Pete S. Kirkpatrick's Film Site

Reviewing mostly Films, as well as some Silent Films, Short Films, Student Films, Youtube Films and Vimeo Films. Writing Articles and Lists, doing Marathons, analysing Trailers and Posters. Expressing my thoughts and opinions.

Dabangg (2010, Dir. Abhinav Singh Kashyap)

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Hindi language Bollywood film Dabangg follows Chulbul Pandey (Salman Khan), a corrupt Police Officer, yet one with a great reputation, particularly for bringing criminals to justice. However, Chulbul refuses to work for corrupt politician Chedi Singh (Sonu Sood), who in turns makes it his goal to have Chulbul killed, and sends a number of his men after him. And Chulbul has to balance all of this with his blossoming romance with Rajo (Sonakshi Singh).

Where Dabangg in many ways is one of the more clever films of 2010 is in the fact that it unashamedly revels in postmodernism. A large part of the film is at its core a satirical parody of the Hollywood action genre, with visual recreations of moments from a number of action films, including a shot for shot recreation of one of the most iconic sequences in The Matrix (1999), and even visual reference to action film parody Hot Fuzz (2007). The cinematography is undeniably excellent, with effective tracking shots and intense close ups. The editing is also well done, with the action sequences made that bit more thrilling by clever use of slow motion and jump cuts as well.

The film also takes pleasure in playing to the stereotype of Bollywood films. It is bright, it is colourful, filmed on location, finding joy in what a beautiful country India is. Where it most revels in the stereotype of Bollywood cinema is by breaking into musical numbers. While the lyrics of the songs, particularly considering their translation into English, lack creativity, they are none the less catchy, and the dance routines are very well choreographed, the extras in sync with the film’s stars.

The major issue with the film, however, does come down to screenplay. The issue is that director Abhinav Singh Kashyap is doing all he can to balance three genres in a film that is barely two hours in length. The film jumps from action genre, to romance genre, to a musical, and fails to get the balance right. We jump from one genre to the other with little connection, random bursts into song that do not correlate that obviously with the action sequences that happened only one scene earlier. While there is good chemistry between Salman Khan and Sonakshi Sinha, the romance between Chulbul and Rajo is quite fast moving and underdeveloped, with a prevailing sense of shallowness that comes from the fact that so much of the romance from Chulbul’s end originates from a place of lust.

The film has undeniable flaws, not least Chulbul. As the film goes on we are never certain whether we should find this protagonist one whom we engage with and, for use of a cliché, like. The film glorifies corruption and violence, as Chulbul gets money and fame for what he does, which is not a strong basis for a protagonist. However, as the film progresses we see the emotional impact and vulnerability his childhood gave him, and as the second half of the film goes on he becomes far more noble.

Regardless of its obvious flaws though, Dabangg is a very enjoyable piece of contemporary Bollywood cinema, with clever use of postmodernism, very fun action sequences and a solid lead in the form of Khan. It may not be great cinema, but it is most certainly worth a viewing, particularly for people who know their action films.

300: Rise of an Empire (2014, Dir. Noam Murro)

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As opposed to a sequel to 300 (2006), this film provides a companion piece. At the same time as King Leonidas is leading 300 Spartans against the Persians, General Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) rallies Grecian forces together against the Persian Navy, led by the ruthless Artimesia (Eva Green). Blood and tears are shed, as the Persians and Grecians are unrelenting in their battle against each other, while Artimesia seeks to slay Themistocles herself after he killed her guardian Darius I (Yigal Naor).

Over seven years ago Zack Snyder released the bloodbath film of 2006, which came to be seen as the ultimate comic book film of 2006, alongside V for Vendetta. Seven and a quarter years is a notably long gap between films, particularly if the events of the second film are meant to be running alongside the events of the first. Fortunately a good make up team worked with the few returning cast members of the original film and resultantly they look as though they have scarcely aged a day.

With the news of Leonidas’s death reaching Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) at around the two-thirds mark in the film, much of what became iconic about the first film is not here. The most quoted line of300 – “This is Sparta” nonetheless remains, as Gorgo murmurs it once in her declaration of vengeance on the Persians. What is ironic about this though is the fact that that one line is the only moment of self-control displayed in a film that goes very over the top from start to end. The first film saw copious amounts of blood, much in the way of big scale action sequences, and a small amount of scenes involving sex and nudity. This film features more of all of those things than there was in300.

Visually the film is very good. The CGI may be in ladled on a little too thickly, but the end result is bold, bright and rich in colour. Director Noam Murro, however, tries way too hard to make the fight sequences almost exact recreations of the fight sequences that Snyder directed the better part of a decade ago. Fluctuating from slow motion to fast tracking unashamedly, while effective at times, Murro’s vision and direction lacks coherency, as well as creativity. While the battle sequences are intense, and the colours of the blood vivid and in your face, which successfully draws the viewer into the action, this feels too much as if Snyder’s vision as he stood on that set eight years ago has been mimicked to the letter.

Where the film struggles most, however, comes down to the screenplay, comes down to the fact that the screenplay is overflowing with ideas. Although this is not necessarily a bad thing, trying to cram the number of ideas that there are into a running time of approximately one hour and forty minutes (end credits included) is a bad idea. Among the concepts that are crammed into the screenplay are attempts to give Artimesia and King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) back stories. While clear and the events that led them to where they are today are established, both back stories feel as if they need to be fleshed out more, with more close psychological analyses done for the characters, as opposed to stories being told about their pasts in as few minutes as possible.

The other concept that ends up feeling out of place is the relationship between a father and son who go to war with Themistocles – Scyllus (Calvan Murray) and his son Calisto (Jack O’Connell). At the heart of it are two stories of nobility, as Scyllus does not want Calisto to go to war, a realistic depiction indeed of a father’s protective instincts. Calisto, however, goes to war out of a desire to fight for his people and bring honour to his family. The bond between the two characters fails to be fleshed out to its full potential as they are given very little screen time together outside of battle, but in one of the most heart wrenching scenes of the film we are shown just how close they are, and Murray and O’Connell create an excellent on screen bond. It is simply a shame that there is only one sequence in which this concept is effective and engaging.

Where the principal cast members are concerned the film has quite an interesting dynamic without Gerard Butler as a main cast member. In the battle scenes Stapleton brings easily as much raw determination and ferocity to the screen as Butler did, making Themistocles a warrior who really draws the viewer in and carries those scenes. However, in scenes where Themistocles is sitting in conversation with other characters Stapleton is far more dreary and unengaging. Green, however, is a terrific addition to the cast from start to finish, filling her performance with fiery passion, making Artimesia a cold, sadistic antagonist, who steals her scenes and captivates the viewer. The dynamic between Stapleton and Green on screen is an interesting one, as they battle with equal passion, their determination as individuals coming together almost as a clash of two titans. However, a sequence which sees Themistocles and Artimesia give in to lust and passion proves to be a very awkward, rather wooden sex scene indeed to say the least.

Ultimately the film ends up being far too much a retread of the original, and while the battle sequences, particularly the final one, are engaging and visually very well created, they lack originality and cleverness, with some of them proving to be quite rushed and anticlimactic. A lesser cast than the original, which was made as good as it was by the very dynamic Butler, Eva Green nonetheless gives a stand out performance, which captivates the viewers, who are drawn in by the passion she brings to Themistocles. It is not too difficult to summarise the film though – a blood bath and wall to wall eye candy. 300 will always be the one to choose primarily of the two, as it was something much more original to come to screen, whereas this more convoluted film is little more than a repeat of what has been before.

The Lego Movie (2014, Dirs. Phil Lord/Chris Miller)

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I remember when I first heard that The Lego Movie had been announced, nearly two years ago now, I had two initial assumptions come to the forefront of my mind. The first was that it could be a good chance for the team at Warner Bros. to play with stop-motion animation. The second was that the film would not work, as Lego is great for toys and not too bad for video games, but an entire film about Lego would just fail. I was wrong in both assumptions.

The film centres on Emmet (Chris Pratt), a chirpy construction worker for whom life is simply “awesome”. However, a group of rebel Master Builders led by blind seer Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) choose him to take down corrupt dictator Lord Business (Will Ferrell), who plans to keep the Lego population exactly as he wants them to be. Emmet, however, is very much in over his head, particularly when Lord Business’s army kidnap almost the entire council of Master Builders. Along with Vitruvius, fighter Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett), ’80s astronaut Benny (Charlie Day), pirate-robot Metal Beard (Nick Offerman) and unicorn-anime kitty hybird Uni-Kitty (Alison Brie), it is a race against time to stop Lord Business.

The Lego Movie above all else is a very good example of a family film, as it very much gets the balance right between fun adventure for younger audience members and sophisticated humour, with homage to generations’ worth of Lego references that us adults can and will appreciate. The film’s humour ranges from the kind of silly humour that keeps kids entertained, such as jokes about how silly humans are where clothes are concerned, and where forgetting to put your trousers on is concerned, to the big scale tongue in cheek slapstick found in the Lego video games. The slapstick brings some excellent comic relief in particular to some huge scale chase sequences, that are terrifically edited and quite a homage to the action-fuelled chase sequences of many years’ worth of Lego merchandising.

Lifelong fans of everything Lego will also be made happy by the number of Lego cameos in The Lego Movie. Abraham Lincoln, Shakespeare and the Statue of Liberty all appear in Lego form; Gandalf, Dumbledore and a number of Star Wars Lego minifigure characters have cameo appearances in reference to the games; and even Robin Hood and Milhouse from The Simpsons have brief cameos. Think child in a sweet shop, that is how I felt inwardly while watching the film. All of this Lego universe is brought to glorious detail and texture by some outstanding animation that is rich in vibrancy and character, bringing such a strong sense of authenticity to the Lego world.

Where the film becomes even more clever is that unlike every Lego short film ever made this film is unafraid to distinguish between fantasy and reality, bringing the Lego brick borders crashing down in a wonderfully inspired moment of self-awareness. Here Ferrell gives a very memorable performance in his secondary role of The Man Upstairs. It is here also that the message at the very heart of the film comes through most prominently, with that message being that we should each have our own unique attributes and imagination, and should be allowed to freely express that. This scene also serves as a lovely reminder for us adults in the audience that it does not matter that that box of Lego says that the recommended age is 8-13 years, or that Lego video game is aged 7+, you will never truly be too old for Lego.

Other highlights of the film include Freeman and Liam Neeson’s voice performances as Vitruvius and Bad Cop/Good Cop respectively. Freeman has an outstanding voice and I always joke that if I could have one actor voice my internal monologue for the rest of my life it would be him. To Vitruvius he brings a great sense of wisdom and authority through his voice. Neeson does a terrific job with Bad Cop/Good Cop, bringing that firm sense of determination he displayed in Taken (2008) to the Bad Cop side, and alternating it very well with the cheerful Good Cop, a lovely little back and forth not too dissimilar to the two sides of Gollum played so well by Andy Serkis in The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-3).

And of course one will not be able to forget the film’s main song, Everything is Awesome in a hurry. It is cheesy and has quite basic lyrics, but it is a hugely catchy number, and again the animation excels in creating that scene as it is a sequence full of energy where everyone, even the most background of extras, has something to do. I can honestly say that this is the film to go and see this month, regardless of your age. If you are a kid then you will love it, if you are an adult, you will love it. Heck, it is a film full of heart that takes great joy in reminding the adults of the audience that they will never get too old for Lego.

In Memoriam (February 2014)

It has been a busy few weeks, so unfortunately I have neglected this blog quite badly, so my first post in almost a month is a tribute to some of the people of the industry to pass away last month.

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Temple aged 16

Shirley Temple (April 23 1928-February 10 2014)

Shirley Temple was the first major child star, who began acting aged 3 and continued until aged 37. Temple was talented in many areas, not just a good actress, but somebody with dancing and singing abilities too. While she may have given up her acting career in 1965 before beginning a 23 year political career in 1969, Temple remained a Hollywood legend, an icon of child acting for the rest of her life, and will no doubt continue to do so for many years to come. Her ultimate claim to fame is the fact that she was the youngest ever Oscar winner, picking up the now defunct Juvenile Academy Award at aged 6 for her outstanding contributions to child acting in the year 1934.

John Henson (April 25 1965-February 14 2014)

Son of The Muppets creator Jim Henson, John passed away tragically of a heart attack on Valentine’s Day. While quite unknown in Hollywood, he was a puppeteer for several Muppets films and other media productions, bringing the wonderful character Sweetums to screen.

Christopher Malcolm (August 19 1946-February 15 2014)

The name seem unfamiliar, but Malcolm, who died tragically from cancer, was a solid supporting star from Scotland with a number of notable productions under his belt in film, TV and theatre. His most notable film credit is Rogue 2 (Zev Senesca) in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

Malcolm Tierney (February 25 1938-February 19 2014)

English actor Tierney may not be a very familiar name, but you have probably seen him in something. A prolific supporting actor, his film credits included Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), In the Name of the Father (1993) and Braveheart (1994).

HaroldRamisOct2009.jpgHarold Ramis (November 21 1944-February 24 2014)

In a career that spanned over 40 years, Ramis became one of the biggest names to grace Hollywood comedy, and if you’ve not see him on screen before then you really don’t know your comedies that well. An actor, director and writer, his film credits included Caddyshack (1980), National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), Groundhog Day (1993) and Analyze This (1999). The role he will always be best known for is Dr Egon Spencer in the Ghostbusters films (1984-9). Ramis was a man who always took his art seriously, and truly embodied every role he played with subtlety and pleasure in what he was doing. I remember seeing the countless R.I.P. Tweets on the day he died, and it is truly an understatement to say that comedy suffered a loss that day.

Trailers by the Barrel Load

Postman Pat: The Movie (2014)

Being a kid in Britain Postman Pat (1981, 1996, 2004-8) was one of those shows I grew up watching, and my goodness did I enjoy watching it. As a British kid of the 90s it was the kind of show I’d watch alongside Thomas & Friends (1984-6, 1991-8, 2002-) and Fireman Sam (1987-94, 2005-13). Postman Pat got off the air in time as those other classic kids’ stop motion animations got computer animated a few years ago, which robbed them of their charm, like it did for Mickey Mouse. To see that Postman Pat is now going computer animated to a frankly not very good level, and to see an awful looking plot that looks an awful combination of sci-fi, action and reality TV, leaves me thinking that this film will be on a par with the Alvin & the Chipmunks films (2007-) and Horrid Henry (2011).

A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)

Seth MacFarlane is a champion of both postmodernism and satire, and this censored version of the trailer features both. It will likely be hilarious as Ted (2012) was, but will push some boundaries no doubt. I have to say though, I’m just glad to see that some directors are still happy to make Spaghetti Westerns.

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

Just when everyone thought that Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) was the end of it, a year later a fourth film was announced and we all wondered what more could be done. We’d forgotten about the Dinobots. Ridiculous amounts of robots fighting robots, metal grinding metal. Visually it will be a great cinema experience. Other than that I hold little hope for the film, it’s just Michael Bay wanting to put a conservatory on his money mansion.

Need for Speed (2014)

Visually it looks like a terrific film, and one which genuinely captures the grit, adrenaline fuelled mayhem of the game franchise (1994-). However, one has to question though whether a film would have been made were The Fast and the Furious franchise (2001-) not that successful, and to make a film which is so similar in many ways to The Fast and the Furious franchise, despite having a more original, popular source, isn’t the wisest move I’ve ever seen done.

Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

I’ve seen some stupid trailers in my time but this takes the biscuit. A mocking of social media and jokey comments on formulas often found in The Muppets films (1979-), such as the celebrity cameos. Muppets Most Wanted doesn’t excite me that much as it will unlikely reach the standard of The Muppets (2011).

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

This looks like a tense, gritty and hugely exciting follow up to The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), with what look set to be some excellent performances, and the trailer does leave us questioning one thing – will Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) die as she did in the comics?

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Marvel Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) is just over a year away, and this gritty, action-packed blockbuster looks set to be very exciting, and playing a big part in building up the anticipation for the next coming together of the various heroes. I certainly look forward to it.

RoboCop (2014)

RoboCop‘s Super Bowl spot hasn’t made me reconsider my opinion/expectations for the film. I still expect it to be action over narrative, but with some tense, exciting scenes. Give me the original (1987) any day.

Predicted quality order:

  1. A Million Ways to Die in the West
  2. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  4. Need for Speed
  5. RoboCop
  6. Muppets Most Wanted
  7. Transformers: Age of Extinction
  8. Postman Pat: The Movie

But I guess that like with all things we’ll just have to wait and see.

Post 500: My Top 10 films of 2010

To mark post number 500 on this blog I decided to put together the list of my top 10 films from 2010. My reason for choosing 2010 – it was the year I decided I wanted to be a film critic. There are a large number of 2010 films I haven’t seen, but also a large number which I have seen, so here’s my top 10.

10) Shutter Island (Dir. Martin Scorsese)

Scorsese’s fourth film in a row with Leonardo DiCaprio as the lead is a dark, tense piece of cinema that explores mental illness and man’s natural self-denial abilities. DiCaprio gives a terrific performance, and gets solid support from Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley. And the twist towards the end is terrific.

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9) Animal Kingdom (Dir.  David Michôd)

The sole Australian film on the list, Michôd has created a clever crime drama, which explores in good depth family loyalty and the impact of underground crime, with sensitive performances by James Frecheville, Guy Pearce and Jackie Weaver.

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8) 127 Hours (Dir. Danny Boyle)

The first time Boyle has made a biopic, and it proves to be one of his best films to date, the quality surpassing all previous Boyle films bar Trainspotting (1996). Outstanding editing and cinematography, and a performance from James Franco easily on a par with Colin Firth’s multi-award winning turn as King George VI in The King’s Speech (2010), it is a must watch film.

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7) Exit Through the Gift Shop (Dir. Banksy)

No, this was not Banksy’s way of finally unveiling his real identity to the world, rather a relatively anonymous insight into the world of street art. A genius combination of two people’s explorations of the world, two people’s experiences, the second documentary on this list, is a clever insight into the world of street art, highlighting the wonders and problems of it.

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6) Black Swan (Dir. Darren Aronofsky)

Darren Aronofsky’s fourth film is a dark, beautifully detailed look at mental illness. A visual stunner, with beautifully choreographed dance sequences, and an outstanding cast, including Natalie Portman giving the performance of her career.

The poster for the film shows Natalie Portman with white facial makeup, black-winged eye liner around bloodshot red eyes, and a jagged crystal tiara.

5) Senna (Dir. Asif Kapadia)

Kapadia creates an outstanding documentary which gives a sensitive insight into the life and career of the legendary F1 driver Ayrton Senna. From finding out about his humble origins in working class Brazil to the footage of that fatal crash and interviews about the aftermath of it. It brings a tear to the eye and raises a real desire to watch some F1.

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4) Inception (Dir. Christopher Nolan)

A rich, multi-layered screenplay, another outstanding performance by DiCaprio, a solid supporting cast including Tom Hardy, Ken Wanatabe, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Inception is a very clever film which leaves the viewer questioning what’s fact and what’s fiction. Add to this mixture the finest visual effects of the year and you have one outstanding film on your hands.

A man in a suit with a gun in his right hand is flanked by five other individuals in the middle of a street which, behind them, is folded upwards. Leonardo DiCaprio's name and those of other cast members are shown above the words "Your Mind Is the Scene of the Crime". The title of the film "INCEPTION", film credits, and theatrical and IMAX release dates are shown at the bottom.

3) Toy Story 3 (Dir. Lee Unkrich)

For over a decade we who remember seeing Toy Story 2 (1999) in the cinemas waited with baited breath for another Toy Story film to come to the big screen, and my goodness was it worth the wait. Gorgeous animation, a terrific voice cast, some great new characters, and moving themes of growing up and moving on in life, brought to big screen reality by a screenplay that is both emotional and highly amusing at times. Four years later I still have no idea how I managed to hold back the tears.

Many toys all close together, with Woody and Buzz Lightyear holding the top of a number 3.

2) The Social Network (Dir. David Fincher)

Another biopic on this list, Fincher brought to the big screen the story of how Facebook came to be, and does a terrific job. A screenplay that has humour, but a heck of a lot of drama, Jesse Eisenberg gives an excellent turn as Mark Zuckerburg and the screenplay provides an interesting insight into man’s desire for success and naturally greedy, selfish attitude.

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1) The King’s Speech (Dir. Tom Hooper)

I suppose it is a bit of a cliche, but the multi-award winning biopic of King George VI is an outstandingly created period piece, with a sensitive insight into speech impediment and shell shock among other other things. The screenplay is a very sensitive, rather moving piece of writing, leaving the viewer fully sympathising for the monarch. Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter are all at their best, and my Dad and I found ourselves moved as we watched this film in the cinema three years ago.

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Every 80s insurance company’s worst nightmare – The Blues Brothers

The guys who chieftain the Youtube channel Cinema Sins found they had too much free time on their hands and calculated the expense of everything used, damaged or broken in The Blues Brothers (1980). If you’ve seen the film then you no doubt remember the amount of destruction and chaos the brothers caused in their mission for God. With all those millions in damage they caused, just be glad that 30 odd years ago you weren’t the head of an insurance company. Watch the damage, watch the maths, all below.

R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman (Jul 23 1967-Feb 2 2014)

Philip Seymour Hoffman 2011.jpgYesterday Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan office apartment, with the reported cause of death being drugs overdose. He has passed away tragically young, aged 46. Hoffman was easily one of the best actors of his generation, with an huge list of critically acclaimed roles in film and television. He won the Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe and many other awards for Best Actor for his role as Truman Capote in biopic Capote (2005). Hoffman is also notable for his work with director Paul Thomas Anderson, having appeared in five of Anderson’s six films to date, most recently The Master (2012) earning him many awards and nominations for Best Supporting Actor. Hoffman was a true talent, very versatile and humble too, never letting the fame and success go to his head, preferring the slightly more rumpled unkempt look of an out of work actor to that of a big film star. Whether you remember him as the antagonist in Mission: Impossible III (2006); or his work with Anderson, or his various role in critically acclaimed films, including CapoteCharlie Wilson’s War (2007), Doubt (2008) and The Ides of March (2011); or you only learned his name for the first time when you went to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), I can almost guarantee you know who he was, and what a talent he was. A true talent, his tragic death is a massive loss to the film industry. To be released posthumously are A Most Wanted Man (2014), God’s Pocket (2014), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014) and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015).

Birthday Career Analysis: Christian Bale

Christian Bale in a black suit at a movie premiere.To mark yesterday (January 30) being Christian Bale’s 40th birthday I thought it would be nice to take a brief look at his career to date. The Welsh-born actor first came to prominence as Jim Graham in Empire of the Sun (1987), and since then his career has become legendary within Britain, as he has had a number of starring roles in outstanding films such as American Psycho (2000), The Machinist (2004) and The Dark Knight trilogy (2005-12). These films are examples of how Bale is a method actor, as one notable attribute to his acting style is the fact that he will often lose tremendous amounts of weight or gain multiple kilos of muscle for his roles. Bale has also worked with a number of acclaimed directors, including Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Terrence Malick and David O. Russell. Bale is a huge talent, an excellent asset to Hollywood, and may that Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for The Fighter (2011) be joined by more in the years to come.

Dead Snow [Død snø] (2009, Dir. Tommy Wirkola)

★★

Staying in a cabin in the mountains of Norway, eight medical students realise that nightmares do come true as the zombies of Nazis, slain in combat of 60 years ago arise from the ground and pick off the youngsters one by one.

Nazi zombies as a sub-genre is one that has become quite popular in recent years, both with films such as Outpost (2008) and video games, including several Call of Duty games since 2008. In many ways it is a sub-genre which confronts the world’s political past and to an extent basically says “this is what’s happened, these guys are dangerous, we are going to remind people of how dangerous they were, and to an extent mock it.” The zombies are very dangerous with a great blood lust and are very persistent hunters. However, a number of them are taken out in quite comical fashion indeed, including accidental self-impaling and being steered into a low tree branch by a snowmobile.

Tommy Wirkola is a director who embraces postmodernism indeed, and his variety of inspirational sources varies from classic zombie films such as Night of the Living Dead (1968), contemporary slashers such as Saw (2004), and even swashbucklers such as Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). It is this mesh of different sub-genres, however, which contributes greatly to the film’s downfall, as the film screenplay lacks consistency and most certainly comes across as unsure as to which direction it should take. It is a zombie film pure and simple? Is it a slasher? A mystery/detective film? An action film? As the film flirts with each of these genres an inconsistent screenplay is what us the viewers are offered. The screenplay also proves predictable in places, as once we the viewer know roughly what genre we will be watching for the next few minutes we can guess what will happen, particularly those of us who are film buffs.

This is a shame as there are moments where the film shows potential, particularly in some moments of role reversal and some of the moments of more hand to hand combat with the zombies. And as a gruesome gore fest the film does not disappoint with much blood shed, murder and general red brought to the screen. And while there is nothing particularly special about the cast there is nothing awful about them either. The only cast members who stand out are Charlotte Frogner as Hanna, and Lasse Valdal as Vegard. Frogner and Valdal give the grittiest, most determined performances of the lot and successfully make Hanna and Vegard the only two characters who are genuinely engaging to watch.

Dead Snow is not a bad film. However, it is not a good film. Instead it is a film which had some potential to be a good piece of Norwegian horror, but instead lacks direction and consistency, with a confused outcome as the final product.