REVIEW: KILLER ELITE

Starring

Jason Statham (Spy)
Clive Owen (Sin City)
Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck)
Robert De Niro (Limitless)
Lachy Hulme (The Matrix Reloaded)
Dominic Purcell (Legends of Tomorrow)
Aden Young (Sniper)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Suicide Squad)
Ben Mendelsohn (Ready Player One)
Grant Bowler (Defiance)
Matthew Nable (Arrow)
Michael Dorman (Triangle)
Firass Dirani (Power Rangers Mystic Force)

Jason Statham and Yvonne Strahovski in Killer Elite (2011)In 1980, mercenaries Danny Bryce (Jason Statham), Hunter (Robert De Niro), Davies (Dominic Purcell), and Meier (Aden Young) are in Mexico to assassinate a man. Danny is shot when he becomes distracted after realizing he has killed the man in front of the target’s young daughter. Affected by this, Danny retires and returns to his native Australia.Jason Statham in Killer Elite (2011)The following year, Danny is summoned to Oman to meet The Agent (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). He learns that Hunter failed a $6 million job. If Danny does not complete Hunter’s mission, Hunter will be executed. Sheikh Amr, a deposed king of a small region of Oman, wants Danny to kill three former SAS troopers—Steven Harris (Lachy Hulme), Steven Cregg (Grant Bowler), and Simon McCann (Daniel Roberts)—for killing his three eldest sons during the Dhofar Rebellion. Danny must videotape their confessions and make their deaths look like accidents, all before the terminally ill sheikh dies. This will allow the sheikh’s fourth son, Bakhait (Firass Dirani), to regain control of his father’s desert region. Davies and Meier agree to help Danny for a share of the money.Jason Statham and Clive Owen in Killer Elite (2011)Danny and Meier sneak into Harris’s house. After Harris confesses on videotape, they take him to the bathroom, intending to make it look like he slipped and hit his head. However, Harris’s girlfriend knocks on the door. While Harris and Meier are distracted, Harris attempts to break free, causing Meier to kill him. In England, Davies questions bar patrons about former SAS members. This is reported to the Feather Men, a secret society of former operatives protecting their own. Their head enforcer, Spike Logan (Clive Owen), is sent to investigate.Robert De Niro and Jason Statham in Killer Elite (2011)Davies discovers Cregg preparing for a long nighttime march in wintry weather on the Brecon Beacons mountain range. Danny infiltrates the base, disguised in uniform, and drugs Cregg’s coffee. Danny follows Cregg on the march and makes him confess before the drug sends him into shock to die of hypothermia. For their last target, their plan is to crash a remote-controlled truck into McCann’s car. With the help of the inexperienced Jake (Michael Dorman), Meier kills McCann; however, Logan and his men were watching over McCann. A gunfight ensues, and Jake accidentally kills Meier. Danny and Davies part ways. Davies is tracked down by Logan’s men, and is hit by a truck and killed while trying to escape.Robert De Niro and Jason Statham in Killer Elite (2011)Danny returns to Oman and gives the sheikh the last confession, which he has faked. Hunter is released, while Danny heads back to Australia and reunites with Anne (Yvonne Strahovski), a childhood acquaintance. Soon, he is informed by the Agent that there is one last man who participated in the sheikh’s sons’ murders and that this man, Ranulph Fiennes, is about to release a book about his experiences in the SAS. Danny sends Anne to France so Hunter can protect her. The sheikh’s son confirms that Harris was innocent. Logan, meanwhile, traces Danny through the Agent and sends a team to protect the author, but Jake distracts them, allowing Danny to shoot Fiennes. He only wounds the man, however, taking pictures that appear to show him dead. Logan captures Danny, taking him to an abandoned warehouse, but then a government agent arrives and reveals that the British government is behind the events because of the sheikh’s valuable oil reserves. A three-way battle ensues, with Danny escaping and Logan shooting the government agent.image-13-for-the-ticket-23-september-2011-gallery-490592626In Paris, the Agent tries to kidnap Anne for ransom, but Hunter beats the henchman and shoots the Agent in the leg. Hunter seems threatening at first, but spares his life. Danny and Hunter head to Oman to give the sheikh the pictures. However, Logan arrives first, tells the sheikh the pictures are fake and then stabs him to death. The sheikh’s son does not care; he gives Logan the money. Hunter spots Logan leaving, and they chase after him, along with the sheikh’s men. After stopping the sheikh’s men, Danny and Hunter confront Logan on a desert road. Hunter takes some of the money for his expenses and his family. They leave the remainder, telling Logan that he will need it to start a new life after killing the government agent and acting against the wishes of the Feather Men and the British government. Danny says that it is over for him and that Logan must make up his own mind what to do. Danny reunites with Anne.Killer-Elite-StathamThe action sequences are well done and realistic. The fact that it all happens in the 80’s gives it even more grit. What I found even nicer is that both de Niro and Statham act better than they did in a long time.

REVIEW: DERAILED (2005)

CAST

Clive Owen (Sin CIty)
Jennifer Aniston (Just Go With It)
Vincent Cassel (Black Swan)
Melissa George (A Lonely Place To Die)
Giancarlo Esposito (Ali)
RZA (G.I. Joe Retaliation)
Xzibit (XXX 2)
Addison Timlin (Little Sister)
David Morrissey (Basic Instinct 2)
Georgina Chapman (Match Point)
David Oyelowo (The Cloverfield Paradox)
Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad)

Charles Schine (Clive Owen), is an advertising executive. His marriage to Deanna (Melissa George) is deteriorating, and his daughter Amy (Addison Timlin) suffers from diabetes, requiring expensive medication. Charles’s story is being written down by an unidentified man in a prison cell. On a commuter train, Charles encounters an alluring woman named Lucinda Harris (Jennifer Aniston). She is a married financial adviser. The two show each other photographs of their respective daughters and begin to talk. A mutual attraction develops, and the two begin meeting frequently. Ultimately, they decide to consummate their affair and wind up in a seedy hotel. An armed man—later identified as Philippe LaRoche (Vincent Cassel)—bursts into the hotel room, beats Charles, and brutally rapes Lucinda. Charles and Lucinda agree not to report the crime, as they do not want their spouses to learn of the affair. Shortly after, Charles is blackmailed by LaRoche, who threatens to kill his family if he does not pay $20,000, which Charles promptly pays. A month later, the attacker calls again, this time demanding $100,000.

Charles explains his situation to Winston (RZA), an ex-con who works as a repairman in his building and whom Charles had earlier befriended. Winston offers to scare off LaRoche for ten percent of the payout. Charles agrees and embezzles the money from his company. He and Winston travel to the meeting location specified by LaRoche, intending to get the drop on him. However, before they can act, Winston is shot and killed. LaRoche appears and takes the money, leaving Charles to dispose of the body. Afterwards, Charles is questioned by detective Franklin Church (Giancarlo Esposito) about Winston’s murder. Later, Charles receives a call from LaRoche who claims that he will kill Lucinda if Charles doesn’t deliver the $100,000. Charles takes the money from an account meant for his daughter’s medical treatment and makes the payoff.hqdefault

The next day, Charles stops by Lucinda’s company to ask to see her and is introduced to the real Lucinda Harris. The woman he met on the train is identified as Jane, a temp who had worked there briefly. He goes to Lucinda’s apartment, which he realizes is actually in the process of being rented out. Seeing that Lucinda’s photograph of her daughter was actually a cut out of a stock picture in a brochure, Charles realizes Jane was in on the scam. He tracks her down and sees her kissing LaRoche. Determined to retrieve his stolen money, he follows Jane’s moves and sees that she is seducing another unsuspecting businessman (David Morrissey). He rents a room in the same hotel where Jane, LaRoche, and their partner Dexter (Xzibit) set him up and awaits them as they snare their new target. Jane and the businessman go to the room, but Charles knocks LaRoche unconscious before he can follow them. Charles breaks in and demands the return of his money. A gunfight ensues, and everyone is shot but Charles, who watches Jane die. Charles, while in his rented room, is cleared by the police near the crime scene. As he leaves the hotel lobby, the continued investigation has all contents from the hotel safe laid out on the front desk. Charles casually identifies his briefcase, which still contains his money, and quietly leaves the hotel.Derailed-2005-film-images-648d925b-10f3-4fdd-841b-ab8c727c77fCharles is later accused by his boss Eliot (Tom Conti) of stealing money from the company, and he is arrested for embezzling the $10,000 that he paid Winston and is sentenced to six months of community service, teaching in a prison. During one of his classes, he comes across the story about him written on one of the students papers. The unknown writer instructs him to go to the laundry room. There, Charles finds LaRoche, who survived the gunfight. LaRoche threatens to continue to disrupt Charles’s life, but Charles reveals that he has planned the encounter. He produces a shank, which Winston had given him, and stabs LaRoche to death. As Charles leaves, he encounters Detective Church who indicates that he knows LaRoche killed Winston. While Church suspects Charles of killing LaRoche, he lets him return to his family, where Charles reconciles with his wife and daughter.I found the story line original and, at times, truely frightening. Jennifer Anniston is excellent, as is Clive Owen. The added plot twists only add to the film. One of the best thrillers I have seen- well worth a watch.

 

REVIEW: SIN CITY

CAST

Bruce Willis (Armageddon)
Jessica Alba (Machete)
Rosario Dawson (Clerks II)
Clive Owen (Inside Man)
Devon Aoki (D.E.B.S.)
Mickey Rourke (Iron Man 2)
Alexis Bledel (Girl Walks Into a Bar)
Powers Boothe (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Benicio Del Toro (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Scorpion King)
Tommy Flanagan (Gladiator)
Marley Shelton (Planet Terror)
Nick Stahl (Terminator 3)
Carla Gugino (Watchmen)
Josh Hartnett (Halloween: H20)
Rutger Hauer (Batman Begins)
Jaime King (Pearl Harbor)
Michael Madsen (Bloodrayne)
Brittany Murphy (Don’t Say A Word)
Elijah Wood (Lord of The Rings)

Nick Offerman (Sing)
Nicky Katt (Boiler Room)
Makenzie Vega (13 Reasons Why)

The Customer Is Always Right (Part I)

The Salesman (Josh Hartnett) steps out of the elevator and walks onto a penthouse balcony overlooking Basin City, where The Customer awaits. He comforts her, the two briefly talk, share a kiss and he shoots her. As she dies in his arms, he ponders what she was running from

.

That Yellow Bastard (Part I)

On the docks of Sin City, aging police officer John Hartigan (Bruce Willis) tries to stop serial child-killer Roark Junior (Nick Stahl) from raping and killing his fourth known victim, eleven-year-old Nancy Callahan. Junior is the son of Senator Roark (Powers Boothe), who has bribed the police to cover up his son’s crimes. Hartigan’s partner Bob (Michael Madsen) tries to convince Hartigan to walk away, only to get knocked out.  Hartigan, fighting off the pain caused by his bad heart, confronts Roark Junior, shoots off his ear, right hand and genitals. Bob shoots Hartigan in the back, revealing himself to be on Senator Roark’s payroll. As the sirens approach, Bob leaves and Nancy comforts him. Hartigan passes out, reasoning his death is a fair trade for the girl’s life.

The Hard Goodbye

After a one-night stand, Marv (Mickey Rourke) awakens to find that Goldie (Jaime King), the woman he’d been with, was killed while he slept. He flees the frame-up as the police arrive, vowing to avenge her death to repay her kindness. His parole officer Lucille (Carla Gugino) warns him to give up on this mission, believing Marv may have imagined it all due to his “condition”. Marv interrogates several informants, working up to a corrupt priest who reveals that the Roark family was behind the murder. After killing the priest, Marv is attacked by a woman who looks like Goldie, which he dismisses as a hallucination caused by his “condition”.

Marv goes to the Roark family farm and is subdued by the silent stalker, Kevin (Elijah Wood), who is also Goldie’s killer. He awakens to find Lucille has been captured after looking into his story. She tells Marv that the killer is a cannibal and that his victims, including Goldie, are prostitutes. He and Lucille escape their holding cell, but Lucille is shot by the leader of a squad of corrupt cops. Marv kills the squad, interrogates the leader and finds out that Cardinal Patrick Henry Roark (Rutger Hauer) arranged for Goldie’s murder.

Marv goes to Old Town (Sin City’s prostitute-run red-light district) to learn more about Goldie, and is captured by her twin sister, Wendy, who Marv previously dismissed as a hallucination. He eventually convinces her that he is not the killer and she resolves to help him avenge Goldie. The pair return to the farm, where Marv kills Kevin. He brings Kevin’s head to Cardinal Roark, who confesses his part in the murders. Marv kills the cardinal but is then shot and captured by his guards.

After Marv’s wound are treated, he is forced to confess to killing Cardinal Roark, Kevin and all their victims. He is sentenced to death in the electric chair. Wendy visits him on death row and thanks him for avenging her sister.

The Big Fat Kill

Shellie (Brittany Murphy) is harassed by her drunken and abusive ex-boyfriend Jackie Boy (Benecio Del Toro). When Jackie goes to the bathroom to urinate, her new lover Dwight McCarthy (Clive Owen), dunks his face into the toilet, threatening to kill him if he doesn’t leave her alone. Angry and embarrassed, Jackie Boy leaves Shellie’s flat, and Dwight follows him to make sure he doesn’t take out his anger on another girl. Jackie Boy and his crew arrive in Old Town, where they harass Becky (Alexis Bledel), a young prostitute. Dwight runs into Gail (Rosario Dawson), Old Town’s leader and Dwight’s on-and-off lover, and the two watch the scene. When Jackie Boy threatens Becky with a gun, Miho (Devon Aoki), Old Town’s enforcer, kills the whole group. As Dwight and the prostitutes check the corpses’ personal effects, they realize Jackie Boy is actually Detective Lieutenant Jack Rafferty of Basin City Police. If the police learned how he died, their truce with the prostitutes would end and the mob would be free to wage war on Old Town

Dwight takes the bodies to a tar pit to hide them from the police. There he is attacked by mercenaries who retrieves Jackie’s head to bring back as proof of his death. Dwight nearly drowns in the tar before Miho saves him. The two kill the remaining mercenaries, retrieve the head and return to Old Town. Meanwhile, Manute (Michael Clarke Duncan), an enforcer for mob boss Wallenquist, kidnaps Gail to force Old Town to surrender without a fight. It is revealed that Becky is the one who tells the mob of Jackie’s death. Dwight offers to trade Jackie Boy’s head for Gail’s life, and meet Manute’s group in a narrow alley. As he detonates the grenade stuffed in the head, all the prostitutes, who have been waiting on top of the buildings on both sides of the alley, gun down the mob gang and kill Manute, leaving no witnesses. Becky escapes the onslaught.

That Yellow Bastard (Part II)

As Hartigan recovers in a hospital, he learns that Roark, Jr. is in a coma, the Roark legacy is in serious jeopardy and he will be framed for Junior’s crimes. A grateful Nancy, who was denied the right to testify and vindicate Hartigan, promises to write Hartigan every week while he is in prison. Hartigan goes to jail, though he refuses to confess. He receives weekly letters from Nancy for eight years. One day, the letters stop arriving and he receives a severed finger instead. Worried that the Roarks somehow tracked down Nancy, Hartigan confesses to all charges, leading to his parole. He searches for Nancy and finds her at Kadie’s Bar, where she has become an exotic dancer. As Hartigan realizes everything was a ruse just for him to lead Roark to Nancy, she recognizes him, runs off the stage and leaps onto him.

The two leave the bar in Nancy’s car, pursued by a disfigured yellow man. Hartigan wounds him and the two stay in a small motel outside of town. Nancy confesses her love for Hartigan, who rebuffs her advances citing their significant age difference. The yellow man, who turns out to be Roark Jr., overpowers Hartigan and takes Nancy to the Roark farm. Hartigan gets to the farm, kills Junior and saves Nancy. Knowing that Senator Roark will never stop hunting him, Hartigan commits suicide to ensure Nancy’s safety.

The Customer Is Always Right (Part II)

An injured Becky departs from a hospital, talking on a cell phone with her mother. In the elevator she encounters The Salesman, dressed as a doctor. He offers her a cigarette, calling her by name, and she abruptly ends the call with her mother, realizing that The Salesman is preparing to kill her.

This is one of the most striking, memorable, imaginative and violent films to have come out in a long, long time. It is a cliched ridden flick where nothing is taken too seriously – especially life – and where anything goes.

REVIEW: THE INTERNATIONAL

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CAST

Clive Owen (Sin City)
Noami Watts (Birdman)
Armin Mueller-Stahl (Angels & Demons)
Ulrich Thomsen (Duplicity)
Brían F. O’Byrne (Flashforward)
James Rebhorn (Meet The Parents)
Jack McGee (The Fighter)
Ben Whishaw (Cloud Atlas)

Louis Salinger, of Interpol, and Eleanor Whitman, an Assistant District Attorney from Manhattan, are investigating the International Bank of Business and Credit (IBBC), which funds activities such as money laundering, terrorism, arms trading, and the destabilization of governments. Salinger’s and Whitman’s investigation takes them from Berlin to Milan, where the IBBC assassinates Umberto Calvini, an arms manufacturer who is an Italian prime ministerial candidate. The bank’s assassin diverts suspicion to a local assassin with political connections, who is promptly killed by a corrupt policeman. Salinger and Whitman get a lead on the second assassin, but the corrupt policeman shows up again and orders them out of the country. At the airport they are able to check the security camera footage for clues on the whereabouts on the bank’s assassin, and follow a suspect to New York City.

In New York, Salinger and Whitman are met by two New York Police Department (NYPD) detectives, Iggy Ornelas and Bernie Ward, who have a photograph of the assassin’s face when he arrived in New York airport. Salinger, Ornelas, and Ward locate Dr. Isaacson to whose practice the assassin’s leg brace has been traced. They find the assassin and follow him to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Jonas Skarssen, the chairman of the IBBC, reveals to his senior men White and Wexler that the bank had Calvini killed so that they could deal with his sons to buy missile guidance systems in which the bank has invested. Since the bank knows that Salinger and Whitman are close to finding their assassin, they send a hit team to kill him at a meeting between him and his handler, Wexler. Wexler leaves and is arrested by Ornelas. As Salinger speaks to the assassin, a spectacular gunfight at the Guggenheim erupts when a number of gunmen attempt to kill them with automatic weapons. They escape, but the assassin is mortally wounded.

In interrogation, Wexler, a former Stasi colonel, explains to Salinger that the IBBC is practically untouchable because of its utility to terrorist organizations, drug cartels, governments, and powerful corporations of all complexions. Even if he succeeds in bringing the IBBC down there are hundreds of other banks which will replace them. If Salinger wants justice, he needs to go outside the system, and Wexler indicates a willingness to help. In Italy, Salinger tells the Calvini brothers of the IBBC’s responsibility for their father’s murder, prompting them to cancel the deal with the bank and have White killed.

Salinger then accompanies Wexler to Istanbul, where Skarssen is buying the crucial components from their only other manufacturer. Salinger attempts to record the conversation so that he can obstruct the deal by proving to the buyers that the missiles will be useless, but he ultimately fails. Both Wexler and Skarssen are then killed by a hitman contracted by Enzo and Mario Calvini to avenge their father’s murder by the bank. Salinger is left stunned, his investigation, pursuit, and determination to bring down the IBBC, have led him to nothing.

During the closing credits, it is indicated that the bank is successfully continuing with its operations despite the death of its Chairman—as Skarssen had predicted to Salinger before he was killed. However with the new and more aggressive chairman, it is hinted that the IBBC’s increased expansion and aggression will ultimately lead to its downfall, as shown by the last panel, revealing the beginnings of a United States Senate investigation, headed by Whitman.The International is an impressive and entertaining thriller – not great – but definitely worth a watch.

REVIEW: SHOOT ‘EM UP

CAST

Clive Owen (Sin City)
Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
Monica Bellucci (The Brothers Grimm)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Greg Bryk (Bitten)
Julian Richings (Highlander: The Raven)
Jeffrey Parazzo (Power Rangers Dino Thunder)
David Ury (3 From Hell)

At a bus stop in a rough part of town, a drifter named Smith (Clive Owen) sees a pregnant woman fleeing a hitman. Following them into a warehouse, Smith murders the hitman by stabbing him in the face with a carrot. As more thugs arrive, the woman starts to give birth, and Smith is forced to deliver the woman’s baby during a shootout. Pursued by head assassin Karl Hertz (Paul Giamatti), the woman is shot and killed, forcing Smith to narrowly escape with the newborn.

Leaving the baby in a park, Smith hopes someone will adopt the child, only for a passing woman to be killed by a shot from Hertz’s sniper rifle. Realizing Hertz is trying to kill the baby, Smith saves him, and attempts to leave him with a lactating prostitute named Donna (Monica Bellucci); despite his pleas, she refuses. Hertz arrives at the brothel shortly after and tortures Donna for information, only for Smith to return and kill Hertz’s henchmen.

Taking Donna to his hideout, Smith realizes that the baby (who he names Oliver) stops crying when he hears heavy metal music, leading him to conclude his mother lived near a heavy metal club. Followed by Hertz, Smith is then forced to shoot his way out of his hideout, before he and Donna head to a nearby club. Heading above the club, they discover an apartment containing medical equipment and two dead pregnant women; Smith concludes the women were all impregnated with a specific man’s sperm so they could birth matching bone marrow donors. Hiding in a motel room, Smith and Donna are attacked by masked men during sex, Smith realizes his assailants’ weapons are all “Hammerson” models unavailable to the public. Before he pursues this clue, Smith takes Donna and Oliver to a war museum, and hides them in a M24 Chaffee tank. Infiltrating the Hammerson factory, Smith witnesses Hertz and Hammerson in conversation about how they do not want the Second Amendment on the right to bear arms repealed by the next President, and notices Hammerson owns a German Shepherd called Duchess. Smith booby-traps the entire facility, allowing him to kill the thugs and escape.

Smith soon notices an article on Senator Harry Rutledge (Daniel Pilon), a presidential candidate campaigning for stricter gun laws. Smith deduces Rutledge has cancer and requires a bone marrow transplant, which is why he had surrogates impregnated with his sperm, and why Hertz and Hammerson want Oliver dead. If the infants die, the Senator will not receive a donation and will be unfit to run as President. Smith tells Donna to leave town, before Smith contacts one of Rutledge’s henchmen to request an appointment. Meeting aboard a plane, the Senator confirms Smith’s suspicions, only for Smith to notice dog hair on his trousers.

Discerning the hair belongs to Duchess, and that the Senator struck a deal with Hammerson, Smith takes Rutledge hostage, only for Hertz and Hammerson to appear. Escaping from Hertz, Smith kills the Senator and leaps from the aircraft with a parachute. Killing several pursuing henchmen, Smith is shot and, after safely landing, soon collapses due to his injuries. Smith subsequently awakes in Hammerson’s mansion. Hertz tortures Smith, breaking his fingers to learn where he sent Donna and Oliver. As Hertz prepares to cut Smith’s eyes, Smith manages to break free and kill several thugs. Cornered and struggling to use his gun, Smith places live rounds between his broken fingers and, by detonating them using a fireplace, shoots and critically wounds Hertz. As Smith and Hertz both grab pistols and struggle to kill each other, Smith manages to fire first and kill Hertz.

Boarding a bus with Duchess, Smith soon stops at an ice-cream parlor, where he finds Donna working as a waitress while watching Oliver. The film ends as a group of amateur armed robbers enter the parlor; his hands in bandages, Smith shoots them by using a carrot to pull the trigger.I would recommend this to anyone who is capable of watching a film without taking it seriously.

REVIEW: CLOSER

CAST
Julia Roberts (Mirror, Mirror)
Jude Law (Spy)
Natalie Portman (Thor)
Clive Owen (Sin City)
In the opening scene, twenty-four-year-old Alice Ayres and Dan Woolf see each other for the first time from opposite sides of a street as they are walking toward each other among many other rush hour pedestrians. Alice is a young American stripper who just arrived in London, and Dan is an unsuccessful British author who is on his way to work where he writes obituaries for a newspaper. Alice looks in the wrong direction as she crosses the street and is hit by a taxi cab right in front of Dan’s eyes. After he rushes to her side she smiles to him and says, “Hello, stranger.” He takes her to the hospital where Alice is treated and released. Afterward, on the way to his office, they stop by Postman’s Park, the same park that he and his father visited after his mother’s death. Pausing in front of the office before he leaves her and goes to work, he reminds her that traffic in England tends to come on from the right, and on impulse, he asks her for her name. They soon become lovers.
A year later, though the two are in a relationship, Dan is straying. He has written a novel based on Alice’s life and while being photographed to publicize it, he flirts with the American photographer Anna Cameron. Anna shares a kiss with Dan before finding out that Dan and Alice are in a relationship. Alice arrives and borrows Anna’s bathroom, leaving Anna and Dan alone again. Dan takes the chance to try to persuade Anna into having an affair with him but is cut short by Alice’s return. Alice asks Anna if she can have her portrait taken as well. Anna agrees and Alice asks Dan to leave them alone during the photo shoot. While being photographed, she reveals to Anna that she overheard them, and she is photographed while still weeping over it. Alice does not reveal what she overheard to Dan, even as he spends a year stalking Anna. Another year later, Dan enters a cybersex chat room and randomly meets Larry Gray, a British dermatologist. With Anna still on his mind, Dan pretends to be her, and using the pretense that they will be having sex, Dan convinces Larry to meet at the aquarium (where Anna told Dan she often went). Larry goes to the rendezvous and has his rude awakening there. Anna tells Larry that a man who had pursued her, Dan, was most likely to blame for the setup. Soon, Anna and Larry become a couple and they refer to Dan as “Cupid” from then on.
Four months later, at Anna’s photo exhibition,[3] Larry meets Alice, whom he recognizes from the tearful photograph that is one of many being exhibited. Larry knows that Alice and Dan are a couple, from talking to Anna. Meanwhile, Dan convinces Anna to become involved with him. They begin cheating on their respective lovers for a year, even though Anna and Larry become married halfway through the year. Eventually Anna and Dan each confess the affair to their respective partners, leaving their relationships for one another.
Alice goes back to being a stripper, heartbroken by her loss. One day, Larry runs into her accidentally at the strip club and he (heart-broken himself) is convinced that she is the girl he met before. He asks her if her name is Alice, but no matter how much money he gives her, she keeps telling him her name is “Jane Jones.” He asks her to have a one-night stand with him but she refuses. The line of questioning becomes pornographic, albeit without any explicit nudity. Eventually, Larry convinces Anna to see him one last time; she agrees to sleep with him so that he will sign the divorce papers and leave her alone. Dan guesses and Anna confesses it to Dan, who takes it badly. Anna returns to Larry. Distraught, Dan confronts Larry to try and get Anna back. Instead, Larry tells him Alice’s whereabouts, and suggests that he go back to her. Suddenly, however, out of a sheer malicious impulse, he also tells him that he had a one-night stand with her.
Alice takes Dan back. When Dan asks her whether she had a one-night stand with Larry, she initially denies it. But when he insists on the truth, she suddenly tells him that she doesn’t love him anymore and goes on to say that she did sleep with Larry. Dan then reveals that Larry had already told him about the one-night stand but that he’s already forgiven her. She insists that it’s over and tells him to leave. The argument culminates in Dan slapping Alice. In the end, Alice returns to New York. Passing through the immigration checkpoint on her way back into the United States, it is revealed through a shot of her passport that her real name is indeed Jane Rachel Jones and that she had lied about her name for the duration of her four-year relationship with Dan.
Back in London, Dan returns to Postman’s Park, and to his surprise, notices the name “Alice Ayres” on a memorial that is dedicated to a young woman, “who by intrepid conduct”, and at the cost of her young life, rescued three children from a fire. The final scene shows Alice/Jane walking on Broadway towards West 47th Street with male passers-by staring at her beauty. This completes the visual symmetry within the film as it echoes the opening scene where Alice/Jane and Dan are staring at each other on the sidewalks of London.
This film is an excellent character study of the human condition we call love. It shows us how paranoia and the feeling that we must know every little detail can eat away at someone and cause relationships to desolve. I was really unsure about this movie as i thought it was going to be over long and too depressing. I have never been so wrong about anything, the film flys by and the performances are career bests from all involved. Especially Natalie Portman, who steals the show as alice.

REVIEW: GOSFORD PARK

CAST
Maggie Smith (Clash of The Titans)
Michael Gambon (Sleepy Hollow)
Kristin Scott Thomas (Mission Impossible)
Camilla Rutherford (Rome)
Charles Dance (Game of Thrones)
Clive Owen (Sin City)
Helen Mirren (Red)
Geraldine Somerville (Harry Potter)
Ryan Phillippe (Cruel Intentions)
Emily Watson (Red Dragon)
Tom Hollander (Valkyrie)
Stephen Fry (Bones)
Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire)
Natasha Wightman (V For Vendetta)
Jeremy Northan (The Net)
Bob Balaban (The Monuments Men)
Trent Ford (The Vampire Diaries)
Eileen Atkins (Robin Hood)
Alan Bates (The Sum of All Fears)
Derek Jacobi (Gladiator)
Richard E. Grant (Dracula)
Ryan Phillippe and Kristin Scott Thomas in Gosford Park (2001)
In November 1932, Constance, Countess of Trentham (Maggie Smith), and her lady’s maid, Mary MacEachran (Kelly Macdonald) travel to Gosford Park for the weekend. On the way, they encounter actor Ivor Novello (Jeremy Northam), American film producer Morris Weissman (Bob Balaban) and Weissman’s valet, Henry Denton (Ryan Phillippe). At the house, they are greeted by Lady Trentham’s niece Lady Sylvia McCordle (Kristin Scott Thomas), her husband Sir William McCordle (Michael Gambon), and their daughter, Isobel (Camilla Rutherford). The other guests include Lady Sylvia’s sisters, Louisa, Lady Stockbridge (Geraldine Somerville) and Lady Lavinia Meredith (Natasha Wightman) and their husbands, Raymond, Lord Stockbridge (Charles Dance) and Commander Anthony Meredith (Tom Hollander). Also in attendance are the Honourable Freddie Nesbitt (James Wilby) and his wife, Mabel (Claudie Blakley); Isobel’s suitor, Lord Rupert Standish (Laurence Fox) and his friend Jeremy Blond (Trent Ford).
Commander Meredith is in financial difficulty and brings up the matter with Sir William, who reveals that he is rescinding his investment in Meredith’s new business scheme. Sir William also reveals privately to Lady Sylvia that he may stop paying Lady Trentham’s allowance. Mary and Lord Stockbridge’s valet, Parks (Clive Owen), are attracted to one another and exchange pleasantries. Denton asks a number of questions about life in service and Parks reveals that he was brought up in an orphanage. Denton meets Lady Sylvia and during the night, he goes to her room.
The next morning the men go out early on a pheasant shoot, and Sir William is slightly injured by a low shot. Later, the ladies join the gentlemen for an outdoor luncheon on the estate grounds, where Commander Meredith pleads with Sir William to not back out of the investment, breaking decorum by grabbing Sir William’s arm and causing him to shatter his cocktail glass on the ground. While dressing for dinner, Lady Trentham and Mary are visited by Lady Sylvia, who reveals that Sir William is in a terrible mood with all of his guests after the events of the weekend and that he may stop paying his wife’s aunt her allowance. Lady Trentham is upset by this, and tersely tells Mary to be discreet about this unwelcome news (after having encouraged her to share downstairs gossip about the other guests).
Dinner that evening is tense and sombre, with the announcement that Commander Meredith will be leaving in the morning and that he now must prepare for bankruptcy thanks in part to Sir William’s withdrawal of his investment—news to which Sir William reacts with callous indifference. As the conversation progresses, tempers flare and Lady Sylvia attacks Sir William, implying that he was a First World War profiteer. The head housemaid, Elsie (Emily Watson), rises to his defence, breaking the class barrier, and thus revealing her affair with Sir William to everyone at the table. Everyone watches in shocked silence at this indiscretion, and Elsie hurries from the room—knowing that she will be dismissed.  Sir William abruptly storms away from the dinner table and goes to the library, where the housekeeper, Mrs. Wilson (Helen Mirren) brings him coffee. He demands a glass of whisky instead.
Kristin Scott Thomas and Stephen Fry in Gosford Park (2001)
Lady Sylvia asks Mr. Novello to entertain the guests. George (Richard E. Grant, first footman), Parks, Mr. Nesbitt and Commander Meredith disappear and an unknown person goes to the library and stabs Sir William as he sits slumped in his chair. Minutes later, Lady Stockbridge goes to the library to entice Sir William to return to the party and her screams bring everyone to the room. Commander Meredith and Mr. Nesbitt do not offer an explanation of their disappearances, while George says he was fetching milk for the coffee service and Parks claims to have been fetching hot water bottles. Inspector Thompson (Stephen Fry) and Constable Dexter (Ron Webster) arrive to investigate the murder. Dexter suggests that Sir William was already dead when he was stabbed. It is eventually surmised that Sir William was poisoned before being stabbed. Denton confesses to Jennings (Alan Bates), the butler, that he is not a valet but an American actor preparing for a film role. The next morning, Lady Sylvia goes for her usual morning ride, which surprises Inspector Thompson. Barnes (Adrian Scarborough) overhears Commander Meredith tell Lady Lavinia that Sir William’s death was lucky for them, as the investment is now secure. Barnes tells Inspector Thompson, who interrogates Meredith.
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Mrs. Croft (Eileen Atkins) tells the kitchen maid, Bertha (Teresa Churcher), that Sir William was known for seducing the women working in his factories. If a woman became pregnant, Sir William offered two choices: keep the baby and lose your job, or give the baby up and keep your job. Those who gave up their babies were told that the adoptions were being arranged with good families. In reality, Sir William paid squalid orphanages to take the children. Mary goes to Parks’ room and tells him that she knows he is the murderer. Parks tells her that he discovered Sir William was his father, entered service and attempted to gain employment with someone in his circle. Parks tells Mary that he did not poison Sir William and Mary is relieved, as Parks only stabbed the corpse. Mary listens to Lady Sylvia and Lady Constance discussing why Mrs. Croft and Mrs. Wilson are enemies. Lady Sylvia believes that the tension between them stems from the fact that Mrs. Wilson now outranks Mrs. Croft. Lady Constance asks if Mrs. Wilson was ever married and Lady Sylvia replies that her name was once Parks or Parker. Mary goes to Mrs. Wilson and the older woman reveals that she poisoned Sir William to protect her son, because she knew that Parks was there to kill Sir William. She also reveals that she and Mrs. Croft are sisters. After talking to Dorothy (Sophie Thompson), Mrs. Wilson goes to her room distraught and is comforted by Mrs. Croft.
The guests drive away with the dismissed Elsie joining them, though she has taken an unusual souvenir from the house — Sir William’s pet dog. Lady Sylvia waves good-bye to her guests and re-enters Gosford Park, while Jennings closes the doors.
Superbly written with a twist in the tale well worth two hours of anyones time hugely entertaining