Friday, 7 October 2011

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Blitz

Directed by: Elliot Lester

Produced by: Steve Chasman
Zygi Kamasa
Samuel Hadiba

Based on: Blitz by Ken Bruen

Screenplay: Nathan Parker

Starring: Jason Statham
Paddy Considine
Aidan Gillen
David Morrissey
Zawe Ashton

Music by: Ilan Eshkeri

Studio(s): Lions Gate Entertainment
Davis Films

Distributed by: Lionsgate UK

Release date(s): May 20, 2011 (United Kingdom)
August 23, 2011 (United States DVD Premiere)

Running time: 97 minutes

Country: United Kingdom

Language: English

Hey folks, 'tis I, The Thin White Dude (well, you'd expect it to be, unless some troll is going round masquerading as me)! Over the next week, I expect to be getting reviews for at least three new films in. As this is the last film for the month of September, it will be followed by a review of September. For October, I can guarantee a review to come in for Never Let Me Go, the adaptation of Kazuo Ishigiro's novel by Mark Romanek, and I won't guarantee any others in particular, as all are subject to change, but I would like to see Tyrannosaur and Johnny English Reborn. I've missed Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Drive, but no doubt I'll get down to them at some point.

And here we have the second-part of our Jason Statham double-bill Blitz. A much smaller affair than Killer Elite, Blitz is a crime thriller in which The Stath plays hard-boiled cop Tom Brant, who despite an excellent track record is surrounded by notoriety and controversy for his often brutish tactics. This is the cause for some tension when straight-laced Sgt Porter Nash (Paddy Considine) is chosen to head up an investigation involving serial cop-killer Barry Weiss (Aidan Gillen), who is going by the nickname of 'Blitz.'

In many ways, Blitz is a strong film. Jason Statham delivers the kind of role that he does best, a sort of cross between Hard Boiled's Tequila and Harvey Keitel's Bad Lieutenant. Brant is not a nice guy, makes no qualms about it, but gets the job done. Statham portrays this single-mindedness with virtuosos and most importantly charisma. He isn't just an ill-tempered grump: thanks to Statham, he's a watchable ill-tempered grump. Also very good is Aidan Gillen, who makes the most out of what is an unquestionably simplistic part and injects it with a great degree of credibility. Out of the main cast however, the best is definitely Paddy Considine. Proving once again his unique ability to be able to slither into the shoes of every part he plays, he provides Blitz the three-dimensional and well-rounded side of things that film needs. It is interesting in that it heavily implied that his character is homosexual, and it is amazing to watch Considine take us all by surprise once again by giving us a police officer who is not shouting or ill-tempered, yet possesses a true inner strength. He and Statham bounce off one another very well, and elevate this from it's more genre/exploitation film roots. In comparison to Killer Elite, Blitz is a great example of less is more: it doesn't pretend to anything more than a genre film, but in doing so, puts itself in a more credible status than Killer Elite. Elliot Lester handles it in a manner of great efficiency, taking Nathan Parker's script and delivering a nuts-and-bolts, yet highly watchable crime thriller. The tone Lester takes with the film is wise, and there is a real nasty, grimy feel to the film not dissimilar to Michael Winner's Death Wish. It exudes this dirty kind of smell of whisky and fags, and frankly this really makes the movie. Speaking of grime, Ilan Eshkeri's original score is strong, as is additional soundtrack work from bands such as The Qemists, who all help contribute to the edginess that a film like Blitz really needs. Without this soundtrack, Blitz could have been a lot more boring, so it was refreshing to a bit of drum and bass in the form of Stombox in what could have been really dreary.

So yes, there you go, as I said, there is a lot that I liked about Blitz. However, there are also certain issues with Blitz that stop it from being the great film it really could have been. For starters, the script is in a number of ways a double-edged sword, for it's own strengths also turn out to be it's own weaknesses. Blitz will never be remembered as anything more than a good exploitation flick. Also, despite handling itself with efficiency, the movie felt at least a good twenty minutes longer than it was. For a ninety-minute film to feel as long as this, that isn't a good thing at all. Furthermore, the film is written in such a way that suggests it's attempts to tick all boxes in a marketing manner. Foot chase, check, killer does this, check, killer does that, check, all vaguely corrupt characters always get their comeuppances, check check. As a movie that has a strong jagged edge, it feels rather cheap to be structuring your film around these check-boxes. The ending too is a complete cop-out, feeling rather rushed and pasted on to a film that otherwise moves very well.

Despite it's obvious problems and inefficiencies that come with the film's double-edged sword of a script, Blitz is well worth a rental for the night in. The three main characters, particularly Paddy Considine, are on fine form, the film moves with efficiency backed up by a good soundtrack of drum and bass, and exudes a genuinely nasty exploitation film feel without trying to be anything more than it is.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 6.6/10

The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - Irritated (by runny nose!)

P.S. If you David Morrissey in your film, use him more!

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