Crimson Tide (1995) Film Review

Hunter (Denzel Washington) is placed second-in-command to Ramsey (Gene Hackman) on a US nuclear sub after a Chechenian terrorist rises, potentially with nuclear weapons. Whilst on mission, they receive notification that they need are to perform a pre-emptive strike as the terrorist is arming his weapons. However, an incident causes them to lose communications halfway through a second message. Hunter believes they should postpone until they can confirm the strike, Ramsey believes that they have orders they need to follow. The stakes are high – if the order is cancelled, they will be starting a nuclear attack which could result in WW3. But if it isn’t, the terrorist could destroy American cities.

This is a great film. No doubt. Even over twenty years after it was made, the tensions are as real as they were then, and it feels totally believable. I’ve seen this before, I may have even seen it several times before, and I knew what happened, yet I was totally on the edge of my seat. What a film.

Fences (2016) Film Review

Based on the award wining stage play, Fences follows the lives of Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) and his wife Rose (Viola Davis) in their working class existence of 1950s Pittsburgh. They have to deal with the changing world, along with Troy being the most annoying character – and by this, I mean that he feels that the world has treated him bad and will not allow himself to see anyone elses point of view.

I think it would have been an amazing play. I think all of the actors in this film would have been incredible onstage in these roles – looking at Wikipedia, Washington and Davis starred in the remake of the 1983 play on Broadway in 2010 and both won Tonys for their performances. For me, the film does work, but really as a filmed version of the play – which is wonderful for all of us who didn’t get to Broadway to see the remake.

Viola Davis won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for Fences, and the film was nominated for Oscars Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Denzel Washington) and Best Adapted Screenplay (August Wilson, nominated posthumously). It was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama (Denzel Washington) and won the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress for Viola Davis.

The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009) Film Review


Walter (Denzel Washington) is a man working for the transit authority who has been busted down to controller when a train is taken over by Ryder (John Travolta) and his crew. What do they want? Will the innocent live or die?

This is your pretty standard eighties action film with a train, only somehow it was twenty years too late (perhaps I should be watching the original from 1974?). It’s ace and there’s all kinds of running and shooting and fun times. Oh, but John Travolta? I don’t know, I’m usually a fan, and I like it when he’s a bad guy, but he just didn’t do it for me in this one.



Safe House (2012) Film Review


Safe House is the best action/drama ever. Alright, that’s a ridiculously big call. But I just loved it. The only reason I saw this movie was that it was on at a good time. Seems that is often how I pick movies – probably not the most intelligent way to pick them, but now and then, it really works.

This film is dark, gritty and real and I loved the filth of it. The filth of the characters and the places and the plot.

The opening sequence really set up the way the story was going to be told – lots of jump editing, hand held camera work and dark shadows. By editing several scenes together with the audio from one over the top (no, not a montage as such, but more like a jigsaw) director Daniel Espinosa it able to pack in a whole heap of character and plot development into a short time. At almost two hours, it’s a pretty long film, but it covers so much in that time.

Ryan Reynolds plays a young CIA agent who ends up on his own with a rogue agent (actually, I’m not sure he’s called that, but I got all Alias for a moment) played by Denzel Washington. I didn’t really know who Reynolds was (a bit like the way I didn’t really know who Ryan Gosling was until Ides of March) but I was pretty darn impressed with this performance. I have to admit, the storyline of the young, naïve company man who ends up disillusioned with the company is getting a bit tedious for me. Especially when too much of the film is slow, close-ups on said man as the penny drops. Still, I liked this one. Washington is a very attractive man, especially when he smiles, and thank goodness he gets to do that a lot in this film. Plus he gets to look cool with a gun. I do like that. Plus the wonderful Brendan Gleeson is in it – I’ll see anything that man does, although it’s hard to get used to him with an American accent.

The film often confused me – something happened and I had no idea what or to whom, but I didn’t care. Eventually, it became clear, and that was all that mattered. The foley was amazing – things really sounded real, especially in the many, many fight sequences. The cinematography was also wonderful, often showing things from a single character’s point of view, leaving the audience missing the same pieces of information that the character was. This really heightened the excitement for me.

Overall, awesome. See it on a big screen with big sound. It needs it.

Flight (2012) Film Review

When Denzel Washington acts, he plays the characters with such extreme intensity it is difficult not to get taken deep into their world. I’ve not always enjoyed the films, but generally I have enjoyed his performances. Although there tends to be little variety between performances.

Flight tells the story of pilot Whip Whitaker who manages to land a commercial airliner in extremely difficult circumstances. However, the investigations afterwards reveal that he has a problem with substance abuse.

What is very interesting is the way that, despite being a fairly deplorable character who treats those around him poorly, the audience is on the side of Whitaker throughout. Is this just because it is Denzel? Perhaps.

Even if you’re not a fan of Denzel, the film is worth seeing just for the system malfunction and miraculous landing alone. Far too exciting.

Denzel Washington was nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role and a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama.

John Gatins was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.