Category Archives: Drama

Blinded By The Light (2019) Review By Philip Henry

 

Blinded By The Light Review

Director: Gurinder Chadha
Writers: Paul Mayeda Berges, Sarfraz Manzoor & Gurinder Chadha, inspired by the words & music of Bruce Springsteen.
Stars: Viveik Kalra, Kulvinder Ghir, Nell Williams, Hayley Atwell

We’ve been spoiled for choice this year by British movies about rock icons, but this is a very different animal to Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. This isn’t a biopic of Bruce Springsteen but The Boss’s music does provide the inspiration for our lead character to change his life and dream bigger.

It’s 1987 and teenager Javed seems to have his whole life mapped out by his father. His dad tells him which career paths are acceptable and tells him he will find his son a wife when the time is right. The members of the family who work give their wages to the father without a second thought. Javed wants to carve his own path in life, but in Pakistani tradition, the father is the head of the house and his word is law.

But then a chance meeting at school with another student introduces Javed to the music of Bruce Springsteen, and to say he embraces it wholeheartedly would be an understatement. Springsteen’s music and lyrics show Javed the poetry of everyday lives, of quiet heroes, and working class dignity. Pretty soon, those dreams Javed had of being a writer seem a lot closer and more attainable.

It’s a very sweet coming of age story that I really empathised with. When I discovered music in my teenage years it was a revelation, and I always thought I got more out of it then most people. Music wasn’t just something that played in the background, it had something to say to me, personally, and that’s the same feeling that grips our young hero. This music teaches him to think, to dream, and to challenge his father’s preconceptions of who and what he should be.

The film evokes the 80s with real joy. Anyone who grew up in that era will smile when they see sweets, foods and drinks (who remembers Top Deck!) associated with the decade. These little touches add so much to the overall look and feel of the story. There’s also a great soundtrack – it’s not all Springsteen – and the fashions and cars add the finishing touches. This film gave me a peek inside a culture I admit I know very little about. It’s not all big hair and walkmans playing cassettes, the racism that was rife in Thatcher’s Britain is addressed and shines a light on how Pakistani families were treated during the height of the National Front’s hate campaign. I wish I could say it shows how far we’ve come but recent events show it’s not nearly far enough.

The film doesn’t have a huge third act finale, but since this screenplay is based on a true story I suppose what happens is what happened. It’s quite a talky, yet still emotional, ending that provides closure to the coming of age arc, and the final shot did bring a lump to my throat.

Viveik Kalra is fantastic, proving a likeable and engaging lead. He has the acting chops to make you share his wonder as the lyrics of New Jersey’s finest fill his head, heart and soul, as well as bringing a lump to your throat when things go awry. His love interest is Nell Williams, who played the young Cersei Lannister in season five of Game of Thrones. She plays a teen activist embarrassed by her Tory parents (and rightly so), and throws herself into the spirit of the thing with another strong performance. There’s some familiar faces in the supporting cast too, like Captain America’s Peggy Carter – Hayley Atwell, and TV favourites Rob Brydon and Sally Phillips.

I think most people consider Bend It Like Beckham to be Gurinder Chadha’s best film. Since I don’t have any interest in football it never really scored with me… not like this one did. This is a film I suspect I will watch many more times, and if you’ve ever heard a song and thought it was being sung just for you, you should watch it too.

Despite some dark themes and moments, the overall feeling this film left me with was a joyful one. It will make you laugh, smile, and maybe even break into a spontaneous dance (in the dark?) wearing your orange headphones. I’m only a moderate fan of Springsteen but even I came home and stuck on the Born in the USA album because this film’s enthusiasm is infectious.

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The Kitchen (2019) Movie Review By The Moviie Couple

 

The Kitchen Review

Director: Andrea Berloff
Writers: Ollie Masters (comic book series), Ming Doyle (comic book series)
Stars: Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss 

Moviie Couple here!   We went out and watched The Kitchen this Friday!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film experts we are not! Just a quick reminder of our rating system.   Mrs. Moviie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

The Kitchen adapts a 2015 DC/Vertigo comic book series written by Ollie Masters and Illustrated by Ming Doyle to the silver screen.  The film, like the comic before it, tells a tale of three mob wives in the 1970’s as they rise in power over Hell’s Kitchen Manhattan while their husbands are off serving time in prison.  Utilising some brains and old school chutzpah, the trio quickly fill a void left by an inept mafioso made-man left in charge.  The trio of enterprising 70’s ladies are played by Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss.  Directed by first time director, Andrea Belloff, we follow the growth of these three friends in a world not ready or willing to embrace female empowerment.  Growth, alliances, twists and of course violence ensue!  Can the women break the mob glass ceiling?  Are they prepared to take on a world they only knew from the periphery?  Are they prepared to pay the price a life in this world costs?  Well we don’t spoil here at Moviie Couple so why don’t we just let you know if it’s worth watching in order to find these answers for yourself or is it better to wait and watch on the couch?  So grab a pack of smokes, crank up your eight cylinder gas guzzler and hit play on your eight track while you turn up The Chain by Fleetwood Mac (Man is that song used in every 70 era picture or what?)it’s time to find out if The Kitchen is an offer we can’t refuse!

Mr. Moviie Couple:  The title of this movie, The Kitchen, refers to Hell’s Kitchen New York and probably serves as a double meaning, as most men in this film, and probably many of that era, still felt a woman’s place was in the kitchen and not much more, but it made me think of Mrs. Moviie Couple and myself.  You see, you can have the same perfect ingredients and have us both follow the same recipe, but inevitably, Mrs Moviie Couple will produce a masterpiece of a meal.  On the other hand, I would produce a nightmare of a meal, I simply can’t cook.  This film had a perfect set of ingredients, a fantastic trio of actors in McCarthy, Haddish and Moss all doing good work, but the end result was less than appetising.  To this end, I have to blame the cooks, or in this case Director Andrea Belloff, who not only directed but also wrote the adaptation for the screen.

This film wants to be a Goodmamas or a The Godmother but it never comes close.  The plot happens at a super fast pace  When the women put their plan in motion, everything happens with an ease and quickness that seems far fetched at best and unbelievable at worst.  Any attempt at challenge or suspense rising against our heroines is never really sustained.   When danger or consequences do come to light, they are addressed and handled just as quickly as they appeared.  There was no time for any dread or fear to build up at any point. These faults lie solely at the feet of the directing and screenwriting, which unfortunately belongs to the same person.  The one attempt at a twist comes out of nowhere and I’m willing to bet was developed with the right amount of time in the comic book version rather than the last minute explanation we get late in the third act here.  Sorry, again no spoilers!

So in conclusion I certainly admired the performances we get here. McCarthy shines as a mother running out of choices to help her family, but never running away.  Haddish also gives a subdued (for her) performance and shows a quiet intensity that she usually doesn’t require in her comedic offerings.  Both these women, known mostly for their popular comedian personas really step it up here in The Kitchen.  Moss shines the brightest as a mousey victim of domestic violence, that not only grows and fights back, but emerges from her cocoon of abuse as a butterfly to be feared by any and all.  It also must be said that Domhnall Gleeson, known mostly as General Hux, in the new Star Wars movies, gives us a surprising and outstanding show as the ladies enforcer and confidant Gabriel.  He is fantastic in a supporting role.

Despite some really great acting jobs, the movie is a bit of a let down.  Too short, too fast, it never gives itself enough time to simmer and soak in all the 1970’s atmosphere or to let us actually feel the fear that these women were facing each and every day.  Like a meal rushed rather than properly prepared, the Kitchen needed more time and care.  You can eat it and taste the possibilities, but you probably should have ordered take out.  I give the Kitchen 2.5 Bills.  Just barely above a waste of my time and money.  Without the stellar performances it would have been even less.

Mrs. Moviie Couple:  Hi, everybody!!  The trailer really had me excited for this one!  The Godfather meets Charlie’s Angels!  I was all set!  Right up my alley, so did it live up to the hype?

The acting from the three main ladies was TOP NOTCH!  Melissa was excellent in exuding humble, sweet, loving Mom and Wife, but also capable of taking control whenever necessary!  Tiffany was fantastic as a no nonsense, tough cookie that was a consummate team player, but ready at a drop of a dime to handle things her own way!  Elisabeth played a girl with the kindest, sweetest disposition who due to her abusive past ultimately finds her “inner voice” and with that freedom finally becomes a force to be reckoned with!

Even though I enjoyed the idea of the women taking charge, I found the story to have many flaws.  It was very choppy and cut from scene to scene without warning or need.  It all seemed to get resolved instantly and with only minimal pain or suffering. Most of the characters that don’t make it, seemed to have it coming one way or another.  Very unrealistic.

Its a shame the story couldn’t live up to the strength of the three lead actors.  This seemed more like an old TV show from the 1970’s where everything works out in the end and all in under one hour!
For all those reasons, I will be giving the Kitchen 3 Bills.  The actresses and women movie-goers everywhere deserved a better film.  I definitely felt like it was a little better than wasting my money and much closer to Meh.  Sad because I was looking forward to this one so much!

On the way home, we talked about how disappointed we both were.  We both enjoyed the trailer so much and were expecting more than we got from the final product.  Mrs. Moviie Couple even told me we should have went to see Dora, WOW!    My 2.5 Bills and the Mrs. 3 Bills, gives us a solid 2.5 Bills for The Kitchen, not at all what we were expecting.  A confirmed waste of both time and money.

So until next time, remember trailers can be deceiving!  Not every film that looks good comes through on the promise!  Be sure to check out our Twitter or Facebook for a clue to our next movie review.  Mr. & Mrs. Moviie Couple out!

The Command (2018) Blu-Bay Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

 

The Command Review

Kursk (original title)

Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Writers: Robert Rodat, Robert Moore (based on Robert Moore’s book “A Time to Die”)
Starring Matthias Schoenaerts, Lea Seydoux, Colin Firth, Peter Simonischek, August Diehl, Max von Sydow, Martin Brambach, Michael Nyqvist.

Depending on your familiarity with the actual event, which was briefly all over the news in 2000, The Command could be seen as two different movies: An incendiary chronicle of recent history or a claustrophobic disaster thriller. Either way, this is an excellent film.

The Kursk (the film’s title outside the U.S.) is a nuclear submarine in Russia’s ageing naval fleet, which is a dilapidated shadow of its former self since the Cold War ended. During a training exercise, an unstable warhead explodes, sending the ship to the ocean floor. While most of the crew is killed instantly, a few dozen are still alive in one remaining compartment. The Russian navy attempts a rescue operation, but their equipment is old and unreliable. They also refuse to confirm to the sailors’ families whether or not anyone on-board is still alive.

As the incident becomes global news, other countries offer assistance, including the British navy. However, misguided pride and residual Cold War paranoia has the Russian government reluctant to accept any help, to the dismay of the families. Meanwhile, with the waters rising, the sailors below are quickly running out of air…and time.

Having just a vague memory of the actual disaster – and unaware of the eventual outcome – I have no clue to it’s historical accuracy and the scenes on-board the Kursk itself are obviously speculated. However, the story as-depicted in The Command looks and feels authentic, punctuated by tension-filled sequences, solid performances, impressive production design and convincing special effects.

But like similar true stories where the outcome is a forgone conclusion – such as The Perfect Storm and Apollo 13 – it’s the characters that drive the film. Though there’s an ensemble cast, the concurrent story threads are presented primarily through a trio of characters. Low-level officer Mikhail Averin (Matthias Schoenaerts) tries to keep what’s left of the Kursk’s crew alive and hopeful. His pregnant wife, Tanya (Lea Seydoux), represents the frustration and helplessness of the entire village over the navy’s inaction. British commander David Russell (Colin Firth) is the outsider who, like the rest of the world, doesn’t understand Russia’s refusal to accept help in order to save its own people.

Max von Sydow eventually shows up as Admiral Petrenko, the film’s de-facto antagonist since he embodies Russia’s overall apathy. Petrenko is more of a symbol than a full character, but if you aren’t absolutely hating him by the end, you haven’t been paying attention. One thing is certain…the way the Russian government is depicted, it’s doubtful The Command popular among Putin’s circle of buddies.

For everyone else, The Command is an under-the-radar gem. Exciting, suspenseful, infuriating and ultimately poignant, it’s a tightly-made thriller that deserves to find an audience. Whether seen as a scathing historical denunciation or simply a riveting disaster flick, the film is highly recommended.

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (2019) Movie Review By The Moviie Couple

Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood Review

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie

Moviie Couple here!   We went to see Once Upon A Time in Hollywood this Saturday!!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film experts we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system. Mrs. Moviie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter! Please take our money again!

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is being billed as the ninth film directed by Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino also serves as writer. It stars Leonard DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, a star of 50’s television and his longtime friend and stunt double.  The film follows their lives as they are set on a collision course with the deadly night of the Sharon Tate murders committed by the Charles Manson “family” on August 9, 1969.  Sharon Tate is played by Margot Robbie.  Much in the spirit of Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, this story is a Tarantino “alternate history” film.

So it’s not a true Crime or a Bio-Pic movie, history in these types of films will not play out as expected.  You get a cast of many famous co stars, such as Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, and many more.  Most fans of Tarantino films know what to expect from his stable of films, fast cars, a great soundtrack, loads of sharp dialogue and brutal violence.  So does this deliver?  Is Quentin on the top of his game?  Has the Maestro missed a step?  Let’s crank up the jukebox, put the top down, floor the gas pedal and find out!

So here we go!

Mr. Moviie Couple:  I have seen all of Quentin Tarantino’s films, some I absolutely love and others I find to be a mixed bag.  With Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (from this point on referred to as OUTH) I didn’t know which one I was going to get. The cast seemed top drawer, I mean you can’t get better, am I right?  The trailers seemed intriguing but left me wondering just what the movie was about.  I am somewhat unhappy to tell you that after sitting through nearly three hours of this film, I’m still not sure if that question has been answered. QT brings all the familiar elements from his films here as well,  great performances, exceptional musical selections,  realistic dialogue and at least one action packed finale, but the film still seems to have no rhyme or reason to it.

Leonardo DiCaprio, gives a fantastic performance as aging cowboy star Rick Dalton.  His portrayal of an actor dealing with the point in his life where he sees the sun setting on his career, is nothing short of perfection.  In the scene shown in most trailers where a young child actor whispers to him that his scene work was the best acting she has ever witnessed in her whole life, sums up what we are all watching. Leo absolutely kills the role.

Brad Pitt is equally good albeit in a much more subdued role as the buddy stunt double, Cliff Booth. His character is a war hero with a dubious background.  He is everything in real life that Rick plays in make believe, but in real life those dangerous, heroic characteristics often times come from a dark place. Cliff’s backstory is only told in snippets throughout the film, with little to no confirmation or details, and the audience is left to fill in many of the blanks. Pitt’s Cliff is a man with many issues and Pitt portrays him with an exceptional ease and a smile that hides whatever is dwelling just under Cliff’s surface. It is a performance equal to DiCaprio’s while at the same time being completely different.

Margot Robbie shines as Sharon Tate.  Her version of this 1960’s “It” girl seems to capture everything good about the tragic starlet. Unlike DiCaprio and Pitt, with who she barely shares any screen time with, Robbie had the challenge of playing the part of an actual person. Having seen films thatTate starred in, I can say I felt she captured the woman as well as anyone could.  At the same time, this was still a Robbie performance, but she seemed to capture the spark seen in Tate.  One scene in particular, of Tate watching her own movie when in a public theatre was excellent.  With no words, Robbie expresses the joy and nervous energy of someone hearing the public react to their craft in secret.  It was a fantastic and subtle scene.  Although her part didn’t have the same amount of lines as her male counterparts, Robbie was on par with them. She owned the screen any time she was on screen.

We have three outstanding performances, so what was missing for me?  Well let’s just say it was a long ride to get to one scene at the end that we all knew QT was heading to.  He took the scenic route.  At times this film reminded me of a QT Facebook adaptation if Facebook existed in 1969.  We see comments everyday demonstrating how mundane some Facebook entries can be. For example, “I took the dog for a walk today!”  “Going to the store for some shopping!”  “Choppin broccoli for dinner!”  Well at times, sometimes too many times, this movie seemed like we were watching an adaptation of what Cliff and Rick’s 1969 Facebook posts would have looked like if turned into a film by QT!  With the exception of a great scene where Cliff visits the “Manson Family” ranch unaware of the growing danger, but knowing something wasn’t right.  The hours of this film pass with little to know reason or suspense.  Other than the title, Once Upon a Time…., maybe being a clue and all QT wanted from this film was to take a Hollywood tragedy and give it a fairy tale ending we all wish had happened rather than the horrible reality the country all lived through, I can’t think of a theme or message this movie was trying to send me.

Man, just like the film itself, this review is dragging along!  It must be contagious!  So for the direction alone (QT really recaptures 1969 Hollywood down to every last little detail) and the actors all being on top of their games, OUTH is going to be getting 4 Bills from me!  Pretty Good, maybe you’ll like it, but be ready for nearly three hours of daily lives of a ‘69 actor and his buddy before the QT fireworks actually occur!  Sit back and enjoy three amazing actors doing what they do best until then!
Ms. Moviie Couple:  OK, Yes, it’s me again!  Hubby gets two weeks off from typing my review!

The acting from all three stars was out of this world!  Leo, Brad and Margot DO NOT disappoint! This movie is long, like WAY LONG!  And have I mentioned slow? For like the first one and a half hours it had me wondering what was going on, but be patient!  It’s worth the wait for the climax! The stories it was telling seemed very choppy to me. The plot didn’t flow smoothly for me. It went back and forth without any warning. I found it a bit hard to follow at times. You get a very in depth look into the lives of these specific main characters and what their day to day lives are like, but I felt it just wasn’t executed very well. Tarantino does eventually bring in the blood and guts!  Many of these were so graphic I found myself closing my eyes!  I prefer something be left to the imagination.

To be fair, this movie just isn’t my cup of tea,but I did enjoy the experience due to the cast members amazing performances!

I gave this movie 3 Bills!  The actors are phenomenal!  I would surely have rated it higher had it just been a bit more concise or just plain shorter.  But it’s hard to complain about spending three hours watching Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, that’s for sure.

On the way home, We talked about just how great all of the lead actors were.  I kept commenting about the song choices, 60-70’s tunes are some of my favourites!  We both spoke about how well filmed the movie was, but we kept comparing our interpretations of what was the main point of the story, what was it ultimately attempting to convey? We don’t spoil here, so let’s just say we both had different ideas about how to answer that question. Thanks to my 4 Bills and the Mrs. 3 Bills, Once Upon a Time …In Hollywood tallies up an average of 3.5 Bills!  So closer to Pretty Good than Meh.  Not QTs best, but far from his worst!

So until next time, remember Hollywood isn’t all it’s made to appear, everyone’s career has a setting sun waiting for them, didn’t I read somewhere QT is writing a Star Trek script?  Be sure to check out our Twitter or Facebook for a clue to our next movie review.

Mr. & Mrs. Moviie Couple out!

Eden (2016) Movie Review By Michael McGeown

 

Eden Review

Director: Robbie Walsh
Writer: Robbie Walsh
Stars: Johnny Elliott, Sarah Carroll, Kellie Blaise

It seems that one of the only ways to appreciate life is to first lose everything. Losing everything may afford you the forgotten ability to see life as it really is – something simple. We tend to complicate it. At the beginning of ‘Eden’, we learn Adam is homeless and we are shown the hardships he must face daily. He passes his time attempting to recreate his old life. Playing with a stray dog as if it was his own or playing football alone. He examines discarded items in forgotten places with the hope that they may be of use. We also learn he loses his home (and more) for reasons just beyond his control. And this is something Adam, understandably, finds difficult to accept.

The beginning of Eden is dull, depressing even. And this is required. Some audiences may not appreciate this, but I believe it makes Eden an effective film. It sheds light on the issue of homelessness and later we discover that the key to solving it may be to first understand why it happens.

Adam’s daily life is peppered with one difficult circumstance after another. Threats from other homeless people are common and they are from those who seem to have given up on regaining their previous life. Maybe this reveals who Adam may become.
Adam helps others when he can too. He shares a sandwich with a friend when he could have easily chosen not to. He gives what little money he has to a woman he knows only briefly for the simple reason that it will help her. Adam’s character is revealed slowly, and this is an effective way of demonstrating that anyone can fall on hard times. This can be credited to the talents of Johnny Elliot (Adam) and Robbie Walsh (writer/director).

Elliot’s ‘Adam’ is dignified and poised. Adam’s nobility is maintained even under these difficult circumstances. Adam knows that if he lets his new environment break him then all is lost. I believe he can handle losing his home but under no circumstances will he relinquish the goodness remaining in his character. Elliot’s ability to show this is wonderful.

“One day leads in to another”, Adam says. It becomes clear that being homeless is an extremely difficult life to escape. This realisation is emphasised by the greyness of the images the director creates. Walsh puts you in Adam’s shoes. Homelessness is a lonely, cold way of life. Walsh and Elliot portray this life with an authenticity that makes for difficult viewing. But it is needed, there is nothing pleasant about living without a shelter. Those with a roof over their head may need reminding that a person’s circumstances do not define their character. It may remind them that everyone needs help sooner or later and that they should help others whenever they can.

Walsh’s direction is effective. His use of the close-up is abundant but not over-bearing. This allows the audience to fully appreciate the performances. One close-up allowed Sarah Carroll, as the troubled mother, ‘Claire’, to really demonstrate her talents. This was a heart-breaking scene and one I would have expected to see in a major production.

Eden is believable. It was written by someone who has either experienced Adam’s life or came precariously close to it. The dialogue is also realistic, nothing felt contrived. It could have almost been a documentary. If someone told me Adam was homeless, I would not have been surprised. There is a welcome moment of hope towards the end – a scene between Adam and Nicci St-George’s character, which is great. It adds a welcome contrast to all that came before. Walsh’s brief role as the taxi driver is also noteworthy. It was genuine and very natural.

Eden was a pleasant surprise. Given the modest budget and minimal resources available, the cast and crew have produced a little gem. I’d be curious to see what they’d do with more resources.

This film has importance. It sheds light on issues that need to be addressed. Maybe if we had Adam’s strength we could do something about it.

A Vigilante (2018) Movie Blu Ray Review By D.M. Anderson

A Vigilante Review

Director: Sarah Daggar-Nickson
Writer: Sarah Daggar-Nickson
Stars: Olivia Wilde, Morgan Spector, Kyle Catlett

When we first meet Sadie (Olivia Wilde), she’s vigorously working-over a punching bag prior to dressing up, throwing on a wig and paying a visit to a small suburban home, where the Straund family lives. Andrea’s expecting her, but Sadie is actually there to see her abusive husband, Michael. Sadie informs him that he’s to sign-over the house to his wife, give her 75% of his assets and leave. He’s balks, of course, at which time she punches him in the throat. In the very next scene, Michael is seated at the dining room table, bloody and bruised, signing the necessary paperwork to comply with Sadie’s demands.

It’s the best scene in A Vigilante, setting the tone for the rest of the film. Through flashback’s we learn that Sadie is a domestic abuse survivor herself and has pledged to save others in similar relationships, sort-of making her a female Equalizer. But A Vigilante goes for a different approach. Numerous abusers indeed receive the bloody beat-downs they richly deserve, but the viewer only sees the aftermath of her retribution.

That might disappoint the yahoo crowd, but despite the film’s title, writer-director Sarah Dagger-Nickson obviously has a different agenda. The film is just-as-much about Sadie trying to come to terms with her past. She once had a family, which was torn apart by her husband (Morgan Spector), leaving her physically and emotionally devastated. Though she managed to escape, Sadie can’t actually move-on until she confronts and holds him accountable for what he’s done.

Anchored by a bravura performance by Wilde, A Vigilante isn’t the usual action-fest one expects from the genre. But even though it ventures to some dark places, Sadie’s a fascinating character and the circumstances leading her to vigilantism are believable, not-to-mention disturbing. The more we learn about her, the more we appreciate the results of her handiwork. However, one narrative misstep is when she finally faces her husband. The film does so many things right that it’s a shame Sadie’s briefly reduced to being stalked through the woods by your standard-issue psychotic spouse.

Until then, A Vigilante is a smart, realistic spin on the classic revenge thriller. Sadie is empathetic and likable enough that her actions feel more than justified. Though light on the mayhem one usually expects from the genre, there are still enough audience-rousing moments to make it enjoyably vicarious viewing.