Directed by: John Crowley. So it turns out this is the same guy who did Intermission—a lovely little Irish crime/comedy caper thing that I found quite charming in the pre-blog era—and also a few episodes of the recent True Detective, including the epic (but to me unintelligible) final episode. And it was written by my man Steven Knight, whose Locke was amazing, and whose Peaky Blinders was kind of so-so (so much so-so that I haven’t dug into the second season yet, despite the Noah Taylor bait). But what this movie actually reminded me of was Incendiary, and not in a good way. I guess to be fair, the only thing this movie shares with that dud is a terrorist attack in London and a drama that’s not that good. Now, in the case of Incendiary, the drama was really not that good, and in this case, the drama is only a bit not that good. Mostly, I’m let down because I had such high hopes for this movie, fresh from re-watching Munich again (which I guess right now is one of my favourite movies) and Bana’s amazing performance, and remembering his amazing performance in Chopper, and realizing that I guess everything I’ve seen him do has been pretty fantastic. He’s pretty good in this and everything, but the film itself just isn’t that great, and it doesn’t give him all that much to do. And that applies to my man Ciarán Hinds too, who in addition to also doing a great performance in Munich, did great performances in tons of other shit (Rome, Veronica Guerin, one of the seasons of Prime Suspect), but who just didn’t get a ton of stuff to do here. As with everyone in the movie, what they got handed to them, they pulled off quite well. I don’t really know Rebecca Hall—at first glance I only recognized her as the uptight character foil in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, but I apparently totally didn’t even register her appearance in The Prestige, Frost/Nixon, or Iron Man 3, all of which she was also in. So maybe I’m just a sexist shitbag, but from what I did see of her, I wouldn’t say she’s a bad actor because she isn’t, but she just has a weird kind of amorphous, bland quality that reads as something lacking rather than something striking and memorable. I guess that sounds harsh. But even in the movie poster, I was like “oh, a movie with Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams”, and I was kind of let down to see it wasn’t Rachel, it was just this other lady. And then when I saw what she had to offer, it was just kind of…blah, you know? I really hope she never reads this because I know that actors are real people, etc, and I’m treating this blog like it’s a vacuum, but that’s just how I felt. So maybe I’ll have to see her in a few other things to really make up my mind. She seemed fine in the Woody Allen movie, and to be fair, the rest of this film just kind of didn’t do it for me. The only performances that really jumped out at me were Jim Broadbent (a staple, but really he was quite good in this), and Riz Ahmed, who I wouldn’t have pegged for a Brit from that great shlumpy role he had in Nightcrawler. Honestly, all this talk about a black Bond shouldn’t discount a brown Bond, cuz Riz was pretty fuckin smooth and menacing in this movie. As for the story, I wouldn’t say it’s a typical government conspiracy, cynical, anti-authority, you-can’t-trust-the-government movie, but it kind of doesn’t amount to much more than that. And the nods they have to give to the suspense-thriller, action-chase type stuff kind of mean that it comes off as a less good version of both parts. It’s not a very cerebral potboiler about political espionage, and it’s not a very riveting action thriller. This is an awfully long post for a bunch of hazy griping, so I’ll close it with a not particularly helpful suggestion—next time, please consider Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly?