Trust – Review

Trust (2011) 

Directed by David Schwimmer. Starring Clive OwenCatherine KeenerLiana Liberato

Whatever you might be expecting from “Friends” star turned-director David Schwimmer, get ready for an unexpected surprise, because this is certainly not it.

Trust is in fact quite a mature and complex drama about an even more mature and complex subject and though it might not be perfect, it certainly deserves a lot of credit and respect not only for tackling such a story, but also (and mostly) for its restrained approach throughout.

The film is not preachy, nor it pretends to have all the answers: it doesn’t offer any solution to an impossible situation and for most of its length, it manages to avoid the obvious clichés from the genre and just when you think you’ve seen it all before and it takes an unexpected and clever turn.

Schwimmer is aware of the complexities of its story and carefully manages to keep his vision very well balanced. He is subtle in his style and in the staging and direction of some truly great performances.

At the centre is the amazing performance by Liana Liberato as Annie, the teenage girl who befriends a stranger online, Charlie, who she thinks he’s about her age. Once the truth comes out (don’t worry, this happens quite early on in the film, so I’m not really giving away anything), and Annie discovers that Charlie is actually a lot older than he used to claimed, she’s first taken aback, but slowly begins to feel more and more attached to him, as she thinks he’s her first love and the only one who really understand her.

Ms Liberato despite her early age seems to have a remarkable understanding for that adolescent naïveté, that awkwardness and innocence that most teenagers seem to have and she portrays Annie to perfection, with all their weaknesses and strengths.

“Trust” is certainly not an easy watch. The scene with Charlie the “predator” in a motel room sitting on a bed next to Annie, is one of the most uncomfortable I’ve seen in quite a while: but like in all the best movies scenes of this kind, the tension is created by what you know and your expectations, not by what you see. And gracefully (and thankfully) Schwimmer shows us just about enough to get the idea across without exploiting the moment.

Schwimmer is actually an activist in the field of rape awareness in real life and his understanding of the complexities of the issue is certainly apparent on the screen.

If you hear David Schwimmer talking about this film you’ll hear him saying that this is really a film “from the point of view of the father”. And undoubtedly Clive Owen takes the center stage at some point in the film (and as always he’s pretty good too), but interestingly those are the parts I thought were probably the least successful in the film, all leading up to that final scene which felt to me a bit forced and actually slightly too melodramatic.

However these are just small points in an otherwise really powerful film, which should actually be a compulsory watch in schools and among teenagers. In reality, in the UK the film is rated 15 and in the US is R rated: which once again shows the usual close-mindedness of classifications on both side of the pond. Hopefully some kids will get to watch it anyway either on DVD or thanks to mature parents.

Oh, and that end credit sequence, which seems almost tagged on as an afterthought, is one of the creepiest thing in the film and leaves you with a really uncomfortable feeling as the credits roll, which I guess is the point of the film. On that respect, it’s a success.

7.5/10

The Tree of Life – Review

The Tree of Life (2011) 

Directed by Terrence Malick. Starring Brad PittSean PennJessica Chastain.

What really makes me angry about this film is that behind the preposterous, pretentious, tediously slow, shockingly simplistic muddle of philosophical clichés, there was actually a good story waiting to be told by a potentially great director.

Those scenes with the kids for example (whose acting was particularly graceful and natural) were indeed nicely handled and gave you a little hint of how much better the film could have been if only director Terence Malick had been a little bit less full of himself.

Instead he decided to cram it all with heavy, pretentious, superfluous, confusing and rather conventional voice over, plastered all over the soundtrack, preventing his audience from any emotional response to the film.

All that was enhanced even more by the constant choral musical score (including requiem from Bach, Mozart, Gorecki, Respighi, Holst and God knows how many others) which gave the film the same monotone feel throughout.

It’s as if there was only one gear controlling the pace of this film.

The parallel with Kubrick’s 2001: A space Odyssey comes quite natural: in a way this film has the same ideals and touches most of the same grounds as Kubrick’s classic and because of that, dare-I-say, falls into the exact same faults: the sketchy narrative, overblown abstractions and the slow pace.

By while in Kubrick’s’ case, those “faults” were also counterbalanced by the gripping relationship between man and machine and a strong sense of wonder towards heaven and earth, in the case of Malick’s Tree of Life, there’s a certain pompousness which makes it really annoying. Also it is both too inaccessible and too obvious. Finally Malick’s detatched style makes it really hard for anyone to care: in my very humble view the film should have been much more focused on the central story.

There was absolutely no need to show us the beginning of the Universe, nor the end of the dinosaurs age (incidentally, the dinosaurs looked better back in 1993 when Spielberg made Jurassic Park!). In fact, there was probably not even need for Sean Penn to be there at all: everything the film wanted to tell us was right there within the central story of the American family in the 50s.

And there was definitely no need for that terribly smultzy and contrived final sequence which was supposed to show the end of the world and give us a vision of “heaven” but  actually ended up looking more like some outtakes from the actual film’s wrap party, with all the actors re-uniting again and congratulating each other on how good they all were. Or was it just Malick’s own version of the finale of the TV series LOST?

Everything in the film is heavily soaked in symbolism and religion. I read somewhere that Brad Pitt’s character was supposed to symbolise the “Old Testament” and his wife was the “New Testament”. I did noticed that the two of them were never shown talking to each other, and if they were it was always through a glass or from far away or  even off-camera, preventing us from hearing their dialogue or to see them interacting with each other.

But does all this stylish trickery and heavy subtext really make the film any better? Certainly not for me.

In fact it  is all too disappointingly literal and frustratingly patchy that in the end it just comes out  as cold and distant. So much so that I just couldn’t really care about anyone in this film… and for a film that’s about life and love that is a terrible fault.

All these attempts to elevate the small-scale, intimate family drama by intercutting cosmic sequences of the beginning of the universe in order to give a deeper meaning to the soul-searching of the characters are finally not enough to compensate for a lack of dramatic involvement and in the end, they just overwhelm the actual story.

Even the beautiful cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki (where everything seems to be filmed at magic hour) becomes self-indulgent, repetitive and tedious. There’s only a certain amount of trees, waterfalls and shots of glinting sun flaring at the lens you can take.

It’s hard to believe that this is only Terence Malick’s 5th feature film as a director since 1973. The Tree of Life has all his distinct signature trademarks (the beautifully photographed shots of nature, the use voice over and music and the themes of the film themselves), but are they just trademarks or is he  actually making the same sort of film over and over again?

Whatever the answer is, apparently all this was enough for the judges in Cannes to assign it the Palme d’or, back in May 2011.

Some people in Cannes said that Malick is more of an “artist” then a film-maker. But as somebody once also said “to make art is to fail” and he clearly does fail with this film, mainly because he just tries too hard. If only he hadn’t aimed so high, he would have certainly made a better film, but as it stand “The Tree of Life” is an epic failure…

5.5/10

Source Code – Review

Source Code (2011) 

Directed by Duncan Jones. Starring Jake GyllenhaalMichelle MonaghanVera Farmiga

Source Code is a smart, suspenseful Sci-Fi action/thriller which takes the concept behind the hit comedy “Groudhog Day” and mixes it with some Twilight-Zone-Style elements in Hollywood style, for the post “Inception” era  (I know it sounds like a weird hybrid…) and somehow makes it the most exciting and original film I’ve seen this year.

As always the least you know about the film the better it is, but having said that, there are so many facets to Source Code, so many twists and turns that unless I sit down and tell you everything about it, you’ll still be surprised. But let me just tell you the rough plot, or at least the first few minutes.

Capt. Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) suddenly wakes up on a train in a state of complete confusion: the last thing he remembers is crashing his plane in Afghanistan and yet know he’s inside the body of a man named Sean. Across from him is Christina (Michelle Monaghan) who clearly knows him and yet he has no memory of her or any of the other people on the train heading to Chicago. Eight minutes later a bomb goes off and everyone on the train dies.

Colter wakes up again, this time he’s in a dark pod-like structure looking at a monitor with the face of a superior officer (Vera Farmiga), explaining to him that he’s part of a government experiment used to stop terrorism. Through a process called “Source Code”, Colter gets sent back (again and again and again) eight minutes before the moment before the explosion went off, find out where the bomb is and who set it and prevent a later and far greater attack by the same person in downtown Chicago.

Part of the fun of “Source Code” is watching our hero (Jake Gyllenhaal) re-live the same 8 minutes over and over again, each time in a slightly different way, each time getting closer and closer to the truth!

There are a couple of small clunky moments here and there (the biggest of which, is the scene, full of exposition, where we get told what “source code” is), but the sheer inventiveness, the fast pace and the emotional burden that the film carries are far greater that those little imperfections.

There are some debates about its ending (don’t worry, I’m not going to reveal it here). There is a point where you might think the film has actually ended: I’m referring to the long freeze frame (you’ll know what I mean when you see the film) and in fact it could have easily ended there, which would have made the film much more poignant and arguably better, but then the film carries on… and just when you think “Oh no, another Hollywood ending), the film takes a surprising final turn and gives you a few (slightly) unexpected twists right till the last moment and makes up for what you thought it was one of those “re-filmed-ending” after failed test screening.

There’s nothing better than a good unexpected ending! In the theatre where I watched it, it got everybody talking!

I haven’t had such fun watching a film in a very long time.

It’s a bit unfair to compare this with Inception (but it seems like everybody else is doing it). They are two completely different films and their only similarity is the fact that they both make you think and requires you to do some work while watching the story unfold.

However “Source Code” is an emotionally charged film too (while Inception, as we’ve  all noticed, was a tiny bit cold); I was almost moved to tears in couple of scenes and yet, the film still managed to have a lot of humor throughout (courtesy of Mr Gyllenhaal’s perfectly pitched performance).

What else can I say? I loved it! It might not be as stylish and fresh as Moon was (Duncan Jones’s previous film). This is certainly a bigger Hollywood fair, and a much more crowd-pleasing roller-coaster, but if you regard cinema as entertainment, you can’t get better than this!

9/10

The Last Exorcism – Review

The Last Exorcism

Directed by Daniel Stamm. Starring Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell, Iris Bahr.

The success at the box office of a film like “the Last Exorcism” can only prove one thing: there’s still a great hunger for horror out there… and it doesn’t matter if it’s good or not. There have probably been worse films but this takes the crown as the biggest letdown of them. For a short
moment I really thought the film could have become one of the defining horror of the decade, but, sadly, the things that are wrong with
it, mainly in the last act, are SO BAD that somehow they manage to ruin everything and eventually plunge this film into the “pit of catastrophe”, despite some good performances ere and there.

In order to prove my point I am going to have to spoil the hell out of it, so if you haven’t seen it or
you’re planning to waste… erm.. sorry, I meant “to spend”, 90 minutes of your precious life watching it, then stop reading right now.

“The last Exorcism” is actually a clever spin on the usual exorcist fare, but more than that it is the latest entry into that much exhausted “found footage” genre started off by Blair Witch 12 years ago (My God, has it been that long already?) .

The film is produced by Eli Roth who in the last few years has created a name for himself, with titles like Cabin Fever and the infamous Hostel, for pushing the boundaries of taste and gore. This time the “shock factor” is kept down to a minimum, which is what makes the first part of the film quite intriguing and succesful. Because of its premise the film manages to put to rest right from the start the ever-ending question of a type of mockumentary like this (Blair Witch Project, REC, Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity): why would the characters keep on filming, despite everything that’s happening? Would they actually been filming that instead of running away or saving their butts? It’s the sort of thing that usually annoys the hell out of me and pushes our suspension of disbelieve to absurd levels. In this case the plot requires the cameraman to actually film everything that’s going on.

A disillusioned evangelical minister, after years of performing exorcisms, decides to be filmed for a documentary exposing the fraud of exorcisms, proving that they do not really exist and it’s actually all in the heads of the people who think they are possessed… So far so good. The whole beginning of the film actually made me hope for something quite good: a new and intriguing take on the seen-before theme of exorcism.

However the film fails to keep it real by constantly breaking the rules of “mokumentary”, by having reverse angles, by adding sound effects and,
worse of all, a cheap music score underneath which goes for the cheap jumps out of your seats. Am I watching something which is
supposed to be real, or just a cheap heavy handled, tricksy, manipulative piece which doesn’t really care for its integrity but just wants to make me jump every time somebody goes “booo” on the screen?

It is a real shame, because I really thought this was working up to a certain point. And finally, a couple of words about the ending of the film, which is one of the most awful ending I can ever remember. It is so bad that it actually makes you forget all the good things you’ve seen up until that point.

I haven’t yet met a single person or read a single review that hasn’t actually mention how terrible it is!! How can that happen? Either they got cold feet and changed their mind at the last moment or they must be really stupid to even think for a moment that the audience could buy into something so stupid. They wanted to do a “Rosmary’s Baby” type of twist, without realizing that Rosmary’s Baby actually builds up for two hours towards the revelation. This one feels just like a last-minute turn.

In a way  “The last Exorcism” is the type of film that doesn’t really work for any kind of audience: the avid horror fans will get disappointed by the lack of “action” and “gore” (the marketing campaign is incredibly misleading!!), the people who like good storytelling and good twists (the Sixth sense fans) will hate its clunky turn and awful ending. All the others people who never really liked horror films will find no redeeming feature in this either.

The DVD and BlueRay has just come out and it’s packed with Special Features including 3 types of commentary tracks. It will be interesting to know if we learn anything more to explain how such bad ending was conceived. If anyone has listen to those commentaries or seen the many special features available, please let me know. I am not giving a single extra dime to Ely Roth.
5/10

 

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The Next Three Days – Review

The Next Three Days (2010) 

Director: Paul Haggis With: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks and Liam NeesonMichael Buie

This movie has been out in the US for a while, but for some reason somebody decided to release it against Harry Potter (I call it suicide) and it seems to have gone by without much attention from anyone. It’ll come out in the UK in January 2011 in the hope to get noticed for the forthcoming Award season mainly for Russell Crowe’s performance, but also because it’s been directed by an Oscar favorite, Paul Haggis (from Crash).

Hopefully if it doesn’t get noticed in the theaters, it’ll have a second life on DVD and Blu-ray, because it truly deserves to be seen.

Now, I know I am not going to say anything new here, but I’d like to stress that, like many others, this film is better enjoyed if you don’t know anything about it.

Keeping that in mind, I will try to spoil as little as I possibly can as I encourage you to go and watch it, especially if you like good thrillers. The trailer for “The Next Three Days” gives away 9/10 of the movie so stay away from it (thankfully I hadn’t seen it). It’s a real shame they decide to show that much in the trailer because some of the beauty of the film is actually not knowing where the whole thing heading to.

The basic plot is nothing new, in fact the film itself is a remake of the French”Pour Elle”: a normal family shaken by the sudden arrest of Russel Crowe’s wife, accused of murder. It all happens within the first few minutes so don’t worry about having that spoiled.

However, Haggis has managed to improve over the French film, not only by filling all the plot holes of the previous version but also by tinkering with the poor original ending, making it a lot better.

Every twist and turn in the movie comes as a surprise, whether it’s about the plot itself or the way the characters react to a certain situation. The film challenges any preconceptions the audience might have by  being constantly surprising and by making us change our minds on the crucial question running thorough “Is the wife guilty or is she innocent?”.

It’s all very skillfully handled, in its construction and its pace.

The film starts off deliberately slowly to allow us to get closer to the characters and then gets faster and faster towards the final act which ends up being a real edge-of-your-seat-thrill. It almost feels like one of those solid thrillers from the 80s or early 90s, more concerned about creating an atmosphere that having big chase sequences and explosions or shootouts. However when they finally do come, the tension has been so enhanced because of your emotional investment up until that point, that it all works perfectly.

It’s interesting to see Russell Crowe playing against type. We are so used to see him as the “Gladiator type”, looking for revenge, or simply for a fight, as his off-screen infamous personality merges into his characters. Yet in this film Russell Crowe is the sweetest man ever: a loyal husband, a great father… and basically just a good man. I have to confess I don’t really like the guy, and yet once again in this film I have to bow to actor’s ability to morph himself into the character. His intensity and charisma is undeniable and at the end the film works 10 times more than it should because of his bravura. His depiction of a good husband is all very carefully (and intentionally) done to make you sympathize and care for the character even if at some point in the movie he behaves pretty badly…

The supporting cast all all top class too, including an unexpected appearance by Liam Neeson.

It all probably takes itself a bit too seriously, almost trying to be more like “Conviction” than “Prison break”. There’s hardly any laugh in the whole film and at the end of the day this is a thriller and it’s not meant to change anyone’s life, but while you’re with it, you’ll certainly enjoy it.

8/10 (if you haven’t seen the trailer… a lot less if you have).

Inception – Review

INCEPTION 

Directed by Christopher Nolan. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen PageTom HardyKen WatanabeCillian MurphyTom BerengerMarion CotillardPete PostlethwaiteMichael CaineLukas Haas

THIS REVIEW ASSUMES THAT YOU HAVE SEEN THE FILM AND IT’S FILLED WITH SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FILM YOU SHOULD NOT READ IT, BUT YOU SHOULD GO OUT RIGHT NOW AND BUY YOURSELF A COPY ON DVD OR BLURAY !!

So much has been written and talked about this movie that it’s hard to say anything new about it. However I didn’t want to miss my chance to talk about what I thought was one of the most inventive and challenging blockbuster of the last few years (and the top film of the year in my view), and with its release on DVD and BluRay (I guess the first of many), to the risk of repeating what’s already been said, I’ll just add my voice to the many others among the people who loved this film.

I have already seen it three times and I guess I am now fully comfortable with its story and structure, but also I did notice the few cracks here and there.

However, it is so refreshing to finally see a big budget Hollywood movie that doesn’t treat its audience like a band of lobotomized idiots but actually attempts to do something a bit more challenging, beyond the silly Pirates of the Caribbean or the awful Transformers movies, but it seems to me that this is what blockbusters have become in the last few years. I honestly cannot remember what’s the last big Pop Corn summer movie I have enjoyed. Can anyone help?

This film makes no apologies for its labyrinthine structure and it’s as if  you could almost hear Nolan saying to me “c’mon, keep up! Keep up!”. It is a mentally draining experience (I don’t think I have been so exhausted since Nolan’s Memento, which I loved, or even Mullholland Drive, which I’m still trying to work out… ). Basically in this film if you miss even 5 minutes, you’re screwed! And I love it for it!

But the most interesting thing I noticed this time is that the film is actually made in such a way that even if you don’t completely understand it, you’ll understand it enough to be able to appreciate the action and the basic plot with its intricate layers of dreams.

You’re supposed to get lost in the beginning, but never lost enough to lose your patience… and then slowly you start to understand just enough to be able to cope with it… So basically, the film makes you believe that you are pretty clever in being able to work it out by yourself, while in fact the huge amount of exposition helps you immensely.

People have been criticizing the fact that half of the movie is essentially exposition, where the characters are telling you what’s going on and what they are going to do and how… Well, funnily enough I though that was part of the fun. I don’t mind exposition, if it’s done in a clever, fast and intriguing way like in Inception.

People have been criticize it for its cool and clinical approach to characters. I have been hearing people complaining about not feeling anything for Di Caprio’s internal  pain. Well, I don’t know what to tell them about that, but I thought the scene where Marion Cotillard commits suicide was actually emotionally incredibly strong and Di Caprio’s performance was pretty faultless. Yes, maybe Ellen Page’s character was just a functional piece of the puzzle but actually pretty two-dimensional, but hey, does it really matter? Was I sitting there thinking “Oh My God, what is she feeling? I want to know more about her?” No!! I was completely unwrapped in the story to notice any of that and it didn’t matter to me. Marion Cottilard is utterly terrifying as the ever-present ex-wife. Just her presence is enough for me to give me a great sense of unease. She’s perfect in it and she’s quickly becoming my favorite French actress. Cillian Murphy in his character manages to convey both strength and weakness: at the beginning you think he’s got the world in his hands and at the end you almost feel pity for him and you understand his pain. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is incredibly watchable. Surely it must not be too easy to be next to Di Caprio and come out just as strong and sympathetic as he does. We’ll be hearing a lot about him (but then again, I was already a fan from the time he did “Mysterious Skin”). Tom Hardy is the surprise of the film. I knew what to expect by all the other ones, but Hardy really took me by surprise and did so much with what was quite an underdeveloped character, making him likable, sharp and witty. Finally I should probably mention Michael Caine, who does almost nothing in this film, and yet, just by the fact that he’s there he gives me a sense of security and serenity that it’s un-replaceable.

Also the visuals obviously are so stunning that you sort of want to forgive even any little character development. The CGI effects in Paris are some of the best ones and most inventive I have seen in recent times. It is so hard nowadays to still be able to amaze us with any Visual Effects and yet Nolan has been able to do it over and over again in this film. It’s the combination of clever Production Design, imaginative Visual (and most of the time Practical) Effects that make it work seamlessly.

The corridor sequences are just a joy to watch and the cross-cutting between the van falling off the bridge in slow motion and all the other levels is just so pleasing and works so well: it’s intricate and yet so simple at the same time, so much so that you wonder why hasn’t anyone done it before?

Where the film falls a bit is in the final act, the so-called “James Bond moment”, that is when we get to the level with all the snow. Maybe because at that point it becomes in part almost like a normal action film, and actually not a very good one either. The staging of the shootout and the chase sequences on the snow are all pretty average and slightly drawn out. Mind you at that point there are so many other things going on and you’ve been so bombarded by so much that you don’t really mind it too much, but it is the weakest part of the film in my view. Also in a way, since you are in a dream, they should have probably pushed it a bit further. But hey, I’m really picking needles here.

I wish all the blockbusters were just 20% as inventive, challenging and beautiful to look at as Inception was. I can’t wait to see what Nolan does next (well of course, Batman 3… but I mean beyond that).

9/10


The Walking Dead (s01 e03)

The walking Dead – Episode 3  (7/10)

EPISODE 3 – Tell It to the Frogs

Director: Gwyneth Horder-Payton.  Writers: Frank Darabont, Charles H. Eglee, Jack LoGiudice

CAST: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Michael Rooker, Juan Gabriel Pareja, Emma Bell, Andrew RothenbergMaddie Lomax

It’s interesting to see how different these last three episodes have all been.
The first one (arguably the best) has been setting up a perfect eerie and uneasy mood. It was truly scary despite the fact that it was marching through a very well-known territory (both the settings and the actually zombies themselves are nothing new and yet it was all terrifying).
The second episode went for the gore and it felt almost like a parody of the genre itself (by saying that I don’t mean to criticise it, however some of the “yuk factor” was so over the top that somehow it became less scary).
Now, having set up the main story and the characters, finally this third episode can afford slow things down a bit. Gone is the eerie atmosphere and the splatter  factor (a part from one scene, where a head gets chopped off). Gone are also the big action set pieces and they all seem to have given way for more character-building scenes.
The makers are obviously aware that this is a TV series after all, where from episode to episode we get to know more and more about each character and they have decided to exploit the format to their advantage by pushing all the right emotional buttons at their disposal.
Last week in my review I wrote that I was afraid the series might end up looking more like a soap opera, but I now happy to say that I was wrong.
What could have been really cheesy sequences about a family being re-united and about a wife betraying the memory of his dead husband by cheating with his ex best friend, in this third episodes exploded into some of the most emotional sequences in the whole series yet, mainly thanks to a particularly well handled direction and some excellent performances.
I must confess , when or main character, Rick Grimes, finally sees his wife and child again, I was almost brought to tears
One  also has to appreciate the boldness of the makers who mercifully went straight for the punch lines and the “big reveal” without over-stretching the storyline of the return of the thought-to-be-dead-husband into 3 or 4 episodes.
Let’s just see how will they now handle the “betrayal” stuff and let’s hope they’ll be able to keep the pace up.
On the downside, I still have some problems with predictably of some of the set ups; for example (SPOILER AHEAD) the fact that the guy on the roof would have use the saw to free himself from the handcuffs was basically telegraphed from last week.
However, for the time being,  I’m still hooked to this.
7/10

The Walking Dead (s01.e02)- Review


The Walking Dead

(episode 2) 7/10

Created by Frank Darabont. Directed by Michelle Maxwell MacLaren. With Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie HoldenJeffrey DeMunnSteven YeunChandler RiggsMichael Rooker

I might have built up too much expectation after first episode last week and even though I still enjoyed this second part, I didn’t find it as stylish nor compelling as the first one.

Gone were all those long silences and eerie atmosphere that made the pilot so intriguing, scary and horrific (in a good one, of course). What was basically a one man show has now become filled with a series of new characters, most of whom are not defined enough to care.

However what lacked in mood was definitely compensated by action packed sequences and a lot of gore, possibly even more than in the first episode, to the point of parody. Which brings me to ask: “what kind of a series does this want to be?” Is it going to be a horror series, or is it going to be a bit of a parody? The whole subplot about  Andrew Lincoln‘s wife and her affair with the ex partner (and friend) scares me a little bit. I really hope this is not going to turn into a soap opera…

I didn’t particularly like the fact that the zombies themselves seem to have learnt how to run and jump over fences on this one. I thought they couldn’t run on the previous episode. Are we back to “28 days later” territory again? And taking about ripping things off from other movies, the idea of having a group of people seeking shelter from zombies in a shopping mall is lifted from Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.

Also I thought that the whole dropping the key into the hole moment, was a bit silly… Surely they could have found a better excuse to leave that guy handcuffed.

Anyway, the production value is still pretty high and I to be honest I did have a lot of fun watching this (in fact the episode felt faster than the first one did. Was it shorter by any chance?) but I am fearing that it could all possibly run out of steam or ideas sooner than I though.

I’m rating it with a 7 mainly because  I still have a little bit of excitement left from the first episode. Let’s hope it doesn’t go below that.

7/10

Click here to read the review of  EPISODE 1 

Click here to read the review of EPISODE 3

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