Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Crooks and/or Hooks

Stephen Frears debut film Gumshoe is a Chandler homage starring a fresh-ish faced Albert Finney as a club comic who puts an ad in the local papers and sets himself up a private detective with only a passion for film and books to back him up. As you'd imagine his first case is quite tasty and he winds up neck deep in intrigue involving arms, apartheid, heroin and of course dames. It's pretty entertaining with a quick wit, great cast and a razor sharp script but it lacks a little danger as Finney starts digging around. Filmed in 71 there's plenty of retro Liverpool & London on show as well as a fair bit of racism which I guess was to be expected, still, this is a funny, overlooked British thriller that's worth catching.

Following the success of Euro horrors Dead Snow and Troll Hunter the Dutch are chipping in with Saint, a grisly spin on their particular Yuletide mythos. A weary detective tries to convince colleagues about the imminent arrival of Saint Nicholas heralded by the Xmas conjunction with a full moon, unheeded the murderous character turns up with his troupe of evil elves and they start hacking up the inhabitants of Amsterdam. There's plenty of gore, dismemberment and skewering but all the blood can't hide a poor script, 2D characters and a feeble, cheesy denoument. Wouldn't bother.

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