There are a few pieces left over which unnecessarily extend the finished picture, meaning the denouement goes on a little longer than it needs to. But for the most part, the film is enjoyably complex and visually arresting. Anchored by a great performance by O’Brien, Flashback is a conceptually ambitious puzzle that might even be worth putting together more than once.
The film is bolstered by good performances and engaging characters. Jung-min reminds me of a ‘70s-era Charles Bronson (he sorta resembles ol’ Chuck, too) and Jung-jae makes Ray a wonderfully vicious villain. Elsewhere, Jeong-min manages to steal a few scenes while avoiding the trap of turning Yui into a mere caricature. Most importantly, writer-director Hong Won-chan utilizes his own “very particular set of skills” to turn his film into an exciting variation of the Taken formula. Despite the disturbing basic premise, Deliver Us from Evil is an entertaining, tension-filled slab of movie mayhem.
Despite some tense moments, The Little Things mostly walks a familiar path and ends with more of a whimper than a bang. However, the effortless gravitas Denzel Washington brings to his character keeps the film from becoming completely rote. It’s worth checking out just for his performance.
Though the chance to turn the scenario into a wicked black comedy is definitely a missed opportunity, Concrete Plans is well-paced and features solid characters. Viktor and Bob serve as moral compasses, while Jim and Bob’s nephew, Steve (Charlie Palmer Rothwell), evolve into hateful sons-of-bitches. There’s also a lot of perverse gratification in watching Simon get what’s coming to him, mainly because we’ve all encountered assholes with a similarly-misguided sense of superiority.
Though The Bloodhound does come to an interesting conclusion, I imagine some viewers will walk away unimpressed – perhaps irritated – with a denouement that doesn’t tie-up loose ends into a tidy bow or answer nagging questions (of which there are plenty). But Picard is far less concerned with narrative clarity than creating a singular mood, which he manages to do quite well. He also knows not to test the viewer’s patience for too long. Running a relatively brief 71 minutes, The Bloodhound is like a quick road trip with no real destination in-mind and coming to a conclusion just before everyone gets tired of sitting in the car.
I suppose some viewers expecting a straightforward thriller might find the abundance of humor off-putting. Personally, I found it to be an unexpected breath of fresh air. Dark Web: Cicada 3301 may not be quite as “dark” as the title and promotional material suggest, but it still dishes out plenty of intrigue and action to go with the laughs. If only Robert Langdon had a similar sense of humor.