Fearful Symmetry

Film. Books. Comics. TV. Music.

Posts Tagged ‘Thriller

Complicity by Iain Banks

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Book...

Book...

I first read Complicity in a day. The narrative locks you in from the opening words – in the second person, ‘you do this, you do that’, making you complicit in the action – and does not let you go all the way through the intense plot until the final downbeat paragraphs.

Cameron Colley is a hack journalist who tries to emulate his hero Hunter S Thompsom, if not in writing success then at least in narcotics consumption. He’s just cocked up his big chance at writing the big story. But now he has a hope of redemption. An anonymous ‘Deep Throat’ has been contacting him giving him clues to an apparently unconnected series of gruesome murders that point the way to the fact that the victims were all part of a conspiracy to create a shady arms deal. However as the investigation continues Cameron ends up having to confront issues arising from his own family history.

Banks underscores the action with a long scream of anger against the right wing establishments that allow such arms deals to go ahead, even to be encouraged. Although there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since it was written, these issues are still relevant, if not more so when considering examples like the references to the first Gulf War. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fearful Symmetry

July 17, 2009 at 10:42 am

Bird Of Prey

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Hunter...

Hunter...

The two series of this great computer conspiracy thriller originally came out in the early 80s. I can remember watching it at the time and being totally captivated. It was fairly recently re-released on DVD and but I’m now prompted to write about it after a friend, knowing my obsession with the program, sent me the tie-in novelisation that he had come across in a charity shop.

Richard Griffiths – who’s probably now most well-know for playing in the Uncle Dersley in the Harry Potter films – stared as Henry Jay, a mild-mannered middle-ranking civil servant. He starts almost comically ordinary – his hobby is stamp collecting. He bumbles into a international criminal conspiracy while trying to increase his chances of being promoted by fattening up the file he had written on computer security with the help of copper he knows in the City of London Fraud Squad. The events then slowly because almost insanely complex (especially in the follow up series) with Griffiths on the run from a web of international criminals, having to use his knowledge of computer security to survive. The advantage of DVD is you can watch it at your leisure now so the arcane plot becomes less of a problem. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fearful Symmetry

July 14, 2009 at 10:24 am

Hidden

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Spy cam

Spy cam

Hidden is a mystifying film that does not leave you disappointed, largely because, although it is very open in terms of plot resolution, it is a satisfyingly closed journey emotionally. Seeing this film came to me on the back of many positive reviews and a great deal of word of mouth encouragement and I can only add to that.

Daniel Auteuil plays a bourgeois intellectual with a wife (brilliantly performed by Juliette Binoche) and young son whose current satisfied life is disrupted by the arrival of a number of videos showing his apartment – it’s obvious he’s being spied on. Then the videos start arriving wrapped in disturbingly violent, childish drawings. As Auteuil tries to find out who is spying on him, the slow evolution of the plot opens up cracks in the family (Is Binoche having an affair? What’s going on with the kid?) and winds up the tension until you are not sure what’s going to happen, but whatever it is you know it’s not going to be good. This all ends up relating back both to Auteuil’s childhood plus to events in recent French history that still have relevance today. There are a few odd moments – a bit of symbolism is very heavy-handedly done – but overall it’s one of the better films of recent years. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fearful Symmetry

July 8, 2009 at 10:06 am

The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift

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I love you more than my car

I love you more than my car

Well I only watched this expecting some cool shots of Tokyo… those I got but there’s not much else here.

The plot is so by the numbers I was predicting actual scenes as they came up. There’s this poor but cool racing guy with a southern accent. After one race too many against the stupid jock who runs the school (and whose dad is of course rich and powerful) he’s got the choice of going to Japan or going to jail (an aspect of the American legal system that I must admit had previously escaped me). I loved the ultra-cliched bit where he turns up at his dad’s house (which is naturally the size of shoe box) and dad has to turn out ‘central casting’s dodgy-looking Japanese woman’. It’s really handy that once out hero arrives in Japan the one person who talks to him at lunch can get him into the local street racing scene. In between the car stuff there is a lot of frankly boring sub-par philosophy and a rubbish love story, where the hick hero falls for the odd looking local gangster’s moll ignoring all the j-babes around him. These are frankly agony to sit through. The bad guy is so over the top with the jealous staring and face-offs it looks like he’s got some sort of gay crush on the hero. There’s a road race towards the end that manages to include every significant bit of neon in the whole of Tokyo.

Naturally it ends in a big race between the goodie and the baddie and the baddie wins… heh, only kidding. I suppose if you are into car-porn you might like it but I’m afraid I could not really summon up enough of my inner fourteen-year old to enjoy it.

Written by Fearful Symmetry

June 28, 2009 at 6:34 pm