Tag Archives: Michael Nyqvist

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.

John Wick (2014) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin

JOHN WICK

Directors: Chad Stahelski,  David Leitch (uncredited)
Writer: Derek Kolstad
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, and Willem Dafoe.

Ex-hitman John Wick comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.

The story follows Wick as the assassin returning to his old life by circumstances out of his control. John Wick was an exciting movie portraying him as a one man army who will stop at nothing until he seeks vengeance on those who have wronged him.

Keanu Reeves, despite having an impressive career, might not be the most dynamic actor. However, with great directing by Chad Stahelski and brilliant writing from Derek Kolstad, Reeves performs amazingly.

This is one of Reeves’ best roles since The Matrix as Mr ’The One’ Neo Anderson. He brings an air of confidence along with quiet yet forceful violence. Reeves displays good emotion and conviction as the character, and he also moves with certainty like a hitman would. Although it is predominantly action sequences, John Wick is also equipped with some emotional baggage. (Dog lovers will know what I mean by this)

The story is very straightforward and in the mould of films like The Equaliser or Taken. The main character is antagonised and has to make everything okay again. It’s that simple, but the trick is on the execution of the story. John Wick works well for a few reasons with the first being that this character is down Reeves street. There is a sadness Keanu Reeves brings to the film that works perfectly as you can’t help but cheer each time one of the bad guys is taken out. Viewers will also remember his devotion to his wife, which Reeves was able to project very well without words. He was sincerely in those touching scenes.

Michael Nyqvist is also excellent as Viggo Tarasov the Russian mobster and he too makes you believe his character. Willem Dafoe although used sparingly is also brilliant in his supporting role as Marcus, who is there for Wick as support after his wife passes.

One of the best things in this movie is the flair, fluidity and the clear focus and precision of the visuals (thanks to cinematographer Jonathan Sela) that are stunning and leave you gasping for more action. More ofter than not other movies employ a shaky camera or uncoordinated editing that ignore even the slightest of continuity that the eagle eyes out there notice. Credit to the movies editor Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir for the way the movie just flows particularly in those action sequences

Another important factor in what makes this movie so slick other than the visual and the editing is the way the sequences are choreographed. Keanu Reeves is no stranger to well executed action scenes in movies like Speed and The Matrix (remember he was part of the big thing back in 1999…..bullet time) Here the action is almost video game’esque but believable that reminded me of the scene in Kick-Ass with Hit Girl wearing night vision google and the execution is similar.

With the sequel being released in a few weeks time we wait with anticipation whether or not John Wick II will stand up against the original or perhaps surpass it. The movie has been out for 3 years now and if you haven’t seen it I recommend you do. Keanu Reeves is back with a bang.