Keogh, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Richard Armitage, Alicia Silverstone, Katelyn Wells, Rebecca Faulkenberry

Plot: A tragedy in the family changes the lives of siblings Aiden and Mia. Around Christmas time, they visit the family lodge with their Dad and his Fiancee – but the atmosphere is as frosty as the weather outside. Aiden and Mia dig up some strange things about their future Step-Mum’s past – and then things get weird.

My Thoughts: With life starting to show signs of getting back to normal in a coronavirus filled world, I’m trying to get back into movies and blogging and generally just feeling a bit more ‘me’. I started with catching up on a movie I heard a lot of people talking about after the cinemas shut – The Lodge. I could tell it was a movie best watched with no knowledge about the story and so that’s how I went in, and I definitely urge you to do the same. I’ll hide any spoilers I happen to mention.

I think you would definitely be forgiven for drawing comparisons between The Lodge and the works of horror director Ari Aster. It blends extreme grief with horror elements to give that uncomfortable tone, and now that I think of it, it uses that dollhouse theme that Hereditary has, too. As much as I enjoyed The Lodge though, I don’t rank it as high as Hereditary or Midsommar.

It’s slow going until that point after the movie sleepover and all the things go missing, but it was wild after that. The ending, in particular, was one of those that made me audibly gasp – I certainly won’t forget it for a long time. Also, this is the second thing I’ve watched this year where Richard Armitage plays a Dad who makes terrible decisions. You should watch The Stranger on Netflix if you haven’t already!

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Best Bit: I kept flip-flopping on the idea of #SPOILERS# the trio actually dying in the night because of the heater, as suggested by Aiden #END OF SPOILERS# but when it’s finally confirmed what actually happened? Oh man – I don’t think I’ve ever hated a character (or two) more than in that moment!

Worst Bit: What is it that horror movies have against pets? I get it, it made me feel the feelings that the movie wanted me to feel, but oh man!

Fun Trivia: The dog’s name is Grady, which is the character name of Overlook Hotel’s care-taker in Stephen King’s story of “The Shining”. (Coincidence? Maybe!)

My Rating: 3 and a half completely unsafe gas heaters that you should never, ever use. Especially when you’re likely to drop to sleep any second.

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