Thriller

Joel Coen & Ethan Coen – Blood Simple. (1984)

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Quote:
If a little pearl-handled .38 goes off in the middle of the night and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Blood Simple invites such sardonic musings from the viewer. This is a film compelled by minutia, but housed within big questions encircling philosophy and geopolitics. An opening voiceover on the difference between Russia and Texas introduces audiences to Visser (M. Emmet Walsh), a private investigator fitted with a zippo and cowboy hat. He’s a sloth who’s also a sleuth, hired by Marty (Dan Hedeya), a barkeep who wants to know the man that his wife, Abby (Frances McDormand), has “been sluicing.” Across the desk from Marty, Visser tells him it’s Ray (John Getz), one of Marty’s defective employees. Marty tells him that, in Greece, they would cut off the head of a messenger bringing bad news just to make themselves feel better. Visser, more amused than frightened, retorts: “Give me a call whenever you want to cut off my head. I can always crawl around without it.” One wonders: Does that make Visser a chicken or a snake? Read More »

Sebastian Schipper – Victoria (2015)

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Quote:
Victoria, a young woman from Madrid, meets four local Berliners outside a nightclub. Sonne and his friends promise to show her a good time and the real side of the city. But these lads have gotten themselves into hot water: they owe someone a dangerous favor that requires repaying that evening. As Victoria’s flirtation with Sonne deepens into something more, he convinces her to come along for the ride. And later, when things become more ominous and possibly lethally dangerous for Sonne, she insists on coming along. As the night takes on an ever more menacing character, what started out as a good time, quickly spirals out of control. As dawn approaches, Victoria and Sonne address the inevitable: it’s all or nothing and they abandon themselves to a heart-stopping race into the depths of hell. Read More »

Fred Zinnemann – The Day of the Jackal (1973)

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Plot from Allmovie.com:
In this involving political thriller, a secret French paramilitary organization plans to assassinate French President Charles De Gaulle (Adrien Cayla-Legrand) because of their disagreement with his policies during the Algerian War. They hire a professional killer, known only as “The Jackal” (Edward Fox). The police learn of the plot from an informer, and police investigator Lebel (Michel Lonsdale) cleverly pieces together the clues to the Jackal’s identity. The complicated plot uses parallel editing to cross-cut between the details of the Jackal’s preparations for the assassination and Lebel’s efforts to find him before it is too late. Fred Zinnemann presents the story, faithfully adapted from the book by Frederick Forsyth, with precise, dramatic flair. Edward Fox is coldly alluring as the Jackal. Well acted and directed, Day of the Jackal is a tense and engrossing political thriller with a surprising ending. Read More »

Branko Schmidt – Ljudozder vegetarijanac (2012)

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Danko Babic is an ambitious and amoral gynaecologist at Croatia’s leading fertility clinic. When his colleague Bantic is appointed as head of the clinic, Babic starts a secret war to overthrow his rival. Distracted by his ruthless campaign he makes series of fatal mistakes that result in the death of a patient. A crooked coroner and a corrupt police officer cover up his misdeeds, while Babic grows increasingly dependent on drugs and alcohol. He begins performing illegal abortions on prostitutes who work for Jedinko, a gangster who controls the local drug and sex trade. When a prostitute dies following a botched abortion, the police become suspicious but Babic’s dodgy contacts save him once again by destroying evidence. He forges test results to discredit his hated rival Bantic; and replaces him as chief of staff at the clinic. Now that he finally has what he wants, our protagonist wants to cut his ties with the criminal underworld. But his ‘friends’ ask him for one more favour: an abortion for a woman who is heavily pregnant… Read More »

Umit Unal – Ses AKA The Voice (2010)

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Derya (Selma Ergeç) works in a bank’s call center to support her elderly mother. One day her life is suddenly turned upside down as she begins to hear a strange voice whispering to her. The source of the voice is a mystery and it tells her things and facts noone else would know. Read More »

John Irvin – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979)

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Complete 7-part, 290-minute BBC miniseries plus BBC interview – John Le Carre – The Secret Centre

Complex but compelling, this miniseries is based upon one of John Le Carré’s greatest works and serves as a grand summing-up for the late Sir Alec Guinness, one of Britain’s greatest actors. Guinness literally is Smiley: Le Carré said that Guinness served as a template for the character’s cunning and mournful rectitude. In anyone else’s hands, Smiley might have seemed a blank and lifeless character, but Guinness’ matchless ability to play within a scene while seeming to think well beyond it is magnetic. Guinness was the great everyman and underplayer of the generation that gave us such great British Shakespearean actors as Olivier, Richardson, and Gielgud. He’s helped, too, by sharp dialogue lifted almost word-for-word from the book and terrific supporting performances (particularly an entirely silent but amazingly communicative Patrick Stewart, who has a cameo as Karla), which almost entirely obscure the fact that the miniseries largely consists of people sitting in rooms talking. It’s a literate treat that brings to life the gray morality and conflicting loyalties of the Cold War. Be advised: viewers can get lost in the intricate plot if they don’t pay close attention.
— Nick Sambides, Jr. Read More »

Claude Sautet – Max et les ferrailleurs aka Max and the Junkmen (1971)

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An ex-magistrate (Michel Piccoli) intent on justice joins the police force, then sets up a prostitute (Romy Schneider) and her small-time criminal boyfriend (Bernard Fresson). Read More »