REVIEW: WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT

CAST

Tina Fey (Mean Girls)
Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)
Martin Freeman (Black Panther)
Christopher Abbott (A Most Violent Year)
Billy Bob Thornton (Bad Santa)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Sheila Vand (Argo)
Nicholas Braun (The Watch)
Steve Peacocke (Home and Away)
Evan Jonigkeit (Tallulah)
Scott Takeda (Gone Girl)
Josh Charles (The Good Wife)
Cherry Jones (The BEaver)
Sterling K. Brown (THe Predator)
Thomas Kretschmann (King Kong)

Tina Fey, Nicholas Braun, and Christopher Abbott in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)In 2003 New York City, dissatisfied with the state of her career covering low-profile stories, television journalist Kim Baker (Tina Fey) agrees to take a short assignment as a war correspondent in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, to the disappointment of her boyfriend Chris (Josh Charles), who also spends a lot of time traveling. Assigned low-budget living quarters with other international journalists, she begins friendships with noted BBC correspondent Tanya Vanderpoel (Margot Robbie) and lecherous Scottish freelance photographer Iain MacKelpie (Martin Freeman). After a period of adjustment aided by her Afghan “fixer” Fahim Ahmadzai (Christopher Abbott), she begins taking well to the assignment, eliciting frank remarks on camera from soldiers questioning the value of their assignment there, and putting herself in harm’s way to capture combat incidents on video. American Marine commander General (previously Colonel) Hollanek (Billy Bob Thornton) takes a dim view of her as an inexperienced nuisance.Tina Fey and Margot Robbie in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)Despite the danger, Kim stays in Afghanistan for months, then years beyond her original assignment. She catches Chris unprepared with a middle-of-the-night video call, and finds him with another woman, ending their relationship. Against her better judgment, she begins a sexual relationship with Iain, which over time also develops into a more personal one. Although her status as a woman presents challenges in an Afghan Islamic society which places restrictive roles on women, she also uses it to her advantage, gaining access to women in a village who explain that they’ve been sabotaging the US-built well because they welcome the daily walk to the river away from the men, and recklessly, carrying a camera under a burqa to record a religious demonstration. She also walks a tightrope, taking advantage of the thinly-veiled sexual interest of Afghan Attorney General Ali Massoud Sadiq (Alfred Molina) to use him as a source. Fahim – who treated opium addicts before the war – cautions her, pointing out that danger can be like a drug.Margot Robbie in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)Despite their mutual friendliness, Kim remains in competition with other journalists for stories and for resources from their employers back home. After three years in Afghanistan, Kim flies to New York to argue for more support from her network’s new boss, only to discover that Tanya is slated to take over from her. Meanwhile, Iain is kidnapped for ransom while traveling cross-country to cover a developing story that Iain had earlier offered to bring Kim in on. Kim returns “home” to Afghanistan, where she blackmails her “special friend”, Ali, for information about Iain’s whereabouts, and impresses upon Hollanek the political value to him of rescuing Iain. The mission – accompanied by Kim’s cameraman – is a success, both militarily and journalistically. However, shortly after Iain’s rescue Kim becomes disillusioned with both her tentative relationship and her station. She then bids farewell to her colleagues and to Fahim, and returns to the U.S. to stay.Tina Fey in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)After returning, she looks up a Marine (Evan Jonigkeit) who was transferred, apparently because of his on-camera comments to her, and subsequently lost both of his legs to an IED. She tries to apologize for the consequences of her actions, but he refuses to let her take the blame. She moves on to an on-camera desk job, where she later finds herself interviewing Iain, who is going to be in New York soon as part of a tour for his new book, and who invites her to meet him for coffee.Tina Fey and Margot Robbie in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)This movie is much, much more than a simple rom-com or military comedy, it is a Comedy/Drama that brings quite a bit of heart to it. I would strongly encourage you to seek this one out, you’ll be glad you did.

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REVIEW: J.EDGAR

CAST

Leonardo DiCaprio (Catch Me If You Can)
Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger)
Naomi Watts (Shut In)
Josh Lucas (Hulk)
Dermot Mulroney (The Rambler)
Judi Dench (Murder On The Orient Express)
Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice)
Damon Herriman (Flesh and Bone)
Ed Westwick (S.Darko)
Zach Grenier (Fight Club)
Ken Howard (Joy)
Stephen Root (Office Space)
Denis O’Hare (Milk)
Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
Lea Thompson (Howard The Duck)
Geoff Pierson (That 80s Show)
Christopher Shyer (Along Came A Spider)
Miles Fisher (Final Destination 5)
Jessica Hecht (Sideways)
Michael O’Neill (Transformers)
Christian Clemenson (Apollo 13)
Geoff Stults (The Finder)
Emily Alyn Lind (Revenge)
Amanda Schull (I Am Wrath)
Sadie Calvano (Mom)
Ryan McPartlin (Chuck)
Austin Basis (Beauty and The Beast)

Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar (2011)In 1919, after anarchists attempt to assassinate Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, he puts his protegé J. Edgar Hoover in charge of a new division dedicated to purging radicals. Hoover quickly begins compiling a list of suspects. He meets Helen Gandy, a new secretary at the Justice Department, and takes her to the Library of Congress to show her the card catalog system he devised. He makes an awkward pass at her, then proposes to her. She refuses him, but agrees to become his personal secretary.Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer in J. Edgar (2011)Hoover finds that the Department of Labor refuses to deport anyone without evidence of a crime. Learning that Anthony Caminetti, the Commissioner General of Immigration, dislikes the anarchist Emma Goldman, Hoover arranges to make her eligible for deportation and thereby creates a precedent of deportation for radical conspiracy. Following several such Justice Department raids of suspected radical groups, Palmer loses his job as Attorney General. His successor, Harlan F. Stone, appoints Hoover as director of the Justice Department’s new Bureau of Investigation. Hoover meets lawyer Clyde Tolson, and hires him.Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, and Armie Hammer in J. Edgar (2011)When the Lindbergh kidnapping captures national attention, President Herbert Hoover asks the Bureau to investigate. Hoover employs several novel techniques, including the monitoring of registration numbers on ransom bills and expert analysis of the kidnapper’s handwriting. When the monitored bills begin showing up in New York City, the investigators find a filling station attendant who wrote down the license plate number of the man who gave him the bill. This leads to the arrest, and eventual conviction, of Bruno Richard Hauptmann for the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh child.Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer in J. Edgar (2011)After Hoover, Tolson, and Hoover’s mother (with whom Hoover still lives) see the James Cagney film G Men, Hoover and Tolson go out to a club, where Hoover is seated with Anita Colby, Ginger Rogers, and Rogers’ mother Lela. Rogers’ mother asks Hoover to dance and he becomes agitated, saying that he and Tolson must leave, as they have a lot of work to do in the morning. When he gets home, he tells his mother that he dislikes dancing with girls. She tells him she would rather he be dead than a “daffodil”. She insists on teaching him to dance, and they dance in her bedroom.Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar (2011)Hoover and Tolson go on a vacation to the horse races. That evening, Hoover tells Tolson that he cares deeply for him, and Tolson tells Hoover that he loves him. Hoover panics and claims that he wants to marry Dorothy Lamour. Tolson accuses Hoover of making a fool out of him and they end up fighting on the floor. Tolson suddenly kisses Hoover, who says that must never happen again; Tolson says that it won’t, and tries to leave. Hoover apologizes and begs him to stay, but Tolson threatens to end their friendship if Hoover talks about another woman again. After Tolson leaves, Hoover says that he loves him, too. Years later, Hoover feels his strength begin to decline, while Tolson suffers a stroke. Hoover tries to blackmail Martin Luther King, Jr. into declining his Nobel Peace Prize, sending him a letter threatening to expose his extramarital affairs. King disregards this and accepts the prize.Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar (2011)Hoover tells Gandy to destroy his secret files after his death in order to prevent President Richard Nixon from possessing them. He visits Tolson, who urges him to retire. Hoover refuses, claiming that Nixon is going to destroy the bureau he has created. Tolson accuses Hoover of having exaggerated his involvement with key events of the Bureau. Moments later, Hoover tells Tolson that he needed Tolson more than he ever needed anyone else. He holds Tolson’s hand, kisses his forehead, and leaves. Hoover returns home from work, obviously weakened. Shortly after Hoover goes upstairs, his housekeeper calls Tolson, who goes to the house and finds Hoover dead next to his bed. A grief-stricken Tolson covers his friend’s body. Nixon gives a memorial speech on television for Hoover, while several members of his staff enter Hoover’s office and search through the cabinets and drawers in search of his rumored “confidential” files, but find nothing. In the last scene, Gandy destroys stacks of files.Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar (2011)This film had the potential to become a masterpiece, but fell short of my expectations mainly due to the uneven script. While far from being one of his best, it is nevertheless a welcome addition to Eastwood’s portfolio.

REVIEW: KILL THE MESSENGER

CAST

Jeremy Renner (TThe Avengers)
Rosemarie DeWitt (Poltergeist)
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
Tim BLake Nelson (The Incredible Hulk)
Barry Pepper (The Lone Ranger)
Michael K. Williams (12 Years A Slave)
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (The Thing)
Paz Vega (The Spirit)
Oliver Platt (Dr. Dolittle)
Michael Sheen (Passengers)
Richard Schiff (I Am Sam)
Andy García (Ocean’s Eleven)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)

Jeremy Renner in Kill the Messenger (2014)Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb, the film takes place in the mid-1990s. Webb uncovered the CIA’s alleged role in importing cocaine into the U.S. to secretly fund the anti-Communist Nicaraguan rebels called “Contras” via the manufacture and sale of crack. Despite enormous pressure to stay away, Webb chose to pursue the story and went public with his evidence, publishing the series called “Dark Alliance”. He then experienced a vicious smear campaign fueled by the CIA, during which he found himself defending his integrity, his family, and his life.Jeremy Renner and Paz Vega in Kill the Messenger (2014)With its commendable technical aspects and the important subject it deals with, Kill The Messenger is definitely a film worth seeing. Jeremy Renner and the director together bring a lot to the film, and while it’s not entirely superb, it gives a good two hours of entertainment that means something, especially today.

REVIEW: RUSH

CAST

Chris Hemworth (Thor)
Daniel Bruhl (Captain America: Civil War)
Olivia Wilde (Cowboys & Aliens)
Alexandra Maria Lara (Geostorm)
Lucas Hedges (Lady Bird)
Pierfrancesco Favino (World War Z)
David Calder (The Lady In The Van)
Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones)
Stephen Mangan (Postman Pat: The Movie)
Christian McKay (The Theory of Everything)
Alistair Petrie (Vendetta)
Susan Walters (The Vampire Diaries)
Colin Stinton (The Hours)
Julian Rhind-Tutt (Lucy)
Joséphine de La Baume (Madame)
Tom Wlaschiha (Resistance)
Cristian Solimeno (Highlander: The Source)
Yul Vazquez (Captain Phillips)
Robert Pralgo (The Vampire Diaries)
Gil Bellows (Sanctuary)

Chris Hemsworth in Rush (2013)James Hunt and Niki Lauda are two highly skilled racing car drivers who first develop a fierce rivalry in 1970 at a Formula Three race at the Crystal Palace circuit in Britain, when both their cars spin out and Hunt eventually wins the race. Hunt is a brash, young Englishman with a tendency to vomit before every race, while Lauda is a cool, calculating Austrian technical genius who relies on precision. After a falling out with his father, Lauda takes a large bank loan and buys his way into the British Racing Motors Formula One team, meeting teammate Clay Regazzoni for the first time. Meanwhile, Hesketh Racing, the fledgling racing team Hunt drives for, enters Formula One as well. Lauda then joins Scuderia Ferrari with Regazzoni and wins his first championship in 1975. Hesketh closes shop after failing to secure a sponsor, but Hunt joins McLaren when Emerson Fittipaldi leaves the team. During this time, Hunt marries supermodel Suzy Miller, while Lauda develops a relationship with German socialite Marlene Knaus.Daniel Brühl and Chris Hemsworth in Rush (2013)The 1976 Formula One season starts with Lauda dominating the first two races while Hunt struggles to catch up. Hunt wins the Spanish Grand Prix, but is disqualified after a post-race inspection rules that his car is too wide. Struggling to comply with F1 rules, McLaren suffers a series of setbacks on the next few races, and Hunt’s situation is further exacerbated when Suzy is discovered to have a relationship with actor Richard Burton. Following his divorce, he regains his competitive spirit and his disqualification in Spain is overturned, which reinstates the points he lost and puts him back into championship contention. Meanwhile, Lauda marries Marlene in a private ceremony but begins to have concerns about the effects of his marriage on his racing career.Daniel Brühl and Chris Hemsworth in Rush (2013)At the German Grand Prix, Lauda urges the F1 committee to cancel the race due to heavy rain on the already notoriously dangerous Nürburgring. At the drivers’ meeting, Hunt argues that Lauda would benefit by having one fewer race in the season. The drivers vote to go ahead with the race. Both Hunt and Lauda start the race with wet weather tyres, which becomes a costly tactic due to most of the track quickly drying up. They both pit to change tyres during the second lap, but halfway through the third lap, a suspension arm in Lauda’s Ferrari breaks, sending the car flying into an embankment before it bursts into flames and is further hit by other cars on the track. After being pulled out of the flaming wreckage, he is airlifted to the hospital with third-degree burns to his head and face and dangerous internal burns to his lungs. For the next six weeks, Lauda is treated for his injuries while he watches his rival dominate the races in his absence. Despite his doctor’s orders, he decides to drive his Ferrari at the Italian Grand Prix to finish fourth while Hunt fails to finish the race.Chris Hemsworth and Olivia Wilde in Rush (2013)The 1976 season comes to a climax at the rain-soaked Japanese Grand Prix. Hunt’s late rally in Lauda’s absence has pulled him within three points of Lauda. At the end of the second lap, Lauda returns to the pits and retires from the race as he thought it was too dangerous, opting to stay with Marlene instead of risking his life again on the track. This opens the door for Hunt to win the championship if he can notch a podium finish (third or better). After facing stiff competition under gruelling conditions and overcoming tyre problems and injuring his hand due to the gear shifter knob breaking, Hunt finishes third, giving him enough points to win the championship by one point over Lauda. He spends the rest of the year with fame, sex and drugs, while Lauda takes an interest in flying private planes. At a private airfield in Bologna, Lauda suggests to Hunt that he focus on the next racing season, but later on realises that Hunt no longer has anything to prove. Hunt continues to race until his retirement in 1979, and becomes a motorsport broadcast commentator until his death in 1993 at the age of 45.Chris Hemsworth in Rush (2013)With the lead actors clearly committed to giving their best performances yet and a tastefully handled script, Ron Howard delivers a visually impressive account of events that may well become one of his most respected directorial efforts yet.

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.

REVIEW: THE GRANDMASTER

48.2

CAST

Tony Leung Chiu-wai (Red Cliff)
Zhang Ziyi (House of Flying Daggers)
Song Hye-kyo (Countdown)
Chang Chen (Parking)
Zhao Benshan (Getting Home)
Zhang Jin (IP Man 3)

Chen Chang in Yi dai zong shi (2013)The film narrates the life of the Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man, beginning in the 1930s in Foshan and moving on to cover his flight to Hong Kong after the Second Sino-Japanese War, and the events leading up to his death. The movie begins with Ip Man reflecting on martial arts, and then cuts to a scene of a fight under the rain between Ip and a dozen combatants. Ip Man wins, and experiences flashbacks of his life, from his early training at the age of seven to his induction into martial arts by his master Chan Wah-shun, and his marriage to his wife Cheung Wing-sing.Tony Chiu-Wai Leung and Ziyi Zhang in Yi dai zong shi (2013)Ip Man’s peaceful existence is threatened by the arrival of Gong Yutian, the Wudang Boxing martial arts grandmaster from northern China, who announces that he has already retired and has appointed Ma San as his heir in the North. He then concedes that the South should have its own heir. A flurry of discussions and fights erupt as various masters attempt to challenge Gong, but they are all barred by Ma San. As the Southern masters are deliberating on a representative, Gong Yutian’s daughter Gong Er arrives and she tries to convince her father not to continue the fight, as she feels they are all unworthy. Meanwhile, the Southern masters decide on Ip Man to represent them, and Ip proceeds to be tested by three Southern masters before he challenges Gong Yutian. However, the “fight” between Ip and Gong turns out to be actually an exchange of philosophical ideas. Gong declares Ip the winner and returns to northern China. However, Gong Er sets out to regain her family’s honour by challenging Ip Man, and they agree that if anything breaks, Ip loses. “Kung Fu is about precision”, so whoever breaks a piece of furniture during the fight will be the loser. An intense fight breaks out between Ip Man and Gong Er, which concludes with victory for Gong because Ip broke a step at the very end (albeit while ‘saving Gong from falling’). Ip and Gong then part on friendly terms, with Ip saying he wants a rematch.Tony Chiu-Wai Leung in Yi dai zong shi (2013)Ip Man and Gong Er keep in contact after parting ways by exchanging letters, and Ip intends to bring his family with him to northern China, but his plans are disrupted by the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937. During the war, Ip Man and his family descend into poverty and he loses his two daughters due to starvation. In the meantime, in northern China, Ma San becomes a hanjian and ends up killing Gong Yutian. When Gong Er returns, she confronts her elders for forsaking her father but they tell her that her father’s final wish was for her to be happy and not to seek vengeance. Gong Er refuses to accept that, instead, she vows to never teach, marry or have children, and devotes her entire life for vengeance.Ziyi Zhang in Yi dai zong shi (2013)Ip Man moves to Hong Kong in the hope of starting a career as a martial arts teacher, but ends up facing all sorts of challenges because there were also numerous other martial arts masters. He defeats them soundly and earns a reputation. He meets Gong Er again on Chinese New Year’s Eve 1950 and asks her for a contest one more time while implying that she should start rebuilding her martial art school. But Gong Er refuses, stating that many martial arts disappeared in the course of history; and that hers would not be the only one. A flashback 10 years earlier shows a confrontation between Gong Er and Ma San at a train station on Chinese New Year’s Eve 1940, and Gong defeats Ma after a brutal and intense fight. However, Gong herself is heavily injured and loses her desire to use martial art.Chen Chang in Yi dai zong shi (2013)The film then fast-forwards to 1952, when Ip Man and Gong Er meet each other for the last time. Gong confesses to Ip that she has had romantic feelings for him right from the beginning. She dies shortly after. Ip explains in a voice over that in the fight with Ma San, Gong was injured so badly she turned to opium for the pain and this was her downfall. The final scenes offer a visual montage as Ip Man’s school flourishes, including a statement that Ip made Wing Chun popular worldwide and his most famous student was Bruce Lee. Off screen, it is stated that Ip Man died in 1972.The cinematography is sublime, each shot dazzles us with its perfection.The way Phillipe le Sourd photographs portraits is interesting, using very shallow focus with most of the screen dark.This builds a special intimacy with the characters and serves as a window into their noble souls.The background music is another Wong trademark and in this film too it amplifies and underscores the action with great sophistication. Shigeru Umebayashi is in good form here but he does not have the opportunities of In the Mood for Love kind of grandstanding.The Grandmaster is a film for every lover of cinema, not just for martial arts aficionados, and its a great way to discover the work of a Grandmaster of cinema who inspired the likes of Tarantino.Every artist is also a philosopher and so are Wong and Ip Man.

REVIEW: LEGEND (2015)

CAST

Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Emily Browning (Sleeping Beauty)
Christopher Eccleston (Thor: The Dark World)
David Thewlis (Wonder Woman)
Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Golden Circle)
Chazz Palminteri (The Dukes)
Paul Bettany (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Colin Morgan (Humans)
Tara Fitzgerald (Exodus: Gods and Kings)

Tom Hardy in Legend (2015)In the 1960s, Reggie Kray is a former boxer who has become an important part of the criminal underground in London. At the start of the film, his twin brother Ron is locked up in a psychiatric hospital for insanity and paranoid schizophrenia. Reggie uses threats to obtain the premature release of his brother, who is rapidly discharged from hospital. The two brothers unite their efforts to control a large part of London’s criminal underworld. One of their first efforts is to muscle-in on the control of a local night club, using extortion and brutal violence.Emily Browning and Tom Hardy in Legend (2015)Reggie enters into a relationship with Frances, the sister of his driver, and they ultimately marry; however, he is imprisoned for a previous criminal conviction, which he cannot evade. While Reggie is in prison, Ron’s mental problems and violence lead to severe setbacks at the nightclub. The club is almost forced to close after Ron scares away most of the customers. When Reggie is finally released from prison, the two brothers have an all-out fist fight on the first night after Reggie’s release, but they manage to partially patch things up.Tom Hardy in Legend (2015)The brothers are approached by Angelo Bruno of the Philadelphia crime family on behalf of Meyer Lansky and the American Mafia, to try to interest them in a crime syndicate deal. Bruno agrees to a fifty-fifty deal with Reggie to split London’s underground gambling profits in exchange for local protection from the Kray brothers. Initially, this system is highly lucrative for the Kray brothers. However, Ron barely concealed volatility results in him publicly murdering George Cornell, an associate of the Torture Gang, rivals of the Krays. Scotland Yard, as a result, opens a full investigation of the Kray brothers.Tom Hardy in Legend (2015)Reggie beats and rapes Frances and she leaves him. Reggie then approaches her to start afresh offering her a holiday to Ibiza. However, she is soon found dead after committing suicide with an overdose of prescription drugs. The brothers’ criminal activities continue and Ron pays petty criminal, Jack McVitie to kill Leslie Payne, Reggie’s partner who controls the legal side of the Kray’s operations. He only wounds Payne, who then turns the brothers over to Detective Superintendent Leonard “Nipper” Read, the head of the investigation. Reggie finds out and brutally stabs McVitie during a party hosted by Ron. The testimony given by Payne means that Ron is arrested and charged with Cornell’s murder. The final scene shows a police squad breaking down the door to Reggie’s flat in order to apprehend him for McVitie’s murder. The closing captions indicate both brothers receiving criminal convictions for murder. They died five years apart, Ron from a heart attack in 1995, and Reggie from cancer in 2000.With Tom Hardy’s already established terrific acting skills, Legend becomes something more then a typical gangster crime film. It feels invested into making the viewer content with its two hour runtime, whilst always respecting.