Spling reviews I Care A Lot, The Vast of Night and A Bad Day for the Cut as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.
Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…
This week, we’re talking about a dark crime comedy caper, a sci-fi mystery drama and a crime thriller.
Starting off with a film on Netflix…
I CARE A LOT
A crooked legal guardian drains the savings of her elderly wards and meets her match when a woman she tries to swindle turns out to be more than she first appears.
Writer-Director: J Blakeson
Stars: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage and Eiza González
– Rosamund Pike always gives 110%, as witnessed in her Golden Globe winning performance and echoed in A United Kingdom, Gone Girl, Fracture and many others.
– This performance is reminiscent of Laura Dern from Marriage Story, presenting a powerful and ruthless legal custodian with icy precision.
– It’s a quirky crime comedy caper in a world of lions and lambs where an unscrupulous, blood-sucking legal guardian meets her match when her latest target turns out to be much more dangerous than previously anticipated.
– Game of Thrones star, Peter Dinklage lends his trademark performance to a mob boss with an axe to grind.
– A dark comedy of sorts, this entertaining yarn survives on its tantalising premise, stellar lead performance and quirky genre blend, which all funnel into a zippy game of cat and mouse.
– Tapping into the world of a sociopath with CEO ambitions, the film teases gender politics, but seems more concerned with style and entertainment value.
– It’s wonderful to see Pike in full flight, elevating a role that could have been so much better served as an intense character portrait.
– Going for more mainstream fare, this crime thriller has bite and flair, happy to coast along on a rather superficial level.
– Playing an anti-hero, there’s some guilty pleasure in trying to figure out which villain you feel more sorry for in this devilishly charming escapade.
– The wraparound theme seemed a little forced but Pike’s stunning lead performance elevates everything.
A solid 7 on the splingometer
Moving on to a film on Amazon Prime…
THE VAST OF NIGHT
One night in New Mexico, in the late 1950s, a switchboard operator and radio DJ discover a strange audio frequency which could change the future forever.
Director: Andrew Patterson
Stars: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz and Gail Cronauer
– This is one of the most interesting and moody sci-fi films to come out in quite some time, which almost warrants an X-Files prequel.
– Serving as an adaptation of a’ 50s style sci-fi TV or radio show, we transcend a black-and-white television screen to be immersed in one fateful night for a call operator and late-night DJ.
– The rapidfire dialogue and accents make it worth switching on subtitles with the filmmakers using words to add colour and texture just as much as the visuals.
– Seemingly throwaway, referencing things from the age, the babbling does amount to substance but at times is as perfunctory as some of the props.
– Using longshots in both senses of the word, this slow-moving film creates an otherworldly feel, giving you a sense of place and space.
– Keeping us at some distance from the main characters, who are further obscured by glasses, it takes a while to get into The Vast of Night.
– Beautifully filmed, using retro style, technology and vehicles to set the scene, it has a nostalgic and surreal feel.
– Creating an alienating atmosphere in terms of storytelling, the first draft of this film could have been a radio show or podcast.
– It’s a masterful exercise in modest filmmaking, leveraging resources, shooting at night and focusing on what actually ends up on screen.
– While exquisite in one sense, it can be quite exasperating in terms of its sluggishness to the point that many will probably run out of patience.
– However, there is reward for the curious who manage to hang on as the edit picks up pace and things get more eerie and suspenseful.
– While overtly niche, ironically going over most people’s heads and decidedly alienating it is quite brilliant in its own microcosm.
A solid 7 on the splingometer!
And finally a film on Netflix…
A BAD DAY FOR THE CUT
A middle-aged Irish farmer sets off on a mission of revenge when the old lady is murdered.
Director: Chris Baugh
Stars: Nigel O’Neill, Susan Lynch and Józef Pawlowski
– Descending upon an authentic rural situation, this Irish drama seemed destined to be something akin to the Icelandic drama, Rams.
– However, this notion is displaced by a quickly evolving crime story as a farmer takes it upon himself to find the man responsible for his mother’s untimely death.
– One could describe A Bad Day for the Cut as a blend of Falling Down, Taken and Calvary.
– With nothing to lose, it echoes Michael Douglas from Falling Down as an Irishman takes matters into his own hands.
– Taken reverberates through his relentless pursuit and takedown of underworld criminals and a sex trafficking syndicate.
– Calvary is expressed through the distinctly Irish grit, authenticity and epic story of retribution.
– While this film has comedic undertones, it can be intensely violent as a lowly hero clamours his way up the chain of command.
– It’s a scrappy, unapologetic, sometimes darkly funny and at times ultraviolent tale, which while shaggy is effective.
– Bolstered by both artistic and commercial elements, some may feel a bit cheated by its ellipsis of an ending.
– Earnest performances, do-or-die pursuit and agricultural resourcefulness underpin this gritty crime drama thriller.
A solid 7 on the splingometer
So just to wrap up…
I CARE A LOT… a commanding lead performance and quirky cat-and-mouse plot power this zippy dark crime comedy… A solid 7!
THE VAST OF NIGHT… a well-acted, surreal, moody, exquisite, immersive albeit alienating and slow-moving sci-fi mystery drama… A solid 7!
A BAD DAY FOR THE CUT… this authentic, gritty, offbeat and relentless crime thriller is both poetic and brutal… A solid 7!
For more movie reviews, previous Talking Movies podcasts and upcoming Bingeing with Spling watch parties visit splingmovies.com.
And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!