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Tag: Benicio Del Toro

QuickView: Reptile (2023)

“Everyone is a suspect.”

Tom Nichols

At the heart of Grant Singer’s thriller is a captivating performance by Benicio Del Toro, reminiscent of his turn in Sicario, as a beaten-down cop who’s past trauma and world-weariness inform his posture and movement as much as his expression, and one only wishes that this portrayal could be transferred to a more deserving film than Reptile. Over the course of a single investigation into the murder of a real estate agent, officer Tom Nichols comes to question the loyalty of everyone around him. Singer succeeds in replicating the ominous tension of Fincher’s thrillers, but he does so without modulation — to have the same unsettling tone pervade every inoccuous action for over two hours is artlessly gruelling. Likewise, plot developments arise suddenly and inorganically, with no clues for sharp-eyed viewers to pick up. The result is an exhausting experience for a rapidly disengaged audience. The supporting performances are generally adequate but hampered by the script, with only Alicia Silverstone standing out as Tom’s wife, acting as a sounding board and assisting his investigative process. The quality of Del Toro’s work is enough to keep us on the hook but, as Reptile reaches its inevitably violent conclusion after two hours, the audience certainly shares in Tom’s fatigue.


QuickView: The French Dispatch (2021)

“There is a particular sad beauty… well-known to the companionless foreigner as he walks the streets of his adopted preferably moonlit, city. In my case, Ennui, France.”

Roebuck Wright

Whilst there has always been a literary chic aesthetic to Wes Anderson’s films, The French Dispatch is an ode to the art of long-form journalism — rather than being divided into chapters, this is really a collection of short films masquerading as articles. The fictional French town of Ennui-sur-Blasé (literally “boredom on apathy”) is fittingly named, and even the colour palette eschews the bold saturation one expects from Anderson; yet within this disaffected community, the writers seek out — and perhaps manifest — absurdly colourful tales. The quality is distinctly uneven, Anderson seeming to have little to say with the content of the stories so much as their loquacious delivery. The most creative is also the most entertaining, a food review that morphs into an unpredictable heist. Although that earns the film a strong closing, it cannot resolve the disconnected narrative of a vapidly kitsch tale of student protest or a bizarrely aggressive travelogue. Fans of Wes Anderson will find plenty of details to enjoy, together with the de rigueur stellar ensemble cast, but The French Dispatch does not rank amongst his strongest work.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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