Showing posts with label Ben Foster. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ben Foster. Show all posts

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


A remake of the Icelandic film Reykjavik-Rotterdam and Directed by the star of the original, Baltasar Kormakur, Contraband is a middle of the road action-thriller starring Mark Wahlberg as a former smuggler who is forced to take on one final job to save the life of his wife’s brother. Featuring a more than talented cast and a couple of nice reveals, Contraband occasionally rises above the milieu of generic thrillers but overall lands back in amongst its fellows with a script that contains little real action and few thrills.

Whenever I see the names Giovanni Ribisi or Ben Foster appear in opening credits I always sit up and take notice as for my money they are two of the best actors working in Hollywood today. To have them both in the same film is some coup. Wahlberg is an actor who occasionally impresses me but pretty much phones in his performance here and his wife, played by Kate Beckinsale is merely a plot device and has no meaningful role or lines. The same can be said for the talented Lukas Haas who is given little chance to shine.

Monday, 27 February 2012


I’d been looking forward to Rampart for some time after hearing rumours of an excellent performance from Woody ‘cooler than Sam Jackson in a fridge’ Harrelson but left the cinema feeling a little disappointed. Harrelson stars as Dave Brown, an LAPD Cop who is from a different era and gets embroiled in scandal after scandal. He is considered a dinosaur by colleagues and friends for the way he goes about his police work and has no qualms about placing evidence on suspects, beating them or even killing them. We follow Harrelson as his character spirals ever deeply into trouble with both his family and the police department through a series of ill judged moves.

I felt that the film was quite boring. Despite a fantastic central performance from Woody Harrelson I didn’t really care what happened to him and it was obvious from the outset that there would be no way back for him. The film looks great. I am a big fan of the kind of beauty in urban decay shots found here and in films such as Tyrannosaur, Coriolanus and Lebanon. You get the sense of a never ending battle that the police are facing in both the visuals of the film and the actions of its characters. But as I said, I felt bored and the film seemed much longer than it was.

Woody Harrelson is fantastic as the bent cop, Brown. He is from a different era, the last of the renegade cops who sees nothing wrong is doing anything he has to in order to clean up the streets. His self destructiveness shows no bounds and he goes out of his way to piss off and alienate those closest to him. This is especially so with the female characters such as his partner and ex wives. The supporting cast is all good. Sigourney Weaver and Ice Cube are excellent and could have done with a bit more to do. There is a brief cameo from the always excellent Steve Buscemi but Ben Foster is the standout in the supporting cast as he wonderfully portrays a down and out, homeless Vietnam Veteran. He is quite superb in his few scenes.

Both Harrelson and Foster excell

Overall this is a film with a great cast, equally good acting and there is an interesting story in there somewhere but it just doesn’t seem to take off. Some of the director’s camera work was off-putting and for the most part it was dull. It’s a shame as the story and cast involved should have produced a much better film. While it isn’t terrible, it isn’t particularly good either.