REVIEW: ZERO DARK THIRTY

CAST

Jessica Chastain (The Huntsman)
Jason Clarke (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes)
Jennifer Ehle Fifty Shades Darker)
Kyle Chandler(Super 8)
Mark Strong (John Carter)
James Gandolfini (KIllThem Softly)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Mark Duplass (Greenberg)
Fredric Lehne (Lost)
John Barrowman (Arrow)
Jessie Collins (Revolution)
Édgar Ramírez (Joy)
Fares Fares (KIll Your Darlings)
Scott Adkins (X-Men Origins)
Joel Edgerton (Exodus: Gods and Kings)
Chris Pratt (Jurassic World)
Callan Mulvey (300: Rise of an Empire)
Taylor Kinney (The Forest)
Mike Colter (Luke Cage)
Frank Grillo (The Purge 2 & 3)
Christopher Stanley (Argo)
Stephen Dillane (Game of Thrones)
Mark Valley (Human Target)

In 2003, Maya, a young U.S. Central Intelligence Agency analyst, has spent her entire brief career, since being recruited for the agency, focused solely on gathering intelligence related to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, following the terrorist organization’s September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001. She is reassigned to the U.S. embassy in Pakistan to work with a fellow officer, Dan. During the first months of her assignment, Maya often accompanies Dan to a black site for his continuing interrogation of Ammar al-Baluchi, a detainee with suspected links to several of the hijackers in the September 11 attacks. Dan subjects the detainee to approved torture interrogation techniques, i.e., stress positions, hooding, subjection to deafening noise, sleep deprivation, waterboarding, and humiliation.After failing to get al-Baluchi to give up information on an attack in Saudi Arabia, he and Maya eventually trick Ammar into divulging that an old acquaintance, who is using the alias Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, is working as a personal courier for bin Laden. Other detainees corroborate this, with some claiming Abu Ahmed delivers messages between bin Laden and a man known as Abu Faraj al-Libbi. In 2005, Abu Faraj is apprehended by the CIA and local police in Pakistan. Maya is allowed to interrogate him, but he continues to deny knowing a courier with such a name. Maya interprets this as an attempt by Faraj to conceal the importance of Abu Ahmed.Maya spends the next five years sifting through masses of data and information, using a variety of technology, hunches, and sharing insights. She concentrates on finding Abu Ahmed, theorizing that he is the best way to find bin Laden. In 2008, she is caught up in the Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing. Dan, departing on reassignment, warns Maya about a possible change in politics, suggesting that the new administration may prosecute those officers who had been involved in interrogations. Maya’s fellow officer and friend Jessica is killed in the 2009 Camp Chapman attack. That same day, a grieving Maya receives an interrogation video of a Jordanian detainee, who claims the man previously identified from a photograph as Abu Ahmed is a man he personally buried in 2001. Several CIA officers – Maya’s seniors – conclude the target who could be Abu Ahmed is long dead, and that they have searched a false trail for nine years.Sometime later, a fellow analyst researching Moroccan intelligence archives comes to Maya and suggests that Abu Ahmed is Ibrahim Sayeed, a suspect who had come to CIA attention shortly after 9/11. Realizing her lead may still be alive, Maya contacts Dan, now a senior officer at the CIA headquarters. She theorizes that the CIA’s supposed photograph of Abu Ahmed was actually of his brother, Habib, as he was said to bear a striking resemblance to Ibrahim and was known to have been killed in Afghanistan, and points out that Abu Ahmed’s death in 2001 contradicts Ammar’s account.Dan uses CIA funds to purchase a Lamborghini for a Kuwaiti prince in exchange for the telephone number of Sayeed’s mother. The CIA traces calls to the mother and quickly identifies one suspicious caller who persistently uses tradecraft to avoid detection. Maya concludes that the caller is Abu Ahmed, and with the support of her supervisors, numerous CIA operatives are deployed to search for and identify the caller. They locate him in his vehicle and eventually track him to a large urban compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, near the Pakistan Military Academy. As Maya leaves her residence one morning, she is attacked by multiple gunmen, but the bullet-proof glass in her car saves her. Knowing that she has been blacklisted by al-Qaeda and there will be more attempts on her life if she stays, her superiors remove her from the field and send Maya home to Washington, D.C.The CIA puts the compound under heavy surveillance for several months, using a variety of methods. Although they are confident from circumstantial evidence that bin Laden is there, they cannot prove this photographically. Meanwhile, the President’s National Security Advisor tasks the CIA with producing a plan to capture or kill bin Laden if it can be confirmed that he is in the compound. An agency team devises a plan to use two top-secret stealth helicopters (developed at Area 51) flown by the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment to secretly enter Pakistan and insert members of DEVGRU and the CIA’s SAD/SOG to raid the compound. Before briefing President Barack Obama, the CIA Director holds a meeting of his top officials, who assess only a 60–80% chance that bin Laden, rather than another high-value target, is living in the compound. Maya, also in attendance, states the chances are 100%.The raid is approved and is executed on May 2, 2011. Although execution is complicated when one of the helicopters crashes, the SEALs gain entry and kill a number of people within the compound, among them a man on the compound’s top floor who is revealed to be bin Laden. They bring bin Laden’s body back to a U.S. base in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where Maya visually confirms the identity of the corpse. Maya is last seen boarding a military transport to return to the U.S. and sitting in its vast interior as its only passenger. The pilot asks her where she wants to go, but she does not reply. As the plane’s hangar door closes, Maya begins to cry softly.Considering the subject matter of Zero Dark Thirty, a film that follows the CIA’s decade-long hunt for Osama Bin Laden, it’d be little surprise were Hollywood to knock the edges off a little to make it easier for a broader audience. But director Kathryn Bigelow makes no such concession. Off the back of her Oscar-winning feature The Hurt Locker, her movie is a pulls-no-punches, under-your-skin drama. As such, it’s not always the easiest film to watch, but it is an utterly compelling one.

 

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REVIEW: 8MM

 

CAST

Nicolas Cage (Ghost Rider)
Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator)
James Gandolfini (Killing Them Softly)
Peter Stormare (2001 Maniacs)
Anthony Heald (The Silence of The Lambs)
Myra Carter (The Nanny)
Catherine Keener (Out of Sight)
Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead)
Amy Morton (Up In The Air)
Torsten Voges (Funny People)
Luis Saguar (Flawless)
Chris Bauer (True Blood)

Private investigator Tom Welles is contacted by Daniel Longdale, attorney for wealthy widow Mrs. Christian, whose husband has recently died. While clearing out her late husband’s safe, she and Mr. Longdale find an 8 mm movie which appears to depict a real murder, but Mrs. Christian wants to know for certain. After looking through missing persons files, Welles discovers the girl is Mary Ann Mathews, and visits her mother, Janet Mathews. While searching the house with her permission, he finds Mary Ann’s diary, in which she says she went to Hollywood to become a film star. He asks Mrs. Mathews if she wants to know the truth, even if it is the worst. She says that she wants to know what happened to her daughter.In Hollywood, with the help of an adult video store employee called Max California, Welles delves into the underworld of illegal pornography. Contact with a sleazy talent scout named Eddie Poole leads them to director Dino Velvet, whose violent pornographic films star a masked man known as “Machine.” To gain more evidence, Welles pretends to be a client interested in commissioning a hardcore bondage film to be directed by Velvet and starring Machine. Velvet agrees and arranges a meeting in New York City.At the meeting, attorney Longdale appears and explains that Christian had contracted him to procure a snuff film. Longdale says that he told Velvet that Welles might come looking for them. Realizing that the snuff film was authentic, Welles knows he is at risk. Velvet and Machine produce a bound and beaten California, whom they abducted to force Welles to bring them the only surviving copy of the illegal film. Once he delivers it, they burn it and kill California. As they are about to kill Welles, he tells them that Christian had paid $1,000,000 for the film. Velvet, Poole, and Machine received much less and that Longdale kept the major portion. In an ensuing fight, Velvet and Longdale are both killed; Welles wounds Machine and escapes.1_RP4FlJI3nlAIh3PAPYWZtgHe calls Mrs. Christian to tell her his discoveries and recommends going to the police, to which she agrees. Arriving at her estate, Welles is told that Mrs. Christian committed suicide after hearing the news. She left envelopes for the Mathews family and Welles: it contains the rest of his payment and a note reading, “Try to forget us.” Welles decides to seek justice for the murdered girl by killing the remaining people involved. Tracking down Poole, Welles takes him to the shooting location and tries to kill him. He calls Mrs. Mathews to tell her about her daughter and asks for her permission to punish those responsible. With that, he returns and pistol-whips Poole to death, burning his body and pornography from his car. Welles traces Machine and attacks him at home. Welles unmasks him, revealing a bald, bespectacled man named George. He says, “What did you expect? A monster?” George goes on telling Welles that he has no ulterior motive for his sadistic actions; he does them simply because he enjoys it. They struggle, and Welles kills him.O8wSinxAfter returning to his family, Welles receives a letter from Mrs. Mathews, thanking him and suggesting he and she were the only ones to care about Mary Ann.8mm58mm is in no way for the faint of heart, there are some extremely disturbing images. Nicholas Cage did a great job, but Joaquin really takes the show here. He made his character incredibly believable and almost sympathetic. I would recommend this film for a watch, it’s a great thriller.

REVIEW: VIOLET & DAISY

CAST

Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones)
Alexis Bledel (Sin City)
James Gandolfini (Killing Them Softly)
Marianne Jean-Baptiste (28 Days)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Lynda Gravatt (Delivery Man)
Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)

Violet (Alexis Bledel) and Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) are a pair of gum-chewing young assassins who casually snuff out crime figures in New York City, distracted only by the fact that a concert by their favorite pop idol Barbie Sunday has suddenly been canceled.

Determined to raise cash to buy a pair of the newest Barbie Sunday dress, the duo takes on a new hit job offered to them by their handler Russ (Danny Trejo). The target is a mysterious unnamed loner (James Gandolfini) who stole a truck filled with money and cologne from their elusive boss, Chet. A sudden and unexpected empathy with their quite unusual mark leads the two girls into an unexpected journey of self-examination, catapulting the junior enforcers into a world beyond their deadly routine, all while encountering dangerous foes such as rival boss Donnie’s crew of hitmen or the legendary assassin simply known as Number 1 (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), who’s said to have once killed three ninjas with a fingernail file.A fantastic little film that’s so charming and fun mainly due to Saoirse Ronan who is such an amazing actress, she can turn any story into such a great film, the story is fun and fresh.

REVIEW: TRUE ROMANCE

CAST

Christian Slater (Interview With The Vampire)
Patricia Arquette (Stigmata)
Dennis Hooper (The Texas Chaisnaw Massacre 2)
Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)
Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises)
Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Legend of Tarzan)
Michael Rapaport (The 6th Day)
Saul Rubinek (Memory Run)
Conchata Ferrell (Krampus)
James Gandolfini (8mm)
Kevin Corrigan (Superbad)
Ed Lauter (The Number 23)

At a Detroit theater showing kung fu films, Alabama Whitman strikes up a conversation with Elvis Presley fanatic Clarence Worley. The two later have sex at Clarence’s apartment in downtown Detroit. Alabama tearfully confesses that she is a call girl hired by Clarence’s boss as a birthday present, but has fallen in love with Clarence. They later marry. An apparition of Elvis appears to Clarence and convinces him to kill Alabama’s pimp Drexl. Clarence goes to the brothel where Alabama had worked, shoots and kills Drexl, and takes a bag he assumes contains Alabama’s belongings. Back at the apartment, he and Alabama discover the bag contains a large amount of cocaine.

The couple visit Clarence’s estranged father, Clifford, a former cop and now a security guard, for help. Clifford tells Clarence that the police assume Drexl’s murder to be a gang killing. After the couple leave for Los Angeles, Clifford is interrogated by Don Vincenzo Coccotti, consigliere to a mobster named “Blue Lou Boyle”, who wants the drugs. Clifford, realizing he will die anyway, mockingly defies Coccotti, whereupon Coccotti angrily shoots Clifford dead. A note on the refrigerator leads the mobsters to Clarence’s L.A. address. In L.A., Clarence and Alabama meet Clarence’s old friend Dick, an aspiring actor. Dick introduces Clarence to a friend of his, actor Elliot Blitzer, who reluctantly agrees to broker the sale of the drugs to film producer Lee Donowitz.

While Clarence is out buying lunch, Coccotti’s underboss, Virgil, finds Alabama in her motel room and beats her for information. She fights back and kills him with his shotgun. Elliot is pulled over for speeding and arrested for drug possession. In order to stay out of jail, he agrees to record the drug deal between Clarence and Donowitz for the police. Coccotti’s crew learn where the deal will take place from Dick’s roommate Floyd. Clarence, Alabama, Dick, and Elliot go to Donowitz’s suite at the Ambassador Hotel with the drugs. In the elevator, a suspicious Clarence threatens Elliot at gunpoint, but is persuaded by Elliott’s helpless pleading.

Clarence fabricates a story for Donowitz that the drugs were given to him by a corrupt cop, and Donowitz agrees to the sale. Clarence excuses himself to the bathroom, where a vision of Elvis again appears and reassures him that things are going well. Meanwhile, Donowitz and his bodyguards are ambushed by the cops and mobsters and a shootout begins after Elliott accidentally reveals himself as an informant. Dick abandons the drugs and flees. Almost everyone is killed in the gun battle, and Clarence is wounded as he exits the bathroom. He and Alabama escape with Donowitz’s money as more police arrive. They flee to Mexico where Alabama gives birth to a son, whom she names Elvis.True Romance is one of those great films that was rather unfairly and bizarrely largely ignored on it’s original theatrical release but it’s really hard to know why. It’s not because of the script/screenplay, that was written by the great Quentin Tarantino, with all the trademark flourishes you’d expect, with witty dialogue and great set-pieces that leave you quoting them for weeks. It’s not because it’s got a poor cast or poor acting. Apart from the leads, Christian Slater and the wonderful Patricia Arquette (in undoubtedly their greatest screen performances), this movie has a cast list like a whose who of great screen actors; Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman and Christopher Walken. It also boasts a great cameo performance from Brad Pitt and a superb supporting performance from James Gandolfino. Val Kilmer and Samuel L. Jackson even turn up too in blink and you’ll miss it performances. a True great movie.

REVIEW: KILLING THEM SOFTLY

 

CAST

Brad Pitt (Fight Club)
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
Richard Jenkins (The Cabin In Teh Woods)
Scoot Mcnairy (Batman V Superman)
Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises)
James Gandolfini (8mm)
Sam Shepard (Black Hawk Down)
Garret Dillahunt (Terminator: TSCC)

In the fall of 2008, during both the American financial crisis and the presidential election campaign, an older man named Johnny “Squirrel” Amato (Vincent Curatola) plans to rob an illegal poker game. He enlists two younger men to do the robbery: Frankie (Scoot McNairy), a former business associate, and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn), a heroin-addicted Australian expatriate who is stealing purebred dogs for money. Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta), the proprietor of the poker ring, is revealed to have previously orchestrated an inside job by paying two men to rob his own illegal poker room. He holds up under rough questioning by the hitman Dillon (Sam Shepard), though later he openly admits his involvement to various criminals who laugh it off, and Markie suffers no retaliation. Squirrel anticipates that the Mafia will automatically blame Markie for the heist.

Frankie and Russell, though obviously amateurs, do the holdup and leave with the money. However, Driver (Richard Jenkins), an emissary for the Mafia, discusses the recent robbery with an acquaintance of Dillon, a hitman and mob enforcer named Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt). Although Jackie understands Markie was uninvolved in the recent heist, he believes Markie should be murdered in order to restore the mobsters’ confidence in the local illegal gambling scene.

Upon completing the crime, Russell travels to Florida to sell the dogs. While in Florida, he inadvertently informs a man named Kenny Gill (Slaine) of his involvement in the heist while trying to recruit him as a drug dealer. Kenny informs Jackie, who deduces that Russell, Frankie, and Squirrel are the perpetrators. All of this occurs during a backdrop of televised speeches about the financial crisis given by then-President George W. Bush and then-Senator Barack Obama made during the 2008 US Presidential election.

Jackie carries out the hit on Markie himself, killing him in his car, but brings in another older hitman, Mickey Fallon (James Gandolfini), who is on parole in New York, to kill Squirrel. Jackie explains to Driver how he prefers “killing them softly”—shooting his victims from a distance, without warning, giving them no opportunity to experience fear or despair—and that his acquaintance with Squirrel risks complicating this approach.

Mickey postpones going through with his assigned hit, instead indulging in drunkenness and sex with prostitutes in a hotel room. During conversation with Jackie, Mickey also reveals that he has violated his parole, and doesn’t seem to care about or really comprehend the consequences; instead he goes off on drunken tangents. It becomes clear to Jackie that the respected hitman has lost his nerve and ability to do his job. Jackie eventually decides to carry out the hit on Squirrel himself. He convinces Driver to arrange Mickey’s arrest before the job has been completed.

Russell is arrested on a drug possession charge and deported; meanwhile, Jackie confronts Frankie and convinces him to trade Squirrel’s whereabouts for his life. Jackie has Frankie drive him to Squirrel; upon reaching Squirrel’s apartment complex, he kills Squirrel with a shotgun. After confirming Squirrel is dead, Jackie has Frankie drive him to get his car several hours away. Frankie becomes very nervous and begins speeding. Unable to get Frankie to slow down, Jackie takes over driving. Once they arrive at the parking garage, Jackie shoots Frankie in the head without warning. Jackie then wipes down any fingerprints he might have left and leaves the scene.

On the night of the presidential election, Jackie meets with Driver to collect his fee for the three hits. On the TV in the bar, Barack Obama is giving his election victory speech. Jackie sees that he has been paid $30,000. He alleges that at $10,000 each, Driver has underpaid him for the jobs—on the argument that it would have cost $15,000 to have Mickey kill Squirrel. Driver responds that Dillon charges ten, and tells Jackie to take it up with Dillon. Jackie tells Driver that Dillon died that morning. Referring to Obama’s speech, Jackie says angrily, “This guy wants to tell me we’re living in a community? Don’t make me laugh. I’m living in America, and in America, you’re on your own. America is not a country; it’s just a business. Now fucking pay me.” The film smash-cuts to black, leaving the issue unresolved.

The message of this film appears to be two fold. One: America is a business, just like the Mob. Two: the Mob and Politics are sometimes one and the same. When there is a financial Depression, the Mob suffers as much as the country. Make if this what you will. Superb acting by all. Plenty of blood and violence for all looking for this sort of thing.

REVIEW: THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123

 

CAST

Denzel Washington (Training Day
John Travolta (The Punisher)
James Gandolfini (Killing Them Softly)
Victor Gojcaj (Unstoppable)
John Turtrro (Transformers)
Luis Guzman (Traffic)
Ramón Rodríguez (Pride and Glory)
Michael Rispoli (Pain & Gain)
Aunjanue Ellis (Ray)

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A man calling himself Ryder hijacks Pelham 123, a New York City Subway 6 train that departed from Pelham Bay Park station at 1:23 p.m. Ryder is accompanied by three other heavily armed men: Bashkim, Emri and former train operator Phil Ramos. They uncouple the front car from the rest of the train and take the passengers hostage. MTA employee Walter Garber is working the Rail Control Center as a train dispatcher and receives a ransom call from Ryder, who demands $10 million in cash be paid within 60 minutes. Ryder warns that every minute past the deadline they force him to wait, he will execute a hostage.

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Bashkim kills a plainclothes Transit Police officer who approaches him after recognizing that something is amiss. He and Ramos then allow all the passengers not in the front car to be released except for the motorman. Garber reluctantly negotiates with Ryder and develops a rapport, while Ramos and Emri set up Internet access in the tunnel. Ryder uses his laptop to watch the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunge nearly 1,000 points during the next hour in response to the hostage-taking. One of the passenger’s laptops also connects to the Internet, and the computer’s webcam is activated. The webcam allows the people in the control center to observe Ryder and Ramos. Lieutenant Camonetti of the NYPD Emergency Service Unit enters the RCC to take over negotiations and Garber is ordered to leave the premises. The change infuriates Ryder, who shoots and kills the train’s motorman in order to force Camonetti to bring Garber back. Garber blames Camonetti for the motorman’s death.

Camonetti learns that Garber is being investigated for allegedly accepting a $35,000 bribe over a contract for new subway cars. Ryder also discovers the allegations through online news reports after Ramos told Ryder that Garber was a “big-shot” at the MTA and should not be dispatching trains and forces Garber to confess by threatening to kill a passenger. Garber explains that he was offered the bribe while deciding between two companies for a train contract, but also tells Ryder that he used the money to pay for his child’s college tuition and insists that he would have made the same decision without the financial offer. Ryder expresses his admiration for Garber’s willingness to risk himself to save a stranger. Meanwhile, the Mayor agrees to deliver the ransom money to Ryder and orders the NYPD to deliver it. On the way to the delivery point, the police are involved in an accident and fail to get the money there in time. Garber attempts to bluff Ryder by telling him the money has been dropped off, unaware that Ryder has been monitoring events on his laptop and knows he’s being lied to. An enraged Ryder threatens to execute one of the children hostages and the child’s mother. Another hostage, a former soldier, sacrifices himself to save the mother and child and is killed. A short gunfight erupts after an NYPD sniper is bitten by a rat and accidentally discharges his weapon, killing Ramos.

Based on clues that Garber receives during his conversations with Ryder, the NYPD discover that Ryder’s real name is Dennis Ford. He was a manager at a private equity firm before being sentenced to prison for investment fraud. Ford had agreed to a plea bargain for a three-year sentence, but was instead sentenced to ten years by the judge. One of the Mayor’s aides mentions the extreme drop in the major stock indexes in response to the train hijacking, and the Mayor deduces that Ryder is actually attempting to manipulate the market via put options. Ryder demands that Garber himself deliver the ransom money, and Garber is given a pistol and flown to the terminal to make the drop. Ryder brings Garber aboard and orders him to operate the train to the next station, where he and the hijackers exit the train during a brief stop. Ryder then uses a device to rig the train to go on without them. Garber manages to separate himself from Ryder at a railway crossing and then follows him as he escapes to the Waldorf Astoria hotel. Ryder parts from Bashkim and Emri, who are later shot dead after being surrounded by police.

The train comes to a halt safely, and police learn that Ryder is no longer on board. Ryder hails a taxi while Garber follows him in a truck. Ryder checks his laptop and finds that his scheme has amassed a $307 million profit. He leaves the cab on the Manhattan Bridge and takes the bridge’s pedestrian walkway but Garber catches up to him. Garber holds Ryder at gunpoint, and Ryder gives him a 10-second ultimatum to pull the trigger. In the final seconds of the countdown, Ryder pulls out his gun and forces Garber to shoot him. As he lies dying, Ryder tells Garber that he considers him a hero. Garber should be glad that he avenged the motorman’s death by killing Ryder. Afterward, the mayor thanks Garber for saving the hostages and reassures him about his bribery charges. The film concludes with Garber walking into his home carrying a bag of groceries, including a half-gallon of milk he promised his wife, Theresa, he’d bring home earlier in the film.

Pelham works pretty well as a thriller because the Tony Scott-Denzel Washington teaming always seems to do so and adding Travolta, always fun as a villain, is another nice touch. it doesn’t always leave you engaged in what’s happening, whether because the plot or the action lacks humanity. Still it’s held together by good acting and solid direction and for that alone it’s worth a ride.

 

REVIEW: FALLEN

CAST

Denzel Washington (Training Day)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games)
Embeth Davidtz (The Amazing Spider-Man)
James Gandolfini (8mm)
Elias Koteas (Shutter Island)
Robert Joy (Land of The Dead)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
Aida Turturro (Junior)
Barry Shabaka Henley (Heroes)

A voiceover says that this is the story of how the narrator almost died. NYPD Detective John Hobbes visits serial killer named Edgar Reese, who he helped capture, on death row. Reese grabs Hobbes’ hand and says something in an unknown language, later identified as Aramaic. After Reese is executed, Hobbes and his partner Jonesy investigate a string of murders by an apparent copycat killer. Hobbes, through hints given initially by Reese, and later by the apparent copycat killer, tracks down a woman named Gretta Milano, the daughter of a former detective. Gretta explains that her father, a detective in the same city killed himself after being accused of a series of demonic-themed murders. Hobbes goes to the Milano family’s lake-house, and finds books concerning demonic possession, and sees the name Azazel written on a wall.

Hobbes inquires after the name to Gretta, who gravely advises him to drop the case to protect his life and family. Gretta explains that Azazel is a fallen angel with the power to possess human beings by touch. Hobbes realizes that Azazel, while possessing Edgar Reese, touched Hobbes before the execution, but was not able to possess him. Gretta explains that the demon will try to ruin his life by another way, and warns him of the inevitability of Azazel’s victory. Azazel finds Hobbes at his precinct, and through his coworkers, torments him. Hobbes reveals his knowledge of Azazel’s true identity, to which the demon responds, “Beware my wrath”, and disappears into the city.

To provoke Hobbes, Azazel possesses his nephew Sam and attacks John’s intellectually disabled brother Art in their home. He flees into other people on the street, ending up in a schoolteacher. As the teacher, Azazel draws a gun and forces Hobbes to shoot his host in front of a group of bystanders. Azazel boasts to Hobbes that even if his current host body is killed, he can transfer to any new host body in the surrounding area, without even needing to touch them. Lieutenant Stanton informs Hobbes that his fingerprints were found at one of the murder scenes and along with the bizarre circumstances of the shooting of the teacher Azazel possessed, he has become a suspect for all the murders. Azazel inhabits several of the witnesses and gives false accounts that the shooting was unprovoked, thereby throwing further suspicion on Hobbes, framing him for the crime. He also comes into his home and murders his brother, whilst also marking Sam. Hobbes then takes his nephew to Gretta’s house, to keep him safe.

Hobbes, after consulting with Gretta, formulates a plan to end Azazel. He escapes to the lakeside cabin where he originally found Azazel’s name and draws the demon to him. Stanton and Jonesy show up, to talk to Hobbes. Jonesy, possessed by Azazel, kills Stanton and pursues Hobbes into the cabin. After ambushing the demon, Hobbes shoots Jonesy in the stomach. Azazel takes possession of Hobbes’ body and learns that Hobbes has poisoned himself. He frantically searches the remote wilderness for another host, but succumbs to the poison and dies. Azazel, in a voiceover, reminds the viewer this is the story of how he almost died. A cat, who becomes possessed by Azazel, emerges from underneath the cabin.

Fallen is a dark supernatural thriller that is definitely worth watching. The plot is very clever, beautifully constructed and acted, with a superbly thought-provoking ending. Denzel Washington does a really good job as the homicide detective Hobbes being chased by the fallen angel, Azazel. Excellent support is provided by John Goodman as his partner. The film is genuinely creepy in places and Azazel’s transference from person to person produces some really good scenes. Overall, this movie was excellent, thanks to the superb acting from all the cast, and the great direction of the film.