The heist film is a tried and true formula for genre moviemaking. There’s no denying the simple pleasures of watching a team of “who’s who” stars work together to either steal their way to wealth and luxury…or perhaps get punished for it. Steve McQueen’s sprawling Chicago-set crime saga, Widows, follows in the footsteps of the classic heist films, the Heats and Dog Day Afternoons of the world, and forges its path with a mixture of social commentary and an examination of our obsessions with tales of teamwork and thievery.
Imagine the sprawling & cynical political bite of John Le Carre’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy filtered through the pulpy hyper-reality of the John Wick movies and starring Charlize Theron as James Bond: that is Atomic Blonde.
The countdown continues…again!
The countdown continues!
2016 wasn’t the best year for movies if you didn’t go out of your way to actively seek ones outside the major releases. However, not all of us have the time to either go to the theaters or dig into post-festival favorites. This year I’ve curated my recommendations for 2016’s best movies. Many films were solid-to-good this year but I must admit it was easier this year to weed out what I thought veered into “excellence” in terms of offering that perfect mix of “new & exciting or ambitious” and/or accessible to general viewers. This list spans mega-budget spectacle to micro-budget indie films, strange foreign pictures and like all my other omnibus reviews attempts to rate or encapsulate the range of what cinema offered this year.
Without further ado, the countdown:
I was first introduced to the filmmaker Jacques Audiard with the intense crime opus A Prophet. That film was easily one of the greatest crime dramas this side of The Godfather, it followed a Muslim teen sent to prison who rises in the world of France’s organized crime both as a matter of necessity and in order to better his lot in life. I’m here to tell you that while Dheepan is not a step forward for Audiard, the film nonetheless represents everything that makes him one of the truly exciting voices in contemporary cinema. Like that 2009 feature (which was France’s entry into the Academy Awards at the time) Dheepan is harrowing saga about people who go through tremendous suffering on their way to freedom in a country that isn’t their own.