The 2021 List: May

Well, there goes May rushing off into the rainy sunset. Just as well the month was saved by some good, albeit not Great, movies, ‘cos the weather here in Blighty was diabolical – even as far as UK summers go, this one’s looking to be going the way of the Star Trek franchise. And in Television-land, Line of Duty proved that Game of Thrones isn’t the only long-running series that should have called it quits while the going was good. But hey, I had my second jab last week…


50) Line of Duty Season Six

59) Love, Death & Robots Vol.2


49) King of New York (1990)

51) Promising Young Woman (2021)

52) Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (2020)

53) Unthinkable (2018)

54) Honest Thief (2020)

55) Johnny O’Clock (1947)

56) The Dark Past (1948)

57) City of Fear (1959)

58) The Sniper (1952)

60) Army of the Dead (2021)

Columbia Noir: The Sniper (1952)

cn3dI was surprised to discover just how much of a precursor Edward Dmytryk’s serial-killer-with-a-rifle flick is to Don Siegel’s Dirty Harry, the latter film’s Scorpio killer even terrorising the same city (poor San Francisco) with both films featuring sequences of the rooftops as a place of danger and ‘death from above’. Most surprising of all, in some ways, is how The Sniper is intellectually perhaps more sophisticated than the 1971 film- the villain of the 1952 noir is handsome, all-American guy Eddie Miller (Arthur Franz) who knows he’s mentally disturbed and keeps trying to stop what he’s doing, actually trying get caught and returned to hospital. Andrew Robinson’s Scorpio killer looks shady, acts crazy and is just plain evil, enjoying what he’s doing- a frankly one-dimensional villain, fitting the Siegel film’s simplistic black and white narrative. Film noir of course, for all it being actually filmed in black and white, is thankfully often more nuanced than might be expected, and The Sniper is indeed more complex than the later exploitation flick. 

Its impossible to over-estimate the impact this film likely had back in 1952, considering its subject matter and quite graphic murders. Its rather progressive social commentary, calling for better mental health services and understanding of those who are a possible danger to society, curiously echoes sentiments delivered in The Dark Past, another film in this Indicator set. What likely made The Sniper so radical at the time is how it gets us ‘into’ the mind of the conflicted Eddie, marking him a victim himself – not excusing his actions but possibly explaining them. The way the film portrays him repeatedly as an ‘outsider’, as someone who doesn’t fit in or really understands how to be accepted in society, also reminded me greatly of Taxi Driver. No-one has any compassion for Eddie, not even children in the street who turn upon him when he attempts to join in their ball game, and even a customer who is friendly towards him casts him away as soon as her boyfriend turns up (this rejection actually triggering him to enact his first murder).

The one thing in this film that didn’t ring true -and actually annoyed the hell out of me- was Gerald Mohr as detective Joe Ferri, younger sidekick of elder-statesman/case leader Lt. Frank Kraft (Adolphe Menjou). Mohr seems to think he’s in some boys-own adventure film or that he’s somehow the actual lead hero- he grins like an idiot throughout and poses all the time (he holds his gun like its a toy). I suppose he reckoned he was a matinee heartthrob, and can imagine him asking his agent “do I look good?” in every scene and its a horrible performance that grates throughout, he’s just terrible and watching him run, gun in hand, towards Eddie’s building near the films climax was cringe-inducing (“hey, look ma, its me!” kind of thing). One of those cases where an acting performance is clearly NOT trying to serve the movie, I’ve discovered that Mohr features in the noir classic Gilda that I bought on disc a few weeks back that I shall be watching for the first time soon. A cautionary discovery!

Arthur Franz is thankfully very good as the conflicted Eddie. He’s quite sympathetic in a role that could usually be a one-note crazy bastard (again, see Andrew Robinson’s Scorpio killer) and he succeeds in earning our empathy even after killing women in cold blood. I thought it was clever, possibly even daring, casting a handsome actor who looks like your typical Hollywood ‘wholesome good-guy’ as such a dangerous unhinged individual. It certainly gets our attention and curiosity regards what makes him tick and the source of his mad rages- not the usual consideration when watching a Hollywood villain.

Columbia Noir: The Dark Past (1948)

cn3bI can’t very well ridicule contemporary films for excessive plot contrivances and let something like The Dark Past get away with it. This noir is so laden with leaden coincidence after coincidence that it largely collapses under their weight: prison escapee Al Walker (an astonishingly young and handsome William Holden who is clearly better suited to playing good guys than bad) on the run with his gang of accomplices that includes his girlfriend Betty (Nina Foch) holes up in the lakeside weekend retreat of -get this- University Criminal psychology professor Andrew Collins (Lee J.Cobb) who endeavours to analyse Walker and break the pattern of Walker’s violence while being held hostage. Based on a play and centred largely within one location, the film tries to intensify the tension of Collins and Walker’s sparring and attempts to suggest that criminal behaviour can be ‘cured’ and criminals rehabilitated through psychoanalysis. This may have been a progressive and revelatory idea at the time, but in practice it feels rather over-simplistic.

Both William Holden and Lee J. Cobb are in fine form but the material they have to work with isn’t strong enough, so they over-compensate in their heated arguments leaving the performances feeling a little ‘off’. Nina Foch benefits from a stronger role than she got in Johnny O’Clock, certainly- indeed she may be the films finest asset and I haven’t seen her as good as this up to now. This Indicator release includes a very interesting video interview with film historian Pamela Hutchinson about Foch’s life and career which is an excellent supplement to her roles in various entries of  this noir series, and proves a compelling reason to re-examine, for instance, what I considered a lesser film, Escape in the Fog, in light of her subsequent roles and career (which is to say, what a great special feature and further example of what’s great about these physical releases). 

So most likely one of this set’s lesser entries, but as usual with noir from this period, there is something quite seductive about this films milieu- the setting and décor, particularly of the lakeside retreat that looks utterly gorgeous and so of its time. And the film even features a (presumably early) role for Lois Maxwell, familiar to us now for her role as Miss Moneypenny in the early James Bond films. I wonder what twist of fate and career brought her to this supporting role (she plays Collin’s wife) in a Columbia noir? I guess that’s another story, and unfortunately one not revealed in the extras, unless its revealed in the commentary track which I haven’t listened to yet.

Best Picture

I still haven’t watched my 4K disc of The Sting yet. The knowledge that it won the Best Picture Oscar in 1973 has set me thinking about other Best Picture winners that I have yet to see (then again, its even worse when I consider all the best Picture nominees from each year that I’ve also not seen). Mind, the credential of a film winning Best Picture means very little in my eyes. ‘Best Picture Oscar’ is almost a oxymoron: I’ve been curious about it since back in 1978 when Star Wars didn’t win the award. In hindsight I realise its almost a wonder that Star Wars even got nominated (no science fiction film has ever won, I believe) but when one considers the impact the film had on Hollywood and pop culture, how popular the film was… I know, the Best Picture isn’t a judgement of popularity (at least outside of Academy voters) but back then when my twelve-year old self tutted in disgust when something called Annie Hall won…. thus began my long disgust with that Oscar statue.

Okay, maybe Annie Hall was (and is) the better movie by some criteria. But is Annie Hall talked about today as much as Star Wars still is? Did later generations watch Annie Hall as much as Star Wars? Does such perspective even matter?

Looking back on some of the Best Picture nominees and winners is awfully interesting though. Oliver! (yep, never seen it) won in 1968, and 2001: A Space Odyssey wasn’t even a nominee (Funny Girl, The Lion in Winter, Rachel, Rachel and Romeo and Juliet were). Its probably a bad example as its raising my genre leanings but all the same, 2001 was one of the most important and ground-breaking films ever made and never even registered a nomination? Its like the Academy favours ridicule. But that’s me judging that year’s awards through the lens of my personal leanings and the benefit of fifty years of hindsight (fast-forward to 1989 and Driving Miss Daisy winning Best Picture, or 1998 when Shakespeare in Love won over both Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line for more examples of Academy nonsense- don’t they know movies?).

So anyway, it set me thinking. I’m not going to go rush out and watch each years nominees and see if I agree with the winner, because I know already that most of the time I wouldn’t. The Oscar for Best Picture is an hoary old chestnut that surfaces every year, and looking at some of each years lists, even the lists of nominees (limited to five in the past, although that’s since been relaxed for some odd reason) is rather dubious, as 1968 teaches us. But some years were bloody daft. 1979: Kramer vs Kramer (won), All That Jazz, Breaking Away, Norma Rae and… Apocalypse Now (okay, that’s just insane, Coppola was clearly robbed).

Some years were just incredible mind, especially during the 1970s. 1974: The Godfather Part II won, can’t really begrudge it that, but its competition included nominations for Chinatown, The Conversation, Lenny and the bizarre wildcard that was The Towering Inferno. What a year. 1975:  One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest won, but other nominees included Barry Lyndon, Dog Day Afternoon, Jaws and Robert Altman’s Nashville. What a bloody year THAT was. The following year was just the same; 1976: Rocky won, its competition was All the Presidents Men, Bound For Glory, Network and Taxi Driver. I think that year puts 1977’s failure to award it to Star Wars in some perspective, because with awarding it to Rocky clearly set a precedent for popular films winning Best Picture over better and more important pictures. See, my twelve-year old self clearly knew something was wrong.

Army of the Dead (2021)

army1Zack Snyder’s return to the zombie genre is as loud and dumb as anyone could have hoped for or feared (some people love this stuff, like some guilty pleasure) – I just wish it could have been more tense. Its the one thing that’s quite unforgivable about this film – the utter lack of any tension. There really isn’t any. In a zombie movie. Its violent and gory but it isn’t in the slightest bit scary, there simply isn’t much of any sense of threat- possibly because the core set of characters are so by-the-numbers and familiar that we don’t really care about any of them. I swear the woman who doubles as Aliens‘ Vasquez, from wardrobe to final death, it is so obvious its a wonder James Cameron isn’t knocking on Snyder’s door for a credit, but we’re past the point now that genre fanboys feel more clever about spotting these ‘homages’ than they do feeling pissed off at yet another bloody call-back to a better movie. They’ve even got a ‘Company man’ who pulls a double-cross and a rooftop escape that is thwarted by the transport having fled early… (oh no we’re screwed, its not here its gone no wait no its not, here it is we’re saved) yeah they even pull THAT Aliens gag, I’m almost surprised they didn’t use James Horner’s music cue.

Once the action starts and the deaths start to mount up, we’re watching almost passively, utterly uninvolved. Its like everyone involved got obsessed with the technical stuff- the visual effects, the stunts etc- that they (and I guess when I write ‘they’ I’m really referring to Snyder) forgot the script. And the characters. And yet this thing is about 150 minutes long. 

Its style over substance. Nothing new there, its Snyder after all. Its competently shot and generally looks pretty great, with some quite arresting moments, but its so dumb and predictable. Its such a shame. Technically, Snyder is some kind of genius, he has this eye for this kind of stuff that can’t be denied, and he’s marshalled a team of excellent production designers and make-up artists and visual effects teams, and the premise of a zombie-infested Las Vegas as the setting for a violent heist caper is some kind of genius, especially when you can throw in a certain few Elvis Presley songs. But where’s the tension, where’s the scares, where’s the surprises? Why all the familiar genre tropes and nods to earlier movies?

Not a crushing disappointment but nowhere near as good as it might or should have been. Snyder desperately needs someone standing at his shoulder whispering “hey, hang on, lets think about this for a minute…” but at this point in his career that’s apparently long gone now. Studios get a lot of beef for interfering with creative visions but with Netflix its surprisingly routine for projects to suffer from the creative teams having too much freedom, and such is the case here. But hey, its a popcorn movie.

Columbia Noir: Johnny O’Clock (1947)

cn3aOne of the pleasures of this series of Columbia film noir being released in these Indicator boxsets is the recurring talent in front and behind the screen, thanks to the studio system prevalent at the time (the talent tied to studio contracts). Hence here again we get Nina Foch of Escape in the Fog and The Undercover Man, and Lee J.Cobb of The Garment Jungle, both of whom will also appear in the next film in this third Columbia Noir set, The Dark Past. And we get another George Dunning score (5 Against The House, Tight Spot, The Mob, The Undercover Man etc) too. There’s all these connections between the films.

Anyway, Johnny O’Clock was great, a really good noir. I think it was the cast that made it so special; this film is another example of just good Lee J Cobb was; a fantastic character actor, he’s great here as Detective Inspector Koch, who floats around Johnny O’Clock (Dick Powell) convinced Johnny is the likeliest culprit for a murder that just seems to get murkier. In the event, Johnny is quite innocent, but suffers from association: his business partner is a crook under pressure from a bent cop who wants a part of the business. Meanwhile Johnny finds himself ‘suffering’ the attentions of three beautiful women which, as this is a noir, can only mean trouble. While some of us men can only dream of that kind of ‘trouble’ it does prove to be Johnny’s undoing.

Nina Foch actually has only a minor role in the film, as Harriet Hobson, although its her death that sets the domino’s falling in on Johnny. Eveleyn Keyes, as Nina’s sister Nancy, set’s Johnny’s pulse racing as she arrives in town questioning what happened to her sister. Keyes is pretty fine indeed, but the femme fatale of the piece is actually Johnny’s ex, Nelle (Ellen Drew) who still holds a torch for Johnny while now being married to Johnny’s business partner/mobster Guido Marchettis (Thomas Gomez). Its quite a tangled web, especially when the crooked cop trying to muscle Johnny out of Marchettis’ casino business is found dead too.

Ellen Drew stole the show for me as temptress Nelle, usually drunk but draping herself sensuously around lounge furniture and men, teasing and laughing. I’m not certain why exactly, but there was just something irresistible about Drew; she quite fascinated me, and absolutely convinced as a beauty that consumes Marchittis with jealous rage and insecurity, while her drunken state is perhaps triggered by feelings that her move upwards from Johnny to Guido was a mistake. Is it just me, or is part of the appeal of these movies of this period that women look like women, are dressed and wearing make-up that heightens their sexuality in what I dare say could be described as traditional/old-fashioned (or possibly sexist)? I continue to be horrified, mind, by just how frequently the women persist in lighting-up and smoking: another indication of the times and social practices of the day of course.

Its quite possible that the least interesting character in the film is Johnny O’Clock; Dick Powell is fine but he isn’t helped by a character that, by his nature, has to remain aloof and confident, its unfortunate that it leaves him a less emphatic ‘doomed’ character than some noir protagonists. Likewise he suffers by comparison to Cobb, who quietly steals every scene he is in, in just that way Cobb did in his every role. His performance is a masterclass in using props and the set around him, he was really such a gifted actor, so charismatic: one of the greats. 

There is a subtle charge/suggestion of homosexuality between Johnny and his personal assistant/man-friend Charlie (John Kellogg): its naturally unspoken as you’d expect in a film of the time but Charlie spends an awful long time in Johnny’s apartment, waking Johnny in his bedroom and preparing his breakfast, and I wondered if the reason why he suddenly turns on Johnny is because he doesn’t approve of Johnny’s interest in Nancy. I’m actually surprised by how much homoerotic subtext filters in so many of these noir, but its an element, deliberate or not, that proves a further example of just how subversive and complex this genre can be. 

Another dream palace gone

showc2Recent news that the Showcase Cinema where I’d watched films throughout the 1990s (starting with Batman, The Abyss etc in 1989) has closed forever has had me getting nostalgic. At the time it opened in 1989 the multiplex was a revelation, with state of the art seating and projection and sound a far cry cry from what excused for film presentation in our then-current haunts of the old ABC and Odeon Cinemas in town. Once I saw Batman at the Showcase I never went back to the old ABC and that cinema itself closed not long after. The Showcase too would eventually fall behind the times, superseded by newer, better cinemas and its been decade or more since I ever went there, but yeah, its awfully sad. I have some great memories from going there:

A late-Saturday night preview showing of Total Recall that remains the craziest, wildest cinema screening of my life. When the film began, with that incredible Jerry Goldsmith title music blasted out loud, the palpable energy of that testosterone-fuelled audience was something I don’t think I’ve experienced since, it was almost like some kind of rock concert. 

Watching The Abyss and then coming out to the carpark in a wild storm, rain hammering down sideways in a gale just like the storm portrayed in the film, one of those strange moments that felt like a film bleeding out into reality. Those moments are the best: I remember coming out of a screening of Cocoon, of all things, and seeing a sliver of crescent moon hanging in the sky just the same as in that film’s poster. Its like the film has come out with you.

Sometimes, back in the dark days when I was unemployed between jobs I’d go alone to watch cheap afternoon screenings to escape my lot (Fantasia, Always, for example), one of which was my worst cinema-going experience ever, the execrable Naked Lunch– the one film I very nearly walked out on.  

I remember going on a blind date there, with my cousin and his girlfriend and a girl she knew -where we watched, of all things, Jacobs Ladder, which confused the shit out of the three of them (“it was something to do with Vietnam, wasn’t it?” I was asked) while I came out buzzing, confident I’d seen something extraordinary and spent an hour in the pub afterwards trying to explain the damn movie to them (I never went out on a second date with that girl).

Going there every week with my future-wife during our courting days, when we’d go and end up watching whatever was on that took our fancy, some good, some bad (one of the baddest, The Flintstones).

A midnight Saturday preview of Alien 3, when we came out in the early hours of a Sunday morning wondering what we’d just seen (I actually liked it, because it was more like Alien than Aliens, which I really disliked with a passion, but my cousin was a fan of Aliens so anyway, our discussion was like a microcosm of the next few decades of Alien 3 discourse). Christ, I haven’t seen/spoken to that cousin in twenty years or more (and no, that’s not because of Alien 3).

So anyway, waxing so nostalgic about those Showcase Memories had me thinking about those other cinemas too, like the ABC in town where I saw Blade Runner and many others (my folks took me to watch John Carpenter’s Elvis there, and I saw loads of films in the 1980s there, like Superman II, Someone to Watch Over Me, Outland, Howard the Duck, Life Force, Legend, Batman…), and the Odeon cinema across town where I saw Star Wars, Close Encounters and Empire Strikes Back etc. I remember the threadbare seats with holes, stuffing coming out of them, in the Screen 3 in the ABC where I saw Howard the Duck. Indeed its funny what you remember: I recall a tramp in there sheltering from the rain (considering how bad Howard was, he probably regretted not staying out in the rain). Or the time me and Andy saw a double-bill of Outland and Blade Runner, and after watching Outland one of the other patrons walked out just as Blade Runner started, and Andy and I just sat, gobsmacked at this blatant and unforgivable affront to the Greatest Film Ever Made- I mean, here I am almost 40 years later and I still vividly recall the guy just getting up and walking out to our dismay. Much fancier a cinema was the luxurious Gaumont in Birmingham which must have been really something in its heyday, where we queued for hours to watch Return of the Jedi back in 1983, and I remember the film looked amazing on its huge screen (one of our group, a friend of my brothers, sat down in the front row and surely couldn’t have seen half what was going on, the screen was so wide most of it was out of his line of sight) but even that cinema closed just a year or so later.

That Showcase Cinema getting demolished feels all kinds of wrong; when a cinema which opened in 1989 (and you still feel like its ‘new’ because 1989 isn’t all that long ago, really, is it? Is it?) is getting torn down, you know you’re getting old. The place where I visited other planets and visited the bottom of the ocean etc is going to be a giant second-hand car retail outlet or something by the end of the year. I recently texted my mate Andy paraphrasing Roy Batty’s speech: “The films I’ve seen, in cinemas you wouldn’t believe…!” 

Corruption, anyone?

corrHmm, latest announcements from Indicator include this 1968 horror/thriller starring Peter Cushing that I’ve never heard of. Well, they had me sold at Peter Cushing. Is it wrong of me to be more excited about a special feature (“The Guardian Lecture with Peter Cushing (1986): audio recording of an interview with the legendary actor recorded at the National Film Theatre, London”) than I am the film itself? I’m such a film geek sometimes I embarrass myself.

I have no idea what the film is like (if you have, feel free to educate me in the comments), but the fact its one of Indicator’s slipcase editions with an 80-page book of essays etc would suggest its worth watching. But really, they had me at Peter Cushing, anything with that gentleman in is worth watching in my book. Well, it comes out in August so I’ll have to get my pre-order in over the next week or so when my wallet allows (I haven’t yet pre-ordered the sixth Hammer box that Indicator keep teasing me with). Damn it, every time I try to put a hold on disc buying… (“Just when I thought I was out,  they pull me back in!” as Al Pacino once said).

Recent Additions

P1100368 (2)While the crazy disc-buying days of old are over, I’m still prone to buying discs (I just try to be a bit more selective). Here’s my most recent additions to the shelf. Some still in the shrink-wrap, but others actually watched already (!).

Planetes is a brilliant Japanese anime which seems increasingly prescient over the years, concerning a team of astronauts tasked with cleaning up all the debris cluttering Earth-orbit before it causes a calamity (Gravity owes a lot to it). I used to have it on DVD back from the days when we used to have to buy anime shows over time in multi-volume releases (five or six discs released over several months, as I recall) which puts into comparison even the premium costs of these boxsets from All The Anime. Fortunately for my wallet I was able to pre-order this set in an early deal; its a lovely set with a 80+ page book of artwork accompanying the digipack in a sturdy hard slip-box, and on the Blu-ray the show really shines; it looks gorgeous. I only watched the first episode, as I’m biding my time to watch the series throughout properly, but this will be a definite pleasure.

Of course every boxset that Indicator release truly delivers- and Columbia Noir #3 is as beautiful a package as the first two sets. A series of posts reviewing this set’s six noir films will follow over the next few weeks, and hopefully the films, none of which I have seen before, will be equal to the films that preceded in the first two volumes. These are possibly my favourite sets from the last few years. I used to complain about there being so few film noir releases over here in the UK and then we hit the motherload with these. I hope there is another two or three volumes of Columbia Noir to come (no-one seems to be sure how many we’re getting).

I bought Irreversible with Columbia Noir #3 and Someone To Watch Over Me direct from Indicator, justifying it by saving on postage and getting my credit points high enough to get a discount on my next order. Its a notorious film; I have it (somewhere) on DVD and only managed to stomach it for one viewing (probably why the DVD is long-since AWOL) so its hard to fathom exactly why I bought this Blu-ray. The package is enticing, with fine artwork, definitive-looking extras and an 80-page book… its almost as if I bought this intending to learn more ABOUT the film rather than actually get around to watch it. We’ll see. 

Someone To Watch Over Me and Extrablatt (The Front Page) I’ve already mentioned, having watched them together on Saturday

Two Criterions follow, thanks to an offer on Amazon (my previous Criterions were bought last summer in the previous Criterion sale). The Ascent is the most recent release, as it came out on my birthday earlier this year, funnily enough, which felt something of an omen since the film seems to have been given universally positive reviews: a ‘masterpiece’ of Russian cinema released on my birthday? Well, patience has saved me some dosh. Gilda is the Criterion that slipped through the net last year, as I couldn’t pick a film to accompany it, which has been doubly annoying as I kept on seeing/hearing references to it on the Columbia Noir sets from Indicator. I’m really curious about it, as I’ve never seen it, and it will certainly fill a gap in my noir collection.

Lastly, this week has seen the 4K UHD release of The Sting. Here again I have to confess that, despite my affection for 1970s American Cinema, and plenty of opportunities over the years with television screenings, particularly over Christmas’ past, I have somehow never seen this film. Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw? I’m reminded how odd it can be, the films we don’t see, over the years. I think it proves something of a lesson, particularly for a film lover like me who’s seen so many films- so whenever I read a blog and someone hasn’t seen Citizen Kane or some other ‘classic’ I have to cool down my dismay and appreciate I’m guilty of some bad misses too. Its all relative, after all- I mean, I’ve seen less Russian films than I can count with the fingers of my two hands and my experience of European Cinema is pretty slight, so we can all be guilty of being a little myopic in our choice of films. 


An Ecstasy of Plot Contrivances: Honest Thief (2020)

honest1Honest Tom Dolan (Liam Neeson) has a secret life as a notorious bank robber (“the In and Out Bandit”) who through the love a good woman (Annie Wilkins, played by Kate Walsh) decides to do the right thing by Annie, assuage his conscience and turn himself in. Two FBI Agents who think he’s a fruitcake aren’t convinced, so Tom hands them the keys to his storage where he tells them they will find boxes of money from his robberies. They don’t take Tom with them, so that they could arrest him upon finding the ‘proof’ of Tom’s story, or if there is no money and Tom’s proven a hoaxer then charge him with wasting their time, BECAUSE. 

Well, because they are going to steal the money for themselves.

Later, having been double-crossed by the two FBI agents who have subsequently framed him for the murder of another, Tom gets Annie on a Greyhound bus to get her to safety out of town. He sees her get on the bus but walks away before it drives off, BECAUSE.

Well, because Annie is going to get off the bus and go back to her storage locker business as she’s remembered CCTV footage of the FBI agents stealing away with Tom’s money will be on a memory stick there. While she’s there the two FBI agents, looking for the same memory stick to destroy proof of their guilt, find her and the chief bad ‘un, Agent Nivens (Jai Courtney) beats her within an inch of her life, but runs away without completing the deed BECAUSE.

Well, because Tom has to be a hero and get her to hospital before she bleeds out or something. And then he has to get her out of said hospital BECAUSE.

Well, because she’s obviously still in danger from the bad agents who still have to silence her, so she’s got to be rescued from the hospital by Tom, who is on his own vengeance trip at this point (because its a Liam Neeson movie and vengeance is written into every script by contract). Agent Nivens goes to the hospital to finish her off but finds a good FBI agent in Annie’s room, protecting her, and he storms off, snarling (we know the good FBI agent is a good guy because he’s got a cute dog and every dog-owner’s a Good Guy). Hospital security isn’t a thing though, so when Tom arrives a little later he walks straight in, finds her room with his bank-robber’s sixth sense* and luckily Annie is in there no longer under guard BECAUSE. 

Well, because the good FBI agent has to go and walk his dog because Tom has to save her, silly, so he simply walks out of there with her and puts her in a bed in a nearby hotel and she heals pretty quick BECAUSE. 

Well, because she ‘s the love interest and the film isn’t over yet, so she’s up and about by morning, having a) been miraculously healed by Tom’s nursing and b) watched Tom fabricate some bombs as part of his revenge for being wronged by the dastardly Feds and its all something to do with his military service and his dad who died while rich guys got richer which is why he robbed the banks in the first place, because that where the rich guy’s money was being kept and…

Tom is some kind of Bank-Robbing Rambo (movies are proof that military service really sets people up for civilian life) and he knows where Agent Niven lives so wires it up with bombs whilst Niven is sleeping and… he lets Niven get out before blowing the shit out of his big house (in which thankfully no-else was living BECAUSE well that would make Honest Tom a murderer) and none of the neighbours comes out to witness the conflagration BECAUSE.

Well, because its a pretty bad and obvious CGI shot and the house is really just fine it never blew up and I’ve just broken the fourth wall here. 

Ah its a Liam Neeson film. Do these things even have fourth walls anymore?

*Bank robber’s sixth sense allows for said robber to guess the exact colour and shade of paint inside the abandoned retail outlets next door to his bank targets, so that after he has robbed the bank by tunnelling from the retail outlets he can redecorate said retail outlets so no-one would ever guess how he got in and out of the bank BECAUSE.

Well, because he’s the “In and Out Bandit” who was never caught until he gave himself in for the love a good woman. 

Honest Thief, should you hate yourself enough that you want to watch it, is currently showing on Amazon Prime.