Mini-Reviews: Getaway, Closed Circuit, The Frozen Ground







“Do what I say, or your wife will die.”

“Steal it.”





“Smash everything you can!”
“I can’t!”
“You have no choice!”


“The water truck. Smash into it.”


“Wonderful, Mr. Brent Magna!””

Read the rest of this delightful thinkpiece at Movie Mezzanine.

Closed Circuit:

“Make no mistake, Closed Circuit is far from a groundbreaking genre entry. It boasts no marquee performances or riveting action sequences, and provides no memorable lines or showdowns. However, Crowley and screenwriter Steven Knight deliver conspiracy genre thrills with stylistic attention paid to our ultra-timely mistrust of government surveillance. Everyone in the cast does admirable work, but the real star of the film is the camera, forever peering at the actors from across streets, around corners, behind windows, and through gates. Nearly every set is packed with tall glass windows, and almost every scene contains a myriad of extras, all of whom look suspiciously innocuous. Every cause for suspicion and every potential source of danger is magnified, so that despite the somewhat by-the-numbers nature of the plot, a thick tension prevails. Surveillance isn’t helping the surveilled; it’s helping the surveillants imprison someone underneath a series of camera lenses and phone taps. Their secrets remain hidden, the circuit of knowledge closed behind doors and cameras. Closed Circuit wrings some thrills from the scary possibilities of what lies within that loop; it’s nothing new yet succeeds in feeling relevant.”

Read the rest at Movie Mezzanine.

The Frozen Ground:

If you’re like me, when you hear the synopsis “Nicolas Cage is a cop pursuing a serial killer played by John Cusack,” you imagine some type of force-5 level hamfest, packed to the brim with explosions of screams, clenched jaws, and pounded fists. The Frozen Ground, Scott Walker’s film based on a real Alaskan serial killer, is not that movie. It defies expectations, preferring to slowly build character, preferring the ticking clock counting down to the next inevitable murder to anything resembling the action one would expect from this pairing. Cage in particular does nice restrained work here, and Vanessa Hudgens has taken bounds toward becoming an actress no longer associated with Disney, giving a full-bodied characterization of what could have easily been a one-note damaged hooker role. Some strange choices hold the film back, however: there are far too many lingering camera shots of Hudgens’ body at the strip club, turning the audience unwillingly into the type of creep that Cage is hunting down, and a subplot starring 50 Cent as a pimp with a hilariously awful wig is bizarre, to say the least. At film’s end, I was left feeling like I’d watched a stretched-out, slightly more cinematic version of a Criminal Minds episode. The restraint from hamfistedness is admirable, but it does notably dull down the proceedings. While Walker’s choice to have his cast underplay the parts deserves accolades on a conceptual level, I found myself longing for something more compelling in execution. The Frozen Ground will be a fine way to pass the time for fans of procedural crime drama; others may be, ahem, left cold.

~ by russellhainline on September 3, 2013.

2 Responses to “Mini-Reviews: Getaway, Closed Circuit, The Frozen Ground”

  1. thaaaaaaaaaanx

  2. Great reviews — all three. Staying well away from Getaway, but I like what you had to say about The Frozen Ground. I’m curious.

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