Elizabeth

Film Title

Elizabeth

Director

Shekhar Kapur

Starring

  • Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I
  • Geoffrey Rush as Francis Walsingham
  • Joseph Fiennes as Robert Dudley
  • Richard Attenborough as William Cecil
  • Christopher Eccleston as Duke of Norfolk
  • Fanny Ardant as Mary of Guise
  • John Gielgud as the Pope

The early years of Elizabeth I’s reign are given a splendid retelling by talented director Shekhar Kapur. Avoiding conventions of historical dramas, he gives the tale a dark and brutal edge as we watch the young queen fight off conspiracy and become a strong monarch. Boasting a superb performance by Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth is nothing short of enthralling from beginning to end.

In 1558, the catholic Mary I is dying of a cancerous tumour. Childless, the next in line to the throne is her half-sister Elizabeth, who is a protestant. It is a time of unrest as the seesaw of religion swings back and forth precariously. When Mary dies, Elizabeth becomes queen. Elizabeth 1998The young girl is spirited and often naive and the position she has inherited is not exactly ideal. She is pressured to marry as soon as possible and produce an heir. Elizabeth though is more interested in her love affair with the dashing Robert Dudley. Meanwhile, England is threatened from abroad by Mary of Guise, who has gathered troops in Scotland. As well as the threat from abroad, there is conspiracy within her court as various members plot ways to dethrone her, the most prominent being the Duke of Norfolk who considers her a heretic. The thorny issue of religion also rears its head and threatens to destroy her reign as violence and chaos erupts. Realising the threats that surround her and aided by loyal but calculating Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth nimbly begins to transform from romantic young woman to ruthless and wilful queen in order to rule over this time of uncertainty and become the iconic Virgin Queen that the world knows. Politics, romance and bloodshed all combine in this splendid biopic that breathes fresh life into the story and gives it a riveting makeover.

While many historical biopics paint a quaint picture of monarchy, Elizabeth delivers another side. The court of Elizabeth is a place of political intrigue and dark deeds, where views are divided by beliefs and violence is often around the corner. From the start, Elizabeth is in danger and must face the plots that threaten to engulf her. Shekhar Kapur magnificently captures the conspiracy and unrest of the time with his use of colour and camerawork, with dark red symbolising both passion and blood and a roaming camera that stalks the eerie palace and gives it a sepulchral tone. Interestingly, Kapur seems to take an influence from the most unlikely source, The Godfather. The similarities can be seen with the main characters in each, that must after reluctance change themselves and sacrifice personal attachments to become a feared ruler in order to survive and uphold dynastic order. Also, the lush cinematography that accompanies many scenes of assassinations does resemble some of the bloodshed of The Godfather. The musical score is suitably filled with royal splendor and underlying menace, while the sumptuous costume design is breathtaking. Historians may balk at some of the more fanciful elements of Elizabeth, but a few liberties here and there gives the film an exciting edge.

In the leading role of Elizabeth, Cate Blanchett is a revelation. Her expressive face displays the journey she goes on and the strength that she uses to become a ruthless and powerful leader, capable of making difficult decisions. Filling the role with passion, emotion and vigour, Blanchett is a marvel. Ably supporting her is Geoffrey Rush as her advisor Francis Walsingham, who will do anything to protect her, including murder. Joseph Fiennes makes for a suitably handsome romantic interest, while Richard Attenborough is great as an elderly counsellor who attempts to guide the young girl. The other roles are competently portrayed by Christopher Eccleston, who exudes menace and anger as the conspiring Duke, Fanny Ardant as the ambitious Mary of Guise and John Gielgud as the Pope.

Not one for the purists, Elizabeth still succeeds thanks to visually stunning direction, a powerful lead performance and a tense atmosphere that gives history new life.

Who’s excited for Spectre?

SpectreI know am I, that’s for certain. I was so elated by the exciting news the other day. I’d been waiting for ages for more information on Bond 24. And boy, did this news deliver in spades. We have the promise of Bond’s former nemeses and maybe the iconic villain of Blofeld.  And not to mention a revamped Aston Martin. As well as the excellent cast; including Christoph Waltz, Andrew Scott, Monica Bellucci and Léa Seydoux . We also have the return of Sam Mendes to the director’s chair after his success with Skyfall. I can’t wait for more information to be released about how the upcoming adventure for the one and only James Bond and I’m sure many of you out there feel the same way. What are everyone’s thoughts on the news? Whatever your view, please give it.

Sleeping with the Enemy

Film Title

Sleeping with the Enemy

Director

Joseph Ruben

Starring

  • Julia Roberts as Laura Burney/Sara Waters
  • Patrick Bergin as Martin Burney
  • Kevin Anderson as Ben

It may not be a perfect entry into the thriller genre, but Sleeping with the Enemy sure has its moments of chilling suspense. Featuring Julia Roberts in a dramatic departure from her usual romantic comedies and competent direction, it remains a tense movie throughout.

Laura Burney is the beautiful young wife of Martin, a successful investment counsellor. They live in a nice house by the beach on Cape Cod and appear happy as a couple. Behind this image is the disturbing truth. Martin is an abusive and possessive husband, who regularly beats Laura and toys with her psychologically. Laura tries to please him but his abuse and extreme OCD become too much for her. Desperate to escape her traumatized life with Martin, Laura formulates a plan. Martin takes Laura on a boating trip on a night that soon becomes stormy so that his wife can overcome her fear of water. As the storm wreaks havoc on the boat, Laura seizes her opportunity and jumps overboard, in turn faking her death. We soon learn that she had been taking secret swimming lessons to enable her to escape. Sleeping With the Enemy Laura's escapeLaura swims to shore and grabs a cache of belongings before leaving. Relocating to Iowa, Laura lives under the name Sara Waters and tries to live her life again without the torment of Martin. She even manages to capture the eye of a Ben, a handsome drama teacher who lives next door. But Laura is still looking over her shoulder in case Martin realises the truth and attempts to find her. This fear soon becomes true as Martin puts two and two together and realises that his wife has faked her death. Seething with rage, Martin sets off after her in chilling fashion, hoping to find his spouse and reclaim her for good.

Joseph Ruben creates some scenes of chilling menace, especially in the beginning when we see Martin’s controlling ways and how he expects Laura to abide by them or else suffer his beatings. Through his camera, the beach house becomes a prison for Laura with the abusive Martin the person intent on keeping her caged in it. sleeping with the enemyThese scenes of oppression are counteracted by Laura’s eventual freedom after her escape, captured in blazing sunlight and warm colours. Admittedly, the scenes after the initially tense half an hour don’t quite live up to the menace of the beginning. This is partly down to the relationship Laura forms with nice guy Ben. I know he is supposed to be the nice guy in all of this, but the film when it shows their blossoming relationship is too light for a film that deals with a tough subject matter. The later half of Sleeping with the Enemy does have it’s fair share of thriller clichés that become a little repetitive. Saying that, the evocative and suspenseful score provided keeps the tension up high and embodies the fear that Laura has that Martin will eventually find her again.

The relatively small cast is well assembled. Julia Roberts is emotionally convincing as the brutalised Laura, who discovers her buried inner strength and escapes from the torment of her husband. As a character, we feel sympathy and want her get away from the abuse, most of this is down to the finely judged performance of Julia Roberts, who really shows her mettle as well as an air of fragile vulnerability. Patrick Bergin is slimy and creepily effective as the controlling Martin, his tall, imposing figure and stern face really do send shivers down the spine as he realises that his wife is not dead. Bergin plays Martin as a sophisticated psychopath, seemingly charming on the outside but abusive and controlling behind closed doors. Kevin Anderson is saddled with the least memorable part as the charming Ben, although to be fair he does his best with the material he is given.

All in all, Sleeping with the Enemy has its share of uninspired moments and lapse into cornball melodrama, but the performances of Roberts and Bergin along with the taut direction ensure that the movie is at least memorable and at times unbearably tense to watch.

August: Osage County

Film Title

August: Osage County

Director

John Wells

Starring

  • Meryl Streep as Violet Weston
  • Julia Roberts as Barbara Weston-Fordham
  • Ewan McGregor as Bill Fordham
  • Juliette Lewis as Karen Weston
  • Julianne Nicholson as Ivy Weston
  • Chris Cooper as Charles Aiken
  • Abigail Breslin as Jean Fordham
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as ‘Little’ Charles Aiken
  • Margo Martindale as Mattie Fae Aiken
  • Dermot Mulroney as Steve Huberbrecht
  • Sam Shepard as Beverly Weston
  • Misty Upham as Johnna

A dark and intense examination of a family falling apart and suffering burdens after reuniting for a funeral, August: Osage County may not be the most comfortable film to watch. But with a talented ensemble cast and simmering tensions that eventually boil over, it sure makes for eventful and dramatic viewing.

In sweltering Oklahoma, Beverly Weston was once a respected poet whose work has declined in recent years and send him into consuming alcohol to drown his sorrows. Matter aren’t helped by his strong-willed and verbally abusive wife Violet, who is suffering from mouth cancer but is addicted to pills. August Osage County posterAlthough he hires a young Native American caregiver called Johnna to help, the demands and abuse aimed at him by his wife proves too much. One day, Beverly has had enough of the torment and disappears. Days later, he is found drowned after taking his boat out on the lake. His extended family who have drifted apart reunite for his funeral. The rest of the family consists of Violet and Beverly’s daughters: wounded favourite Barbara, meek middle child Ivy and dippy youngest Karen.Barbara’s estranged husband Bill, their rebellious teenage daughter Jean, Violet’s sister Mattie Fae, her husband Charles, their shy son known as ‘Little’ Charles and Karen’s latest fiance Steve are also in attendance. As the family attempt to cope with their grief, various tensions and secrets soon take over and anger, resentment and bitterness threaten to destroy what is left of the already troubled and dysfunctional extended family.

As I previously mentioned, August Osage County isn’t the easiest film to sit through. With its flawed characters and feuds a plenty, this is not a bunch of characters who have lived a sunny existence. But then again, they’re not supposed to be the easiest characters to relate to and the under the skilled direction of John Wells, the film shows how they are all not as perfect as some of them make out. Dramatics are the order of the day as arguments and truths engulf the family, the verbal sparring is very well done and drips with venom as everyone begins to reach breaking point. Some scenes do lapse into melodrama occasionally and restraint isn’t exactly the films strong suit. The film may never truly escape its theatrical origins but in turn the confined setting of the Weston house gives the movie a claustrophobic and stifling atmosphere of intensity as the heat continues to rise and lies begin to spill out. The roving camerawork captures the heated emotions up close and personal and add to the themes of familial ties beginning to break and the difficult reasons why.

The impressive ensemble cast is what gives August: Osage County its intense impact. Meryl Streep is a force of nature as the acid spitting Violet, whose truth-telling begins to drive the fractured family apart. She impressively captures her strong-willed nature, but also a mean streak that often rears its ugly head in this time of pain. Yet, we do get to see the damaged side to Violet that occasionally shines through thanks to the splendid work of the talented Meryl Streep. August Osage County Violet and BarbaraJulia Roberts is equally impressive as her eldest daughter Barbara, who burns with anger towards her mother and the burdens placed on her. This is easily some of her best work as she imbues Barbara with a rage and ferocity rarely seen by Roberts before now. Ewan McGregor does his best in the role of Barbara’s estranged husband Bill, yet I don’t think he’s given enough to do to make him a memorable character in this escalating family saga. Juliette Lewis is flighty and gullible as Karen, whilst Julianne Nicholson offers a moving performance as the put upon Ivy. Chris Cooper embodies the moral centre of the dysfunctional family Charles, who sees exactly where the arguments and disagreements are going to lead. Margo Martindale is utilised well as Violet’s sister, who berates her timid son and seems to have got the same mean streak as her sister. Abigail Breslin is quietly sullen and alienated as Barbara’s teenage daughter Jean. Benedict Cumberbatch is sympathetic and vulnerable as Little Charles, who is secretly in a relationship with his cousin Ivy and constantly made to feel inadequate by his mother. Filling out the other roles effectively are Dermot Mulroney, who gives a sleazy edge to his character, Sam Shepard as the worn out Beverly whose death brought the family together and Misty Upham as the quiet caregiver to Violet.

It may be dark and pessimistic, but with the talented cast on electrifying form and the dysfunction cranked up to eleven, August: Osage County is nothing short of eventful in the dramatic stakes.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Film Title

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Director

Tobe Hooper

Starring

  • Marilyn Burns as Sally Hardesty
  • Paul A. Partain as Franklin Hardesty
  • Edwin Neal as the Hitchhiker
  • Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remains to this day a seminal and controversial work in horror. Loosely inspired by crimes of Ed Gein, with an iconic villain in the form of Leatherface and the age-old formula of what we don’t see will scare us even more, Tobe Hooper’s movie has lost none of its original and frightening impact.

Sally Hardesty is travelling with her wheelchair bound brother Franklin and friends Jerry, Kirk and Pam to investigate the grave of her grandfather, which has supposedly been vandalised along with other graves. Texas Chainsaw Massacre PosterAlong the way they pick up a jittery hitchhiker who begins to menace them by cutting his wrist and then slicing at poor Franklin’s arm. After kicking him out and recovering from the bizarre incident, this they decide to take a look at her old family’s house which is nearby. Whilst looking round the surrounding areas, they discover another house. But this house isn’t filled with the most welcoming hosts. A deranged cannibalistic family of slaughterhouse workers reside in the house, headed by the scary Leatherface, who wears a mask of human skin and is adept at using his chainsaw to slaughter unsuspecting victims. As terror increases and the group is picked off mercilessly, it is left to Sally to attempt to survive this savage attack and make it out in one piece.

The first thing to praise in this horror classic is the visual style. The film was made on a low-budget and the picture has a grainy look to it. Strangely, this look is supremely effective in capturing the horrifying events  that befall Sally and her friends as it adds a documentary style immediacy to the film and puts us in the grimy surroundings that the characters stumble upon .The camerawork is dizzying and makes terrifying use of extreme close-ups to express the fear and madness that seem to run hand in hand. The strange score is sparse but eerie, as the sounds of machinery and bristling cymbals combine to give the film a doom-laden pulse.

As I previously mentioned, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is low on the blood count, but this doesn’t make it any less chilling than it is. By not showing us the brutal slayings in graphic detail, the film lets our imaginations run wild with possibilities of the deaths that occur. Whereas the remakes and sequels of this have revelled in bloodshed and gore, none of them can beat the clammy and grimy impact of the original. This atmosphere of dread is upheld by Tobe Hooper with great certainty throughout and the final half hour is a heart-pounding fight for your life event, which is the cinematic equivalent of a waking nightmare. Sally Chainsaw MassacreScenes that linger in the memory include the menacing hitchhiker who becomes more sinister and strange as he recalls working at the slaughterhouse, Pam falling into the living room of the scary house and finding human remains fashioned into furniture and Sally nighttime chase with Leatherface. The sight of the monstrous Leatherface is still frightening and chilling after all these years and his appearance has influenced many a horror villain over the years.

Marilyn Burns does a great job of portraying fear in these unusual and savage circumstances, particularly in the scene in which she encounters the family at dinner. Paul A. Partain is suitably worried and nervous as the wheelchair bound Franklin. Edwin Neal is jittery and unstable as the creepy hitchhiker who troubles the group. And not forgetting Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface, his tall frame and barely audible dialogue adding to the horrifying impact of the character.

Mercilessly tense, horrifying and atmospheric, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is still a chilling entry into the horror genre.

American Horror Story: Asylum

The second installment of American Horror Story comes courtesy of Asylum. With the twisted success of Murder House and the returning of many of the cast, Asylum promises to be scarier and more disturbing. Revolving around the events of a mental institution in 1964 and the attitudes towards mental health at that time( as well as murder, deceit, religion and possession), Asylum is on taboo breaking form from the get go and unravels with fiendish delight and a whole lot of twisted horror to match. Be warned, spoilers will follow in my review.

Briarcliff Manor is a mental asylum in 1964 Massachusetts to house the criminally insane. AHS Asylum PosterIt is run by the ambitious Monsignor Timothy Howard(Joseph Fiennes) and is maintained by the vicious Sister Jude(Jessica Lange) and childlike novice Sister Mary Eunice(Lily Rabe). The sinister Dr. Arthur Arden(James Cromwell) treats the patients but is secretly conducting illegal experiments on many of them for his twisted medical research. Into this disturbing atmosphere comes Lana Winters(Sarah Paulson), a secretly lesbian journalist is trying to find a scoop on the place and expose the cruel procedures that the patients endure at the hands of the staff. Also, a young man by the name of Kit Walker(Evan Peters) has been admitted to the facility after he is accused of butchering his wife and many other women. He is suspected of being the renowned killer Bloody Face, although Kit protests his innocence and says that a strange life form has kidnapped his wife and how she is still alive. Lana gets more than she bargained for when she trespasses into the secrets of the asylum and the cunning Sister Jude craftily has her admitted as a patient at the brutal asylum. Traumatized and brutalised, Lana has her world turned upside down as she realises the power that Sister Jude and Dr Arden possess. Other patients in the facility include the mysterious Grace Bertrand(Lizzie Brocheré), a young girl accused of murdering her family and Shelley(Chloë Sevigny), a troubled nymphomaniac who often tries to tempt the evil Dr Arden. Lana has to adjust to her surroundings and attempt to escape the asylum before it is too late, with the at first reluctant help of Kit and Grace. Elsewhere, strange creatures lurk in the woods out of sight but always hungry. Dr. Oliver Thredson(Zachary Quinto), a new psychiatrist arrives and begins to question the gruesome treatment of patients. A young boy is possessed and after an intense exorcism, the demon inside of him transfers itself into Sister Mary Eunice. This causes her personality to alter drastically as she transforms from timid girl to sly and manipulative woman. BriarcliffWe get flashes to the present where a morbid couple visit the rundown Asylum and get much more than they had intended to in grisly fashion. There’s even an appearance from the Angel of Death(Frances Conroy) who appears to those who want to die and bestows them with a death kiss. And to top that off, each of the main characters has deep dark secrets that begin to slither out into the light.

The most prominent aspect of inducing terror is the setting, full of long, unending corridors and laboratories for sickening experiments. The visual style of harsh contrasts between light and dark, as well as jittery cuts, builds up tension and establishes this season as a creepy force of nature that won’t let go. The house in the first season may have been terrifying, but in Asylum they up the ante in terms of creepy environments.The disturbing title sequence will no doubt send shivers down the spine with its mix of gruesome experiments, stormy weather and ambiguous religious icons to the strains of the eerie theme song. Asylum exploits the deep fear of being locked away and not being believed with Lana as the embodiment of the audience’s concern. Ahs LanaThe 60’s setting allows Asylum to delve into taboos and social issues of the time, such as lesbianism, abuse of power and prejudice. It may be just a show, but Asylum does show in sometimes graphic detail how misunderstood and intolerant people were about mental health back then and how far we have come today. Religion and hypocrisy surrounding it comes under the spotlight in even more uncomfortable terms as the clash between faith and passion arises within the many members of staff as events spiral out of control .Once again American Horror Story isn’t afraid to push boundaries and make for disturbing viewing. It is almost certain that you won’t be sleeping soundly after viewing Asylum.

With members of the first season cast returning as well as newcomers, Asylum more than delivers on the acting front and adds another jolt of terror into an already scary brew of chills and carnage. Sarah Paulson makes for a relatable central heroine in Lana, with her melding of brutalised fear and burgeoning strength, as her yearning for escape increases and she tries anything to free herself from confinement. Jessica Lange once again steals the show, this time as the cruel and vicious Sister Jude. Yet rather than make her a one-dimensional monster, Lange fleshes out the character to show her vulnerability and regret for her past actions. Sister JudeInitially a boozy lounge singer, she became a nun after her involvement in a hit and run accident. Through her vows, she tries to atone for her crimes but realises she can’t run from her past forever. Lange runs the gamut of emotions from A to Z and delivers very impressive work. Lily Rabe comes a close second with her bewitching and challenging role as the novice Sister Mary Eunice. At first she is a sweet-faced and caring girl who wants to impress Sister Jude, but after her possession she morphs into something very different as her innocence is poisoned with the taint of evil. Ahs Sister Mary EuniceA sly, sexually provocative and twisted woman, she now delights in tormenting those around her as she slips out of her innocent nun’s habit and into the personification of the Devil. Rabe carefully shows this transformation with subtle assurance that is very unsettling to watch. Evan Peters is fearful and confused as the accused Kit, whose story of abduction starts to play a big part as the season goes on. James Cromwell is evil personified as the sinister and imposing Dr. Arden, whose experiments get out of control as his mental state crumbles and his treacherous past comes back to bite him. Joseph Fiennes makes for a self-righteous and beatific presence as the Monsignor in over his head, while Zachary Quinto subtly contributes care yet a bristling menace to his role as the new psychiatrist. Lizzie Brocheré and Chloë Sevigny are also effective as two of the inmates at the asylum;Brocheré adding mystery and whispery uncertainty and Sevigny with her mix of sexuality and fear. Frances Conroy is impressively ethereal and wise as the Angel of Death, who makes many appearances towards the end of the season.

Unpredictable and filled with many twists along the way, Asylum is a provocative and terrifying entry into the American Horror Story canon.

Sneakers

Film Title

Sneakers

Director

Phil Alden Robinson

Starring

  • Robert Redford as Martin Bishop
  • Dan Aykroyd as Mother
  • Sidney Poitier as Donald Crease
  • David Strathairn as Whistler
  • Mary McDonnell as Liz
  • River Phoenix as Carl Arbogast
  • Ben Kingsley as Cosmo

An enjoyable and light-hearted caper movie, Sneakers boasts an all-star cast and a sparkling script as well as ratcheting up the tension at various times.

Martin Bishop runs a San Francisco team known collectively as ‘Sneakers’, their job is to break into security systems to check the effectiveness of them. Sneakers posterThe rag-tag team comprises of former CIA operative Donald Crease, Mother, an electronics technician and conspiracy theorist, Whistler, a blind man with exceptional hearing and enthusiastic whizz kid Carl Arbogast. Everything is going fine until the NSA contacts Martin. They have information regarding his past as a student radical that could have him imprisoned. The case will be dropped if Martin and his team can recover a black box from a prominent mathematician. Although reluctant to help, Martin sees that he has no choice if he wants to avoid his past coming back to bite him. Enlisting the help of his team and well as his old flame Liz, they manage to track down the box with their combination of technical skill and smarts. This is when the twists arrive and the mathematician is murdered. It seems this black box is a codebreaker that can used to break into even the most secure building ever. Martin and the rest of the team must decide what to do before it falls into the wrong hands and as they soon become embroiled in a web of crime and espionage with a face from Martin’s past coming back to haunt him.

A script brimming with comic interplay gives Sneakers a humorous edge and allows us to root for the characters and believe the long-standing camaraderie that they have with one another.Phil Alden Robinson directs with brisk assurance and verve, giving us the many dangerous incidents that the team find themselves in a warmth yet a deep seriousness and suspense. The various technological aspects of the case are presented in striking visuals, a standout scene being the team cracking an important anagram using the pieces from a Scrabble game and Whistler’s extraordinary hearing and computer skills. The scene features initially slow cuts between the two factions of the team that quicken in time with the score as the code is eventually cracked. This gives the film an enjoyable factor and makes it a cracking crime caper peppered with humour and an abundance of twists. Tension is also high in the scenes of the team sneaking into a secure building in order to retrieve the stolen box, and trying to avoid the hi-tech sensors employed to ensure no one can enter undetected. Some of the technical jargon may become confusing and the narrative may lull in various places, but for most of the duration Sneakers is a sparkling and fun crime caper. James Horner provides the lively score of trickling piano and unusual percussion to give the feelings of danger and a race against time for team.

Heading the all-star cast is Robert Redford who sends himself up a little with his mix of charm and wit in the role of Martin, the leader of the ‘Sneakers’. Dan Aykroyd is a hoot as the conspiracy theorist who won’t take no for an answer. Sidney Poitier plays the role of the former CIA operative with ease and eye-rolling humour as he is the one who often disagrees with rash decisions by younger members of the team but finds himself going along with it, albeit under duress. David Strathairn steals all the scenes he is in as Whistler, the blind man with amazing hearing whose skills are invaluable to the gang in their times of need. As the main female in the movie, Mary McDonnell shows that it’s not just the men who can have fun with her sharp performance as Liz, the former girlfriend of Martin whose smarts and good looks come in very handy with this most complex case. In one of his last roles before his untimely death, River Phoenix gives a nervous exuberance to the role of computer whizz kid Carl, the youngest member of the team who is constantly on the lookout for an attractive woman in his life.  The weak link in the chain of excellent performances is surprisingly Ben Kingsley as a face from Martin’s past with villainous designs. We all know that Kingsley can play the villain in his sleep, but he isn’t given enough screen time to make him a compelling adversary for Martin and his team.

Bristling with light-hearted charm, excellent performances and caper shenanigans, Sneakers is if nothing else an enjoyable movie with style and humour.