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Duplicity March 28, 2009

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Tony Gilroy’s latest directorial venture is a corporate espionage thriller featuring a romantic entanglement between Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. Like his previous film, Michael Clayton, this one is quite complicated too. Little can be divulged about the plot without give away anything or lying. But the title of the film describes the intent of the characters and the film accurately. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Duplicity is “contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action; especially: the belying of one’s true intentions by deceptive words or action”.

Gilroy, who co-wrote the Bourne movies, is no stranger to thrillers. The premise is intriguing, the dialogue is solid and the screenplay is gripping. Unlike Bourne or Clayton, this film also has its share of lighter moments. The opening scene at the airport hangar sets the tone for the film and is one that stayed with me after.

Julia Roberts and Clive Owen are a treat to watch and the supporting cast is first rate. Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Lady In The Water), in particular, is superb as the unscrupulous CEO who wants to beat his competitor at any cost. Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton), in a smaller part, plays his nemesis.

While this film requires you to pay attention and utilize your gray matter, it isn’t the sort of film that makes you ponder. Duplicity is more mainstream than Michael Clayton and should find favor with audiences that enjoy this genre and do not mind a convoluted non-linear narrative.

Taken March 20, 2009

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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An ex-spy is trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter, who now lives with her mom and wealthy stepdad. The daughter goes off to France with a friend despite his reluctance to send her alone. Both girls are taken away in a bid to push them into prostitution. Now, it is upto to the father to use his skills and connections to get his daughter back.

Taken has a simple plot, a focused screenplay and a lot of action that does not fall under the stylish but unbelievable category. Bryan Mills is a more believable spy than Jason Bourne or James Bond and in a way, less exciting too. Unlike the Transporter action franchise, also commissioned by producer and co-writer Luc Besson, this film lacks humor but its pace and 91 minute length keeps you from noticing.

In contrast to my expectations, Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List, Love Actually) actually looks quite good with a gun. The entire film depends on his portrayal of the spy and his success at the task lends credence to the film.

Taken is an unexpected success at the box office and isn’t a bad watch if you are looking for a simple, well-paced action film.