Sabotage: a D.E.A. legend and his off-the-rails team of undercover NARCs are being hunted down by a cartel for skimming off $10M of the gang’s money in a recent raid. I know, I know, this one’s never going to win any awards – but in a world where studios are pussying out of 18-rated movies right, left, and center this is like a breath of fresh (or rotten) air. A dark, violent, dingy film that harks back to the 70s–90s cop films that had plenty of grit and edge. From the writer of Training Day, Street Kings and End of Watch you know you’re in good hands here. Machismo’d to the rafters, there’s a whole lot of big-dick swinging, heavy swearing, ‘cop banter’ – and the women in here are strippers, ‘sluts’ or a general nuisances to the lads. The story’s not as black-and-white as it first seems, and neither are the characters – as the film balances both intense action scenes with a well-crafted thriller storyline. You either love these sort of films, or you hate ‘em; and for me, Sabotage is a decent, violent cop film with a rock-solid ensemble cast and an interesting enough story to keep you tuned in.
Caché (Hidden): a couple begin receiving video tapes of someone watching them and their home, but who are they from? It starts off fantastically with some phenomenal, haunting long takes that really let your mind run away with who, or what, has their eyes on the family. Unfortunately, the film only has one pace: crawl. Many more long shots, lingering cameras, and a lot of (mostly) banal scenes later, it finally lands at the infuriating, non-event, cop-out ending – not satisfying, and an epic disappointment given how much the movie asks of the viewer. Personally, I’d have liked to see the film slowly build up and gaining momentum through to a conclusion, but hey, what do I know? Towards the end, Auteuil was the only thing keeping me watching – he has a truly magnetic screen presence in almost every movie. It’s very middle-class; based on well-to-do characters in artsy/intellectual jobs and questionable parenting. On the whole, I’m a fan of Haneke’s work, and the social commentary that usually comes with it; unfortunately this is just a little dull, and doesn’t appear to have a whole lot to say. Despite being slow, vague and borderline tedious, Caché is not without some merits; the camerawork is great, and individual scenes are solid and terrifically staged / shot / acted. Divisive French anti-thriller.