Our Kind of Traitor (2016)

Our Kind of Traitor
Director: Susanna White
Writer: Hossein Amini
Based on: John le Carré‘s novel
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgård, Naomie HarrisDamian Lewis, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Pawel SzajdaAlicia von Rittberg, Mark Gatiss, Jeremy Northam
Seen on: 19.7.2016

Plot:
Perry (Ewan McGregor) and Gail (Naomie Harris) are on holidays together in an attempt to get their relationship back on the right track. But things are tense. That’s when they meet Dima (Stellan Skarsgård), a rich, jovial Russian. He invites them for drinks and Perry accepts. Dima takes a liking to him and invites him to a party. It is there that he reveals that he works for the Russian mob and that he needs Perry’s help to deliver data to the UK – data that would secure Dima and his family refuge from the repercussions of the mob. Perry agrees to help, but when he hands over the data to agent Hector (Damian Lewis), the role he and Gail both have to play in the affair is unexpectedly far from over.

Our Kind of Traitor was a decent thriller that ends in cliché country. But for a while there, it is a good ride.

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The Two Faces of January (2014)

The Two Faces of January
Director: Hossein Amini
Writer: Hossein Amini
Based on: Patricia Highsmith‘s novel
Cast: Oscar IsaacViggo MortensenKirsten Dunst, Daisy Bevan

Plot:
Rydal (Oscar Isaac) is an American working as a tour guide in Greece. He meets the fascinating couple Colette (Kirsten Dunst) and Chester Macfarland (Viggo Mortensen) and is immediately drawn to them. But there is something to the Macfarlands that isn’t quite right and Rydal soon finds himself in deeper than he thought.

The Two Faces of January has an excellent cast and a charming old-timey setting but nothing in this film actually works as it should.

the-two-faces-of-january

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47 Ronin (2013)

47 Ronin
Director: Carl Rinsch
Writer: Chris Morgan, Hossein Amini
Based on: the history of the 47 Ronin (very loosely)
Cast: Hiroyuki Sanada, Keanu Reeves, Ko Shibasaki, Rinko Kikuchi, Tadanobu Asano, Min Tanaka, Jin Akanishi, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Rick Genest

Plot:
Ôishi (Hiroyuki Sanada) is the head samurai of Lord Asano (Min Tanaka), so when Asano dies due to Lord Kira’s (Tadanobu Asano) use of magic through a witch (Rinko Kikuchi), Ôishi becomes ronin. Against Shogun Tsunayoshi’s (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) express orders, Ôishi and the rest of the ronin decide to revenge their master. And for that they need the help of Kai (Keanu Reeves), a foundling who was taken in by Asano as a young boy who was always mistreated by the samurai but who has some incredible gifts. Kai agrees, mostly to save Mika (Ko Shibasaki), Asano’s daughter.

47 Ronin should have been a spectacle, close to I, Frankenstein in entertainment value and (lack of) intelligence. And while there were a few things that came close to spectacular and a few things that came close to pure stupidity, altogether it was pretty disappointing.

47Ronin

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Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Snow White and the Huntsman
Director: Rupert Sanders
Writer: Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini
Based on: the Snow White fairy tale
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Sam Spruell, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, Johnny Harris, Brian Gleeson, Vincent Regan

Plot:
10 years ago, Ravenna (Charlize Theron) killed the good king, imprisoned his daughter Snow White (Kristen Stewart) and took over the kingdom with her evil magic. But now that Snow White turned 18, she managed to escape her imprisonment. Since Ravenna desperately needs Snow White’s youth and beauty for her own magic, she sends the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) after her. But soon he rather joins Snow White in her fight against Ravenna.

Snow White and the Huntsman is the kind of film that opens with an apple tree in full bloom and ripe apples at the same time which tells you everything you need to know about the film: it puts style so high over substance that it leaves all logic far, far behind. Which would have been okay, if it wasn’t also incredibly boring.

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Drive (2011)

Drive
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Writer: Hossein Amini
Based on: James Sallis‘ novel
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac, Albert Brooks, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
The Driver (Ryan Gosling) is actually a stunt man, but he also works as a getaway driver for robberies. He is always on the move. The only constant in his life is his employer/agent/friend Shannon (Bryan Cranston). Shannon tries to find funding to get him established as a race car driver. When the Driver gets involved into a heist for the sake of a friend, things start to go wrong very quickly.

The buzz for Drive is pretty impressive. What’s even more impressive is that it’s also absolutely true. It’s an incredibly intense, well acted and beautifully shot film.

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