REVIEW: EVEREST

CAST

Jason Clarke (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko)
Josh Brolin (Deadpool 2)
Robin Wright (Wonder Woman)
John Hawkes ((Winter’s Bone)
Sam Worthington (Clash of The Titans)
Keira Knightley (King Arthur)
Tom Wright (Top of The Lake)
Martin Henderson (The Ring)
Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2)
Naoko Mori (Torchwood)

Josh Brolin in Everest (2015)In May 1996 several commercial expeditions at base camp of Mount Everest prepare for a climb to the summit. Rob Hall, who popularized commercial Everest missions, leads Adventure Consultants; Scott Fischer is chief guide for Rob’s rival, Mountain Madness. Rob’s clients include Beck Weathers, an experienced climber; Doug Hansen, a former mailman pursuing his dream; climbing veteran Yasuko Namba, who hopes to complete her final Seven Summits ascent; and Outside magazine journalist Jon Krakauer. Helen Wilton manages Rob’s base camp. A month earlier in New Zealand, Rob says goodbye to his pregnant wife Jan and promises he will be home for the birth. At base camp Rob receives a fax from her, informing him their baby is a girl. He wants to name her Sarah, but Jan disagrees.Keira Knightley in Everest (2015)Worried about climber crowding, Rob persuades Scott to cooperate to reduce delays. On the summit attempt, Rob’s group departs Camp IV before dawn, planning to complete the ascent and turn around by 2 pm, the latest safe time for return before nightfall. The group is delayed over an hour after discovering guide ropes are not installed on upper reaches of the climb. Beck has eyesight problems and stops. Rob tells him to return if his condition does not improve in a half-hour. Scott hurries back down to camp to help another climber, but plans to re-ascend. Rob warns him about over-exertion. Rob reaches the summit on time and is joined by other climbers including Yasuko, who jubilantly plants her Japanese flag in the snow. Descending, Rob encounters Doug struggling just above the Hillary Step and orders him to turn back. Doug insists on continuing, saying he won’t get the chance again. Rob reluctantly agrees and they reach the summit two hours later, well past safe return time. At the summit Doug is exhausted and increasingly suffering from altitude sickness. Also at the top is Scott, exhausted and increasingly ill from high-altitude pulmonary edema.Jake Gyllenhaal in Everest (2015)As Rob helps Doug descend, a blizzard strikes the mountain and Doug’s oxygen bottle runs out, causing him to suffer hypoxia. No extra bottles are stored on the route where Rob asked and he radios Helen to send someone up with oxygen. Doug, left alone briefly by Rob, semi-consciously unclips himself from the guide rope and walks unsteadily along the narrow path. He silently topples to his death a moment later. Scott’s condition worsens. He tells fellow climbers to continue descending without him. He lies down and later dies. Returning climbers reach Beck, his vision still impaired, but they all become lost as the blizzard obliterates the trail. Three climbers go for help, leaving Beck and Yasuko behind.Jason Clarke in Everest (2015)Guide Andy ‘Harold’ Harris reaches Rob with spare oxygen, but it is frozen shut. They huddle in place in the storm. While Rob sleeps, Andy hallucinates, a danger the camp doctor warned of. He strips off his outer clothing and slides off the mountainside to his death. In the morning, Rob radios Helen that Doug and Andy are gone and that his hands and feet are frozen. Helen calls Jan, hoping Rob will respond to her voice. Jan tells Rob that he must start moving. Rob tells her he is cold but comfortable and asks her to name their baby Sarah. He dies soon after. Returning climbers tell the camp that Beck and Yasuko are stranded. The weather, however, makes rescue impossible. Helen calls Beck’s wife, Peach, and informs her of the situation. In the morning, Beck miraculously awakens, sees Yasuko’s corpse and stumbles back to camp alone, severely frostbitten and in dire need of medical help. Peach calls the American Embassy and organizes a helicopter rescue. Nepal Army pilot Lt. Col. Madan Khatri Chhetri successfully flies a harrowing high altitude mission to evacuate Beck. Meanwhile, one of Scott’s guides, Anatoli, finds his body and moves it off the trail.Everest (2015)Returning home, Helen has an emotional reunion with Jan, who later gives birth and names her daughter Sarah. Beck returns to his family, heavily bandaged. Closing titles reveal that he lost both hands and nose to severe frostbite and that Rob’s body remains on Everest.Overall, Everest gave me exactly what I wanted. It was intense, emotionally powerful, and the visuals were beautiful. It’s not perfectly structured, but it sure is engaging. As someone who has studied the mountain, this offers a brutal look into how much time and energy is out into a trip to Everest, and how quickly things can go wrong. Definitely worth seeing.

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REVIEW: LOVE & OTHER DRUGS

CAST

Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark KNight Rises)
Oliver Platt (X-Men: First Class)
Hank Azaria (The Simpsons)
Josh Gad (Frozen)
Gabriel Macht (The Spirit)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
George Segal (king Rat)
Jill Clayburgh (Running With Scissors)
Nikki DeLoach (The Net 2.0)
Katheryn Winnick (Vikings)
Michael Chernus (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Jaimie Alexander (Thor)

In 1996, Jamie Randall is fired from a Pittsburgh electronics store for having sex with his manager’s girlfriend. His wealthy brother Josh announces at the dinner table at their parents’ house that he has found Jamie a job as a pharmaceutical sales representative. After attending a Pfizer training program where he has sex with the instructor, Jamie goes to work for the company and tries to get doctors to prescribe Zoloft and Zithromax. He is rebuffed, much to the dismay of his regional manager, Bruce, who sees Jamie as his ticket to the “big leagues” of Chicago. Bruce says if Jamie can get Dr. Knight to prescribe Zoloft instead of Prozac, other doctors will follow his lead. Jamie tries to get access to Dr. Knight by hitting on his female employees until, exasperated, Dr. Knight unethically permits him to observe him at work, during which time he accidentally sees a disrobing patient, Maggie Murdock, who suffers from early onset Parkinson’s disease.Jamie angles a date with Maggie, who has sex with him. Jamie is later beaten up by top-selling Prozac rep Trey Hannigan, one of Maggie’s ex-lovers, who warns him to stay away from her and the doctors. That night, Jamie is unable to get an erection. Maggie teasingly says he should use the new erectile dysfunction drug that his company has developed. Bruce confirms that such a drug, to be called Viagra, is about to be marketed. Jamie soon starts selling Viagra, an instant success. Jamie wants a committed relationship, but Maggie refuses. Jamie confronts her while she helps senior citizens onto a bus bound for Canada to get cheap prescription drugs, and they get into an argument.Two days later, after he waits the night before at the bus stop in his car, he greets her back. Maggie is touched that he waited, and they resume their relationship. Jamie spends nights at Maggie’s apartment. One night, he tells Maggie that he loves her—the first time he has ever said that to anyone—and has a panic attack. Maggie calms him by saying she “said ‘I love you’ to a cat once”. Jamie catches his brother masturbating to a sex tape that he and Maggie had recorded. Jamie asks her to go to a Chicago medical conference with him. She ends up at a Parkinson’s discussion group across the street, and is moved by the people and their stories. Jamie meets a man whose wife is in the final stages of the disease, and asks for advice about Maggie. The man tells him to run.After the convention, Maggie tells him how much she loves him. Jamie starts researching Parkinson’s, and takes Maggie to different specialists around the country to have tests done. Jamie becomes angry and upset when he arrives at an appointment, to find out it has been rescheduled after they had flown in to see the doctor. Maggie sees that Jamie can only love her if there’s a hope that one day there will be a cure, and decides to break up with him.Then Jamie gets invited to a pajama party with his brother by Dr. Knight and ends up having a threesome with two girls. Jamie wakes up with a rare reaction from taking Viagra and he goes to the hospital. Some time later, Jamie goes to a restaurant and runs into Maggie, who is on a date. Bruce shows up and reveals Jamie has been promoted to the Chicago office. While packing to move to Chicago, Jamie finds the videotape recorder where he taped himself and Maggie talking about life. Jamie realizes he wants to be with Maggie, but her boss tells him she has left for Canada to obtain drugs. Jamie flags down her bus and tells her that she makes him a better person, and that he loves and needs her. She starts to cry and says she will need him more. Jamie decides not to take the job in Chicago, but instead he attends medical school and stays with Maggie.Issues such as serious illness, the workings of the big pharmaceutical companies and their attempts to influence the decision making of medical professionals, the struggle people have to pay for treatment and a believably complex love story are woven in without significant signposting or obvious plot twists. Once again, the two lead actors were excellent and overall this made for an enjoyable and engaging film

REVIEW: PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME

CAST

Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals)
Gemma Arterton (The Voices)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Steve Toussaint (Judge Dredd)
Darwin Shaw (Casino Royale)
Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four)
Richard Coyle (The Libertine)
Ronald Pickup (Zulu Dawn)

Dastan, a street urchin in Persia, is adopted by King Sharaman after showing courage in the marketplace. Fifteen years later, Sharaman’s brother Nizam receives proof that the holy city of Alamut is supplying weapons to Persian enemies, and the princes — Dastan, along with the king’s biological sons Tus and Garsiv — are sent to siege and take over Alamut. Dastan and his friends breach into the city on their own, and open a gate letting the Persians in. During the attack, Dastan fights a guard for Alamut’s royal family and takes from him a special dagger.Alamut falls to the Persians, but Princess Tamina denies the town having any weapon forges. Tus asks her to marry him to unite the two nations, and she only accept after seeing the dagger in Dastan’s possession. During the celebration, Dastan is fooled into presenting a poisoned gown seemingly given to him by Tus to King Sharaman, which fatally burns the king. Garsiv accuses Dastan of being the murderer, and the prince is forced to escape, carrying Tamina along. Tus is appointed king and orders a manhunt on Dastan.While in hiding, Tamina attempts to kill Dastan, and in the struggle the prince discovers the dagger enables its wielder to travel back in time. Dastan then believes that Tus invaded Alamut for the dagger, and decides to confront his brother at the funeral of the king in Avrat. On the way, the two are captured by merchant-bandits led by Sheik Amar, who recognized and attempted to take him back to Persia for the reward money, but they manage to escape. After arriving in Avrat, Dastan tries to convince his uncle Nizam that he was not the cause of his father’s death, only to discover the dagger was taken by Tamina. Instead, he notices the burns on Nizam’s hands, which indicate he was the one who set up the murder of the King. Furthermore, Nizam has set up an ambush for Dastan along the Persian streets, and after a conflict with his brother Garsiv, Dastan escapes. Nizam sends a group of covert and seemingly mystical warriors, the Hashanshin, to kill Dastan and find the dagger.During a sandstorm, Tamina tells Dastan the origins of the Sands of Time that enable the dagger’s time travel, while admitting the weapon only holds enough sand to reverse time by one minute. Dastan realizes that Nizam’s plan is to place the dagger in the sandglass holding the Sands of Time, causing Nizam to go back in time and prevent himself from saving Sharaman’s life from a lion as children so that he’ll be king of Persia. Tamina says that in doing so, the sandglass would be broken and destroy the world. After the two are captured by Sheik Amar, and Dastan saves Amar’s men from an Hashanshin attack using the dagger, the Sheik is convinced to carry both to a sanctuary near Hindu Kush, where the dagger could be sealed by returning it to the stone it once came from. At the sanctuary, they are found by Garsiv, whom Dastan convinces of his innocence but are later ambushed by the Hassansins. Garsiv sacrifices himself to save Dastan, while Tamina is knocked unconscious by a Hashanshin and the dagger is stolen.Dastan’s group travels back to Alamut to retrieve the dagger from Nizam and tell Tus the truth. Amar’s right hand man Seso dies getting the dagger back to Dastan, and the prince demonstrates the weapon’s powers to Tus to convince his brother. Afterwards Nizam walks in, kills Tus, and takes the dagger back. Tamina saves Dastan from being killed and the two head for secret underground tunnels that lead to the sandglass. When they reach Nizam, he stabs the sandglass and throws the both of them off a cliff. Dastan holds on to it with one arm and Tamina with the other. Tamina then sacrifices herself so that Dastan can stop Nizam. The two fight and when Dastan removes the dagger from the sandglass, time is reset to the moment Dastan found the dagger, causing all of the previous events to never have happened. Dastan finds Tus and Garsiv and exposes Nizam’s betrayal. Nizam attempts to kill Dastan, but is subdued and then killed by Tus. Tus apologizes to Tamina and proposes to strengthen the two nation’s bond by her marrying Dastan. Dastan returns the dagger to Tamina as an engagement gift and tells her he looks forward to their future together as she takes his hand.I highly recommend this film for a good old-fashioned, action-adventure film set in ancient times. The parkour sequences are definitely of the highest order and very well-edited and photographed. The sets and visual effects are excellent. Best of all, the story is intelligent and well-constructed. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has again delivered a very entertaining summer blockbuster. A very well-executed film of its genre. A must watch!

REVIEW: LIFE

CAST

Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals)
Rebecca Ferguson (Hercules)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Hiroyuki Sanada (47 Ronin)
Ariyon Bakare (Jupiter Ascending)

The unmanned Pilgrim 7 space probe is returning from Mars to the International Space Station (ISS) with a soil sample that might contain evidence of extraterrestrial life, when it enters an asteroid field and is severely damaged.The six-member ISS crew captures the spacecraft and exobiologist Hugh Derry revives a dormant cell from the sample, and it quickly grows into a multi-celled organism that American school children name “Calvin”. After an atmospheric accident in the lab, Calvin becomes dormant. Hugh revives Calvin with mild electric shocks, but Calvin immediately becomes hostile and attacks Hugh, crushing his hand. While Hugh lies unconscious from Calvin’s attack, Calvin uses the electric shock tool Hugh wielded to escape his immediate enclosure. Now free in the lab room, Calvin devours a lab rat by absorbing it and grows in size. Engineer Rory Adams uses the opportunity to enter the room and rescue Hugh. However, Calvin latches onto Rory’s leg and physician David Jordan locks Rory in the room to keep Calvin contained. After Rory unsuccessfully attacks Calvin with a flame thrower, Calvin enters his mouth, killing him by devouring his organs from the inside. Emerging from Rory’s mouth even larger, Calvin escapes through a fire-control vent. Hugh theorizes that lack of breathable air on Mars is what kept the organism dormant.Finding their communication with Earth cut off, due to overheating of the communication systems, mission commander Ekaterina Golovkina performs a space walk to fix the overheating. Calvin, having breached the cooling systems, attacks her outside the ISS, rupturing her spacesuit’s coolant system in the process, causing toxic liquid to fill her helmet. She struggles to get back into ISS, but realizes Calvin will also be able to re-enter the space station. She refuses to open the airlock to seek help, keeping Calvin out of the station but causing her to drown in her spacesuit.Calvin attempts to enter the station through the thrusters. The crew try to use the thrusters to prevent Calvin from entering these openings, but their attempts fail and the station loses too much fuel. The ISS enters a decaying orbit, which will eventually cause the station to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. Pilot Sho Murakami informs the crew that they need to use the remaining fuel to get back into a safe orbit, but the attempt would allow Calvin back into the station. The crew then plan to make Calvin dormant by sealing themselves into one module and venting the atmosphere from the rest of the station. When Hugh enters cardiac arrest, the crew realize that Calvin was feeding off Hugh’s leg. Having grown into a larger tentacled creature, Calvin attacks the remainder of the crew. Sho seals himself in a sleeping pod as Calvin attempts to crack the glass and consume him. David and the quarantine officer Miranda North use Hugh’s corpse as bait to lure Calvin away from Sho and trap it in a module to deprive it of oxygen.Having received a distress call prior to the damage to the ISS communication system, Earth sends a Soyuz capsule as a fail-safe plan to push the station into deep space. The capsule docks with the station and starts pushing it into deep space. Believing the situation a rescue mission, Sho leaves his pod and rushes to board the arriving ship, forcing open the capsule’s hatch; once he does that, Calvin attacks him and the Soyuz crew. After killing the crew,the encounter causes a docking breach that results in the capsule detaching and crashing into the ISS. David and Miranda, the only survivors, realize that the incident has again caused them to enter a decaying orbit. Aware that Calvin could survive re-entry, David recalls two escape pods, planning to lure Calvin into one pod and pilot it into deep space, allowing Miranda to escape to Earth in the other pod.David leads Calvin into his pod and launches into space as Miranda launches hers. One of the pods hits debris and is knocked off course. Calvin attacks David as he struggles to send his pod into deep space. The earthbound pod performs a controlled re-entry and lands in the ocean near a boat with two Vietnamese fishermen. As they approach the pod and look inside, it is revealed to be David’s escape pod, who is encased in a web-like substance. Meanwhile, Miranda’s navigation system fails, and she can only scream helplessly as her pod is sent hurtling into deep space, taking her to a certain and lonely death. David, still alive, tries to warn the unwitting fishermen not to attempt a rescue. The fishermen open the pod door as two other fishing boats arrive.This is a great movie! Don’t go in biased by other reviews. Just watch it with an open mind and form your own opinion. Happy watching!

 

REVIEW: OKJA

 

CAST

Ahn Seo-hyun (the Divine Move)
Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Paul Dano (Swiss Army Man)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals)
Byun Hee-bong (The Devi’s Game)
Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead)
Lily Collins (The Mortal Instruments)
Yoon Je-moon (Private Eye)
Shirley Henderson (Happy Valley)
Daniel Henshall (The Babadook)
Devon Bostick (Saw VI)
Choi Woo-shik (Big Match)
Giancarlo Esposito (Malcolm X)

In 2007, Lucy Mirando becomes CEO of the Mirando Corporation, succeeding her controversial grandfather, her father and her cruel twin sister Nancy. She announces that they have been breeding a special kind of superpig. Twenty-six of the best pigs will be sent to locations around the world, and ten years later, one will be crowned the winner.In 2017, a young girl named Mija lives happily in the countryside of South Korea with her grandfather and her super pig, Okja. They are visited by Mirando spokesperson and zoologist Dr. Johnny Wilcox, who declares Okja the best super pig and announces they will take her to New York City. Mija’s grandfather takes her to visit the graves of her parents where he presents her with a gold pig and explains to her that rather than buy Okja, which was not allowed, he saved up the money for Okja and bought the solid gold item. Devastated, Mija runs away to Seoul to find Okja, where she sees her as she is being loaded onto a truck. Mija manages to chase down the truck which is eventually intercepted by another truck, run by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). In the resulting chaos Mija and Okja run away causing havoc though they are eventually saved by the ALF. Recognizing that Mija is Okja’s owner, they tell her that their plan is to put a recording device in Okja’s ear and let her be re-captured by the Mirando corporation to show how brutally they treat their animals. Mija tells them to return her to the mountains but their translator, K, deliberately lies, causing the group to believe Mija went along with their plan. They abandon her, and Okja is recaptured.Meanwhile, footage of Okja and Mija running through the streets of Seoul has gone viral. In order to do damage control, Lucy pays for Mija to come to New York to be reunited onstage with her pig. Okja is taken to the laboratory where she is forcibly bred with another super pig and bits of meat are extracted from her flesh for a taste test by a drunk Wilcox. Members of the ALF overhear the recording through the device they placed in Okja’s ear. Jay vows to help Okja and Mija and use the recording to expose the Mirando corporation’s animal abuse.In New York City, Mija spends her time learning bits of English and being forced to agree to the wishes of the Mirando corporation. Jay, the leader of ALF, slips into her room and tells her that they still plan to rescue Okja while on stage. A huge parade is put on by the Mirando Corporation who give out free meat in the street. Mija is reunited with Okja who, blinded and battered does not recognize her and attacks her. In the resulting chaos, Jay tries to hurt Okja, but Mija prevents him from doing so, calming Okja down so that she recognizes Mija. A video of Wilcox’s treatment of Okja is screened by the ALF to the public, who quickly turn on him and Lucy. Mija and the ALF attempt to escape with Okja, but Nancy arrives back and quickly takes over the Mirando Corporation, recapturing Okja and having the ALF members beaten and arrested.Escaping, Jay and K take Mija to find Okja in a mass killing plant. The group search for Okja but are unable to find her until Mija sees her going up the ramp to the slaughterhouse. In order to save Okja she runs through the killing plant and sees many dead super pigs. Mija sees Okja as she is about to be slaughtered and shows the Mirando employee a photograph of herself with a baby Okja. The man seems moved, but Nancy arrives and tells Mija and the man that Okja must be slaughtered. Mija offers the golden pig to Nancy in exchange for Okja’s life. Nancy agrees to the deal whilst subsequently arresting Jay and K. As Mija and Okja are leaving, they see many more pigs being led to slaughter. A pair of superpigs manages to push their newborn through the fence, and Okja hides it within her mouth to take it away. Back in the countryside, Mija resumes her life with her grandfather, Okja, and the new piglet. In a post-credits scene, Jay is released from prison and gets on board a bus with K and the other members of the organization, who reveals that ALF will be attending a major meeting involving all of the Mirando shareholders.If you’re a fan of the director’s previous work, especially “The Host,” then you won’t be disappointed. Even if you’re not familiar with his work, you won’t be disappointed. If you can get past the slight weirdness of this movie (which might not fit everyone’s taste), I can promise you that you won’t regret watching this

REVIEW: RENDITION

CAST

Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko)
Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blonde)
Peter Sarsgaard (K-19)
Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Omar Metwally (Munich)
J.K Simmons (Whiplash)
Alan Arkin (The Rocketeer)
Aramis Knight (Ender’s Game)
Rosie Malek-Yonan (Up Close & Personal)

CIA analyst Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal) is briefing a newly arrived CIA agent in a square in an unnamed country in North Africa (filmed in Marrakech), when a suicide attack kills the CIA agent and 18 other people. The target was a high-ranking police official, Abbas-i “Abasi” Fawal (Yigal Naor), who acts as a liaison for the United States and whose tasks include conducting interrogations and overseeing the application of techniques amounting to torture. Fawal escapes unscathed. Egyptian-born Anwar El-Ibrahimi (Omar Metwally), a chemical engineer who lives in Chicago with his mother, his pregnant wife Isabella (Reese Witherspoon) and their young son, is linked to a violent organization by telephone records indicating that known terrorist Rashid placed several calls to Anwar’s cellphone. Returning to the United States from a conference in South Africa, he is detained by American officials and sent to a secret detention facility near the location of the suicide attack depicted earlier, where he is interrogated and tortured. Isabella is not informed and all records of his being on the flight from South Africa are erased, although records remain of his boarding the plane at Cape Town International Airport. For lack of more experienced staff, Freeman is assigned to observe the interrogation of Anwar, whose interrogator is Fawal himself. After Freeman briefly questions Anwar, he is doubtful of Anwar’s guilt, but his boss, Corrine Whitman (Meryl Streep), insists that the detention continue, justifying such treatments as necessary to save thousands from becoming victims of terrorism.Growing worried, Isabella travels to Washington, D.C. to see old friend Alan Smith (Peter Sarsgaard), who now works as an aide to Senator Hawkins (Alan Arkin), and plead with him to find out what has happened to her husband. She is first informed that there was a mix-up in Cape Town and Anwar had failed to board his plane, but she shows him her husband’s credit card record, which shows that he made a purchase at the in-flight duty-free shop; this confirms that he was on the flight. Smith slowly pieces together details of Anwar’s detention. He is unable to convince either the senator or Corrine Whitman, who had ordered the rendition, to release him, or to openly acknowledge that the rendition had taken place. After the senator advises Smith to let it go on the basis that it’s not the right time to start debating an extraordinary rendition because he’s fighting to have a bill passed in Congress, he gives Isabella a phone number for an excellent lawyer he knows and advises her to call it, but she refuses. Upon hearing the confrontation from her office, his sympathetic secretary quietly tips Isabella off that Whitman will be visiting the following day. Isabella confronts Whitman and creates a scene, before storming out, only to go into labor in the hallway.Eventually, Anwar confesses that he advised Rashid how to make more powerful bombs and was promised $40,000 in return. Suspicious that it’s a false confession, Freeman asks where the money is and Anwar replies that it should have been delivered to him in South Africa but the courier never arrived. Freeman’s suspicions are confirmed when he has the names Anwar gives traced by Interpol and draws a blank. A quick Google search reveals that the names are of the Egyptian soccer team from the year Anwar left Egypt. Without the consent of his superiors, Freeman approaches the Minister of the Interior of the country, and presents him with this finding, and also questions whether $40,000 would really be enough to persuade a man whose annual salary is $200,000 to risk his entire life, and that of his family. He quotes Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice while making a point on the value of intelligence gathered through torture. Eventually, Freeman persuades the minister to authorise Anwar’s release, and sends him back to America via a clandestine ship to Spain, hanging up on his superior when he gets a call to cease and desist. Angered by the injustice Anwar has suffered, Freeman leaks the details of Anwar’s detention to the American press, creating a scandal that humiliates Whitman and Hawkins. The film ends with Anwar arriving home and reuniting with his family.In a parallel storyline, Abasi’s daughter Fatima (Zineb Oukach) has run away from home with her boyfriend Khalid (Moa Khouas). Fatima sees a picture of Khalid’s brother, but he does not tell her what has happened to him. Abasi is told that Khalid’s brother was an inmate at his prison and later died. Fatima is unaware that Khalid is a member of a terrorist group until his friends are arrested at a planned march and he leads her to the terrorist group’s base. Near the end of the movie, Fatima discovers a notebook that contains pictures of Khalid and his brother together, showing that they were extremely close, as well as a picture of the two brandishing AK-47s, then some pictures of a grief-stricken Khalid standing over his brother’s corpse, some pictures of her father, and finally a statement saying that Khalid is doing a deed to avenge his brother’s death. Realizing that Khalid’s brother met his death at the hands of her father and that Khalid is about to assassinate him, she runs off. It is then revealed that this second story took place before the suicide attack. (From the briefing with the CIA agent in the beginning we know that the first story took place after the suicide attack.) At the town square Fatima begs him not to do it, arguing that the target is her father. After removing the pin of his detonator he hesitates, and is therefore killed by the organizers of the attack. As a result, he releases the handle of the detonator and the bomb explodes, killing Fatima. In the present, Abasi rushes to Khalid’s apartment and discovers Khalid’s grandmother grief-stricken over the loss of both her grandsons and Fatima. Abasi then realizes that his daughter died trying to protect him and is filled with grief himself.The record of a phone call supposedly made by Rashid to Anwar is not explained in the film. However, earlier it was mentioned that phones are sometimes passed on from one person to another in order to avoid phone tracing (the DVD extras explain that there was a subplot dropped from the film that elaborated on this concept). The film’s director, Gavin Hood, stated in an interview that the lack of explanation on the call was deliberate, so as to create ambiguity about whether Anwar was guilty or innocent, and to let the viewer decide whether the possibility of his guilt was enough to justify kidnapping and torturing him.Love-Bite-imageGood performances – particularly strong from those beneath the line playing the North African characters. Don’t expect lots of action but it does leave you thinking – not so much about the practice of rendition itself but about the cycle of violence that we all are caught up in.

REVIEW: NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

CAST

Amy Adams (Batman V Superman)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko)
Michael Shannon (Man of Steel)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass)
Isla Fisher (Burke & Hare)
Ellie Bamber (The Falling)
Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger)
Laura Linney (Mystic river)
Andrea Riseborough (Birdman)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Neil Jackson (Push)
Jena Malone (Saved)

The opening sequence of the film is of several obese women dancing naked in slow motion.The Real World

Angeleno art gallery owner Susan Morrow receives the manuscript for a novel penned by her estranged ex-husband Edward Sheffield along with an invitation for dinner during Edward’s upcoming visit to Los Angeles. Marred by her deteriorating marriage to unfaithful businessman Hutton Morrow, Susan becomes consumed by the novel, which is both dedicated to her and named Nocturnal Animals after Edward’s nickname for her.

The Novel

Tony Hastings is a peaceful man who runs afoul of three local troublemakers – Ray Marcus, Lou, and Turk – during a road trip through West Texas. Forced off the road, Tony is powerless to stop Ray and Turk from kidnapping his wife, Laura, and their daughter, India, and leaving him with Lou, who forces him to drive Ray’s car to the end of a road where he is abandoned. Tony manages to evade Ray and Lou when they return looking for him and makes his way to a nearby farmhouse to call the police.Detective Bobby Andes is assigned to the case and discovers the bodies of Laura and India near an abandoned shack, where they had been raped and murdered. Tony is wracked with guilt. He is contacted by Andes a year later and is asked to identify Lou, who is charged as an accomplice in the murders of Laura and India.Turk has been fatally shot in a botched robbery, leaving Ray as the final culprit to be brought to justice. Andes arrests Ray, but is ultimately forced to release him as they only have circumstantial evidence of his involvement. On the verge of retirement and having been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, Andes decides to take matters into his own hands and with Tony’s help abducts Ray and Lou. Andes shoots Lou when he attempts to escape, but Ray succeeds in getting away. Tony tracks Ray down on his own to the shack where Laura and India were killed and the two have a violent confrontation, in which Ray admits to raping and murdering Tony’s wife and daughter, calling him weak. Tony fatally shoots him, but is blinded when Ray hits him on the head with an iron bar. Tony stumbles outside, succumbing to his brain hemorrhage, and dies after falling on his gun, shooting himself in the stomach in the process.

The Real World (cont.)

Shocked by the dark content and raw emotion of the novel, Susan reminisces about meeting Edward in college and their blossoming relationship, which Susan’s domineering mother Anne Sutton objected to, claiming that Edward was not worthy of Susan’s affections and that because of his romantic worldviews, he lacked the drive to actually achieve his goals; Susan ignored her mother’s objections, ultimately marrying Edward.After finding further evidence of Hutton’s extramarital affair, Susan resumes reading the manuscript. Susan begins to recall her troubled marriage to Edward, which was strained by her frustration with his fledgling career and her dismissive attitude towards his literary aspirations, and culminated with Susan cheating on him with Hutton and ultimately divorcing Edward to marry him. Edward attempted to repair their relationship, but ultimately cut ties with Susan upon learning that she was pregnant with his child but secretly had an abortion to ensure the divorce proceeded. Susan realizes that the novel is an allegory for the loss Edward endured during their separation and that he dedicated the novel to her as a form of revenge, having sent the manuscript to prove to her that he was capable of writing a successful novel. Susan reevaluates her current behavior and contacts Edward. She arranges a meeting with him in hopes of mending their relationship, but Edward does not show up.Tom Ford, the celebrated fashion designer who made his film debut with A Single Man, makes a fantastic return with his second film here, both as a director and a writer, adapting Austin Wright’s 1993 novel, Tony and Susan. The script is wonderful, the look of the film is beautifully dark, and it just all feels so purely cinematic. One of the best thrillers in recent years.