Partisan (2015) – ★★★
Partisan follows the pre-pubescent Alexander, living in a cult-like commune led by the charmingly cruel Gregori (Vincent Cassel), in a broken down city. The cult is darker then it seems, as we learn that Alexander and his apparent ‘siblings’ are being raised by Gregori to be assassins, waging his non-descript civil war. Alexander is, of course, the lone wolf who starts to question Gregori’s character, as well as his morality. An intriguing tale, though generally flat, the most cringe-worthy scenes being not those of children practising and acting as murders, but Gregori’s bizarre weekly karaoke-sessions. Interestingly, although in English, Partisan at no point identifies itself as belonging to a physical location or era, allowing it to fall into any given time or place in which the story could be relatable.
Green Room (2015)– ★★★
The trailers for this were thrilling, so I had been waiting a long time to watch it, expecting some modern twist on the horror genre. The main twist is probably that it just doesn’t make sense. A group of teenagers inadvertently witness a murder while backstage at a punk gig. It just so happens that everyone involved with the gig venue is a murderous thug. There are a few “cool” death scenes and moments of ingenuity, but overall, the characters are incredibly dull and not compellingly acted or believable. It’s got three stars for the suspense, which did hold my focus and keep me trying to figure it out (with no pay-off). Despite having Patrick Stewart in the line-up, Green Room is ultimately a dud.
Misconduct (2016)– ★★★
Misconduct is another take on the now-familiar setup of an ambitious young lawyer getting into too deep. When Arthur Denning (Anthony Hopkins), the owner of a major pharmaceutical firm, whose girlfriend Emily (Malin Akerman) is kidnapped and held for ransom, her ex-beau Ben Cahill (Josh Duhamel) finds himself if a tangled web of betrayal and corruption. It is revealed that Emily contacted Ben just prior to her disappearance, with inside information regarding criminal activity on Dennings’ part. Taking this to his formidable boss Charles Abrams (Al Pacino), Ben ultimately decides he wants to take the big fish down himself, and secure himself respect within the law firm. Though off to a promising, mysterious start and featuring the support of A-List veterans Pacino and Hopkins, Misconduct is nothing that hasn’t been seen before and that ‘twists and turns’ are predictable tropes that have become a staple within the ‘aspiring-lawyer-faces-corruption’ genre.