Michael Douglas vs. the yakuza in Ridley Scott’s Black Rain

Ridley Scott’s police thriller Black Rain (1989) opens in New York City at a time when The Meatpacking District actually was a meatpacking district. Tough cop Nick (Michael Douglas) is a ridiculously aggressive, foul-mouthed tough guy who tools around the city astride his crotch rocket. The despised Internal Affairs department suspects him of being a […]

Material Witness: Ridley Scott’s Someone to Watch Over Me

Ridley Scott’s Someone to Watch Over Me (1987) is more of a drama than a police thriller, refreshingly focused on its characters over suspense and action alone. Mike Keegan (Tom Berenger) is a salt-of-the-earth Queens detective assigned to protect material witness Claire (Mimi Rogers) from assassination. Keegan is a modest family man, recently promoted to […]

Le fugitif: Guillaume Canet’s Ne le dis à personne (Tell No One)

Tell No One enjoyed a surprisingly wide US theatrical release for a French film without huge English-speaking stars (except for Englishwoman Kristin Scott Thomas, perfectly fluent in French). Roger Ebert rightly compared the tightly crafted thriller with The Fugitive, placing it squarely in Hitchcockian wrong-man-accused territory. Pediatrician Alex Beck (François Cluzet) finds himself the prime […]

Michael Mann’s stylish but slight Miami Vice (2006)

Miami Vice is decidedly slight on character and depth, which is not surprising considering the source material. It is quite so, however, considering writer/director Michael Mann‘s track record once leaving the iconic 80s tv show behind. The deep characterization in all his crime dramas ranging from Thief through Collateral elevate them above the ultrastylized and […]

Red Eye

I had heard Red Eye was a refreshingly unpretentious thriller that played on Americans’ changed relationship with air travel in a post 9/11 world. While technically true, it’s actually a very disappointing runaround decidedly lacking in the most routine pleasures that come with thrillers. Where’s the expected third-act twist? Is the twist that there actually […]

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