Hotel Mumbai reviewed

Taj-hotel-mumbai-india

 

This would be one of the rare instances where I would post more than once on a given week. Since I wasn’t able to blog last week, I am making up for the lost opportunity. Just yesterday afternoon Dave and I trooped to the cinemas to catch Hotel Mumbai. I was supposed to see Captain Marvel with Nick on Tuesday but had to take a rain check due to the cold. Although I only caught snippets of the trailer, the premise of Mumbai looked intriguing. That it was based on real events also upped its appeal.

 

Plot in brief

Dev Patel returns after notable stints in Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and Lion (2017). Frankly, he’s been typecast as ‘the Indian guy’. Incidentally, I saw all three movies with David. The film tells the events of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. We get to know various entities, from the terrorists themselves to the staff at the fabled Taj Hotel, from the visitors of the place to the psyche of an entire city. We see the Hotel transformed from a jewel to the site of a siege that lasts eight hours. A city is in the grip of extremists, waiting for help that would never seem to arrive. Meanwhile, staff at the posh venue try to calm down their clients. Even when help seems out of hand, they remain cool and help as best they can. Outside is uncertain; they only have each other in here.

 

 

Realism

What struck me about Mumbai was the realism. You could hear the chatter, the cries, the drama, the volley of gunfire. While there is little actual gore, there’s no shortage of blood and injuries. More violence indeed is implied than foregrounded. The chases among captor and hostage, the layers of the terrorists themselves…. Critics have even labelled as this realism as ‘exploitation’. There is a unique cast of characters in this unfolding tragedy, from the overbearing Russian, Vassili (Jason Isaacs), all the way to Arjun (Patel), the staffer who couldn’t afford a pair of shoes. Isaacs, of Lucius Malfoy fame, delivers a gritty performance as the fearless outsider.Meanwhile, Arjun wasn’t supposed to work on the fateful day, but convinced Oberoi, his boss, that he had to, for his pregnant wife. Arjun’s bravery is highlighted throughout the picture, and his presence really made a huge difference during the struggle.

 

Meanwhile, the terrorists are in a different league. After destroying the train station, they fan out to the streets and even target policemen. From the start, they are downright detestable. They have orders from above to wreak havoc on the city. As the denizens flee to the Taj, they do likewise, eat pizza, and barge onto unsuspecting guests. The magic of cinema is in drawing out your senses. You feel for the victims and hate their assailants more and more after every casualty. You likewise became impatient as the arrival of the special forces from Delhi appeared more unlikely by each passing hour. Hotel Mumbai was like a melting pot of these emotions.

 

Raw, powerful, and good

The movie is very raw and powerful, not just because of the extremists, but also the players involved. I’ve seen my share of movies this year and I had to single out this one for its gripping tale of truth. Mumbai was presented as a city of hopers and believers, of Good Samaritans, as the locus of the brave. Hotel Mumbai was not only moving; the movie was a nexus between Old World and New World, between authority and defiance, science and faith. There were many moments when the language and religion barrier was too stiff, even among the protagonists themselves. I recall one scene during the siege where a Western guest singled out Arjun because of his turban. His response to this seemed saintly. However, the movie inspired a measure of predictability. You kind of knew that good will win in the end. My chum called it a good movie. I would say so, too. Bonus points for being a real-life story, for portraying it the right way with the precise mix of heroes and villains. Hard hitting and effective, Hotel Mumbai paints the canvas with heavy measures of veracity.

 

Rating: 3.55/5

 

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‘Kuya’

El-Nido-Philippines

Hindi ako nakapag-post nung isang linggo. Nagsimula akong makibaka sa sipon at kinailangang i-shutdown yung buong linggo. Buti na lang at di lumala: sore throat lang, stuffy nose, at kaunting sipon. Ipapamahagi ko ngayon ang karanasan nang ako’y nasa Year 2. Noong araw, madalas kaming mag bakasyon sa Tiya namin. Malayo ang biyahe noon, mga apat na oras. Bus pa ang sakayan naming patungo sa kanya. Naalala ko na ginagawa pa lang ang kalye kaya lubak-lubak ang daan. Isang beses sa bus, may matandang ale na umupo sa unahan namin. ‘Marhay ini para pasil an pagluwas’; ewan ko kung bat naalala ko yan.

 

Ninang

Makaraan ang ilang beses, naging malapit ako sa Tiya, na isa sa mga ninang ko. Siya ang nagmamasid sa bukid doon, may mga baka, kalabaw, aso, pusa, baboy atbp. Ang bahay nila’y nakatayo ng 20 taon. Katabi lang ng lupa nila ang dagat. Sariwa ang pagkain sa boondocks, simpleng pamumuhay. Imbes na manok, may isda; ang mga itlog ay galing mismo sa mga manok sa bakuran. Kahit na ilang oras lang ang bukid sa sibilisasyon, naway ito’y ibang planeta. Tila tumigil ang ikot ng mundo, pakiramdam ko biglang bumagal ang takbo ng buhay ko. Walang cable doon, walang cartoons, hindi walking distance ang sari-sari store, bihira ang junk food at uso pa noon ang telegrama.

 

Nakilala ko doon ang 2 pinsan ko, ang mga tao niya na kabilang sina Tiyong David at Elys, at kahit simple lang eh mukhang masaya naman sila. Naalala ko rin ang mga beses na nagalit ang Ninang. Panay kasi ang order ko ng fried chicken, at na-stress pa more. Isang beses, pumunta kami ng All Soul’s Day. Naalala ko pa yung mga kandila sa semeteryo. Inamin ng ninang na hindi niya masyadong naabutan ang nanay niya; maliit pa siya ng ito’s pumanaw. Noong nasa Year 2 din ako, may tinanim akong ampalaya sa paaralan namin. Bago ako umalis, unti-unting nabuhay yung tanim. Sinabi ko kay Tiya na baka mamatay yung tanim ko. Huwag kang mag-alala, sabi niya, may magdidilig ng halaman mo doon. Nakatulong ang reassurance niya at hindi ko na inisip yun. Pagbalik ko nasilayan ko na patay na ang halaman. So much for auntie’s confidence.

 

 

Kuya

Nakikilala ko din si Kuya. Di ko na matandaan ang ngalan niya kasi ang tagal na. Isa siya sa mga kapitbahay ni Ninang. Mukhang matino naman. Naalala ko ilang beses sinamahan niya ako sa beach. Napag usapan naming ang mga aso. Tinanong ako kung sinamahan kong maglangoy ang mga aso namin. Sabi ko di ko alam kung marunong lumangoy. Sabi niya lahat ng aso marunong lumangoy kailangan lang dalhin sa dagat. Nalaman ko later on na hindi siya 100% tama. Not all dogs can swim. Isang beses dinala niya yung niece niya na halos ay kasing edad ko.

 

Isang araw tumungo kami sa isang ‘isla’. Naalala ko may Nakita kaming jellyfish. Sabi ko pwede ba nating iuwi yan? Ah, hindi matetepok ngaya yan; sa dagat lang yan mabubuhay. May Nakita din akong baka sa isla. Tanong ko, bakit may baka dito? Saan ba galing yan? Ah, marahil ay nakatakas yan sa banua. Nabanggit ko din yung somersault. Marunong daw siyang mag-somersault dati, pero wala ng praktis. Mukha namang mabuting ehemplo si kuya. Sandali lang kaming nagkakilala, but he made a lasting impression. Makalipas ang isang dekada, natanong ko si ninang kung saan na si kuya. May pamilya na, sabi niya. Apat na ata yung anak.

 

bournelegacy

 

Bagong Daan

Noong huling punta ko kay ninang, semento na yung daan. Wala ng mga bus at grabe makataga yung mga tricycle driver. Dahil maayos na yung kalye, mas madali na yung biyahe. Hindi na aabot ng 4 oras partungo kay Tiya. Pagpunta ko doon, kasama ng tiyo ko yung kaibigan niya. Pamangkin niya ang tiyo ko pero nakasanayan na namin siyang tawagin na Auntie, at hindi lola. Nabalitaan ko dito na lumisan na yung kumpare ni Tiyo. Kung may aral na mapupulot sa kwento ko, huwag po tayong matakot sa simpleng buhay. Kahit lugmok ang daan, kahit walang junk food, cable o iPhone, walang presyo ang tunay na kaligayahan.

 

halong bay

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Alita: Battle Angel reviewed

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WE FINISHED FEB with a flourish. After seeing The Mule and Green Book (which shockingly won Best Picture), we caught Alita: Battle Angel at the cinemas this past week. Alita is, no question, the month’s biggest release. Based on the popular manga, pundits hailed the stunning special effects, the formidable cast, and the live-wire action. Meanwhile, doubters have claimed that the story was constipated when juxtaposed with the otherworldly visuals. Movie fans also made a big deal of the first collaboration between producer James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez. Moreover, as my buddy pointed out, this was Cameron’s first film since Avatar (2009).

 

Zalem

One thing I can tell you: this film was full-on. Alita (played admirably by Rosa Salazar) is an ancient cyborg with eyes as big as saucers. She subsists in a human wasteland of the future. The concept reminded me of Elysium (2013), as this picture likewise had a dream place (named Zalem). Dr Ido (Christopher Waltz) rescues her from the dump and manages to bring her back to life. Nourished and loved, Alita seeks more. She openly defies her mentor and does not come home before dark. She finds friendship and romance but likewise realises her peers’ desperate hopes of one day stepping foot in Zalem. She plays Motorball, that perilous game of speed and wits, winning over friends. In no time, she soaks in the sport and becomes the best player on the pitch.

 

 

Big budget

My pal commented that Alita keeps getting herself into sticky situations, and that this wouldn’t be the case in real life. I couldn’t agree more. This sets the stage for blazing action sequences, but is that enough to woo audiences? The answer is yes and no. The film, with a $175M budget, grossed only $65 million at the US box office. Audiences clearly did not warm up to the show. However, the worldwide cumulative more than made up for it, as it has eclipsed $200M in overseas markets. The film received mixed reviews from critics, currently holding a 60% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Battle Angel also has some lighter moments, and one particular scene set me off.

 

Changing

Mahershala Ali was underwhelming as the villain Vector. He was the guy pulling the strings at Motorball combat matches. Jennifer Connelly was better as Dr Ido’s ex-wife. What I liked about the movie was how characters changed in the end. Call the movie convoluted, haphazard, all over the place, but you can’t fault Rodriguez for transforming the players. As per above, lacking in action is one thing you can’t surmise about this one. There are fight scenes, Motorball sets, and more fight scenes. At some point, there is even an Edward Norton sighting. My friend was a bit taken aback after appraising the cameo.

 

 

Second chances

We can deduce that Alita is about getting second chances. Believe it or not: even the cheapest lowlifes can be reformed. In addition, when Alita loses her armour, another takes it place. When Dr Ido loses his daughter, he finds a remnant and christens her, Alita. Like many, I did not appreciate the whitewashing. The story, while told in a distant tomorrow, was meant to have Japanese characters. To appeal to wider demographics, Cameron and Rodriguez went off script and called in Hollywood’s big guns. Judging by the box office results, the audience didn’t buy this charade. Enjoyable, yes, but lacking originality and inclusion. Some fans have even deemed Alita as ‘the best manga adaptation’; while having its merits, I beg to differ.

 

Rating: 3.1/5     

 

alita

 

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Newest reads

notredame

 

Since my last list, I have finished a further four novels. I’m currently chipping away at a fifth book and it is the best read of the year so far. I’ve read about two thirds of Open: an autobiography and it’s an absolute page turner. I don’t tackle much nonfiction but this is worth every minute. Agassi’s memoir awakens the tennis fan in me. So, here’s a rundown of the last five, in order of consequence.

 

  1. Open: an autobiography. Andre Agassi’s life story is relatively old (originally released ten years past). However, every page is packed with the champion’s wisdom. From hitting thousands of balls as a kid in Vegas to trying to please his overbearing father, there is oodles of life lessons. Some have even go so far as saying that you don’t need to know the game of tennis to appreciate the book’s beauty. Agassi doesn’t merely teach us about lessons learned from failure, but lessons about life per se.

 

He offers us an insider’s look into life on the tour, his rivalries, challenges, insecurities, relationships and he does this with a razor-sharp memory. We are there in every meaningful match, court-side in every failed relationship. Not only will you cringe, but you will both laugh out loud and feel for Andre. You will grasp his greatest triumphs as well as his worst disappointments. Whether tennis bad boy or elder sage, it is one of the better books you can read. In my opinion, it’s the best tennis book out there. Rating: 5/5

 

 

  1. Angel’s flight. Though published 20 years before, Connelly’s book is every bit as riveting as his other work. We are drawn into a double murder, we feel the racial tension from the streets. A lawyer, the consummate anti-LAPD has been shot dead and the whole Homicide department is under scrutiny. Cracks begin to develop; the lawyer’s double life is exposed. Erstwhile heroes become unraveled, the perp’s identity remains shrouded in mystery and the killer continues to wreak havoc. Someone is deadest on causing mayhem while hiding in the shadows. Meanwhile, the rioting, protesting and gloomy days remain. More work for Harry!

 

His Vegas marriage remains on the rocks, and we could feel his desperation. He calls his house number at every opportunity and listens to the messages. When he’s home, he constantly checks the premises for any sign of his wife. He even asks security to keep tabs on her at the casino, knowing she can’t resist the charms of the pot. His turbulent home life and hectic workload mixes like a bad cocktail. All this adds up to one helluva jaunt. Connelly not only explores pervading issues, he dissects them and democratizes them for us. Rating: 4.8/5

 

 

  1. City of bones. My first completed novel of the year, a long time coming. Detective Harry Bosch is back, this time investigating a case that becomes personal. The discovery of a boy’s bones in the hills of LA makes him think back to his days as an orphan in the City of Angels. He also meets a new flame, and love blossoms. However, a blown assignment leaves Harry in so much trouble. This is another oldie, and we’re talking fax machine old. Yet good fiction never ages, and this is a nice example. It’s classic Bosch: twisting mysteries, long police days, a killer who dodges being unmasked. In between there’s delectable dialogue, powerful relationships and killer storylines. Connelly’s an artist at work. Rating: 4.6/5
  2. Imperial Bedrooms (Ellis). The long-overdue sequel to his debut effort, this is a sad look at the state of both LA and its film industry. Eight years before #metoo, the book takes us to the seedy world beyond the silver screen. Clay, the main character from Zero, returns and so does his penchant for violence, drugs, and using people. Twenty years on, he rediscovers the band of yuppies from his former life, attends killer parties, and yet remains hollow inside. He is now a successful screenwriter but uses this to reinforce his narcissism.

 

The upgrade in technology from landlines to smartphones takes a backseat to the nihilistic culture and irreverent style that’s obviously there for shock value. We are brought to Mulholland Drive to glitzy hotels, luxury cars, and film studios. With all the drama surrounding Clay and company, the stage was set for a monumental finish. This was my third Ellis novel and I could see the parallels between his works. American Psycho was clearly his opus; everything goes downhill from there. This book had its moments though, and I can understand how a critic noted how it’s his ‘most compulsively written book in decades’. And it is short: at 178 pages, I was done after a few days. Rating: 3.9/5

 

 

  1. Less Than Zero (Ellis). Pop quiz: What’s worse than Bret’s latest novel? His first, brother. This was the book that announced Bret’s arrival to the literary scene. Almost as succinct as its successor, we are introduced to his full-on style, his detestable characters who are both rich and wild. We go to parties in the hill, sample the latest doodads, and become witnesses to a list of mind-blowing crimes which arrogant, insufferable and clueless yuppies committed. It’s the life in the fast lane: sex, drugs, and money.

 

We feel Blair’s heartbreak, we hate on Clay. We despise Trent, Rip, Alana, even Julian. Who would imagine that such mundane billboard signs would mean so much? For a short novel, there’s a lot of rumination and Ellis’s run-on sentences quickly becomes the norm. The novel, with all the searching, stopping, partying, meeting and talking, is really about nothing. Imagine Seinfeld, but a book. This reminded me of a Camus work that I tried reading a few weeks ago. I credit Ellis’s writing style for making me finish this read; Camus, while intriguing, was simply too dense for me. The movie had its supporters though, becoming the first Ellis novel adapted into film. However, much like American Psycho later on, the film version was barely recognizable vis-à-vis the original. Rating: 3.6/5

 

lv

 

So, that’s my January/February reading list. You can channel your energies into many things, but you won’t go wrong with reading the right book.

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Green Book reviewed

chitown2

 

This past week my pal and I went to the movies again. We were supposed to see Green Book on two prior occasions but had to defer due to scheduling conflicts. We finally viewed this acclaimed production, and it was worth it. With Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali headlining the cast, the ride was smooth and witty. Green Book is a three-time Globe winner and is currently nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Mortensen) and Best Supporting Actor (Ali). The film also holds a Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, hovering at around 80 percent. With all these accolades you expected the picture to deliver the goods, and it did.

 

Don

Dr Don Shirley is a black savant with mad piano skills. He is on the lookout for a driver, and not just any chauffeur, but someone who will launder his suits, be his bodyguard, get his meals etc. Tony Lip (Mortensen) is a bruiser from the local pub who is out of a job and needs one badly. When he hears of Dr Shirley’s opening, he is intrigued. There is a scene earlier when he shows his dislike for people of colour. The same aversion comes up as he realises that Don is black. Ultimately, the good pay convinces him to give it a go. He then accompanies Don in the Deep South as he does his musical tour.

 

 

Contrasting styles

Throughout the picture, there is racial tension, lighter moments and darker ones. Don faces a lot of adversity during his spell, and Lip is often caught in between. The contrast between the mild-mannered Shirley and Lip is obvious. While Tony smokes his cigarettes and hangs out with the crowd, Shirley prefers to stay in his room and get drunk on expensive wine. While Tony likes to speak his mind, the doctor prefers peace and quiet. They are polar opposites, even in their diet. Tony couldn’t profile Don, as he doesn’t dig soul food and is not your typical black guy.

 

Witty

The picture is quite witty, mainly through Don and Tony’s banter but also with their interactions with others. Though set in the 1960’s, the highlighted issues are still somewhat relevant to this day. During the early 60s, segregation was still in place. Nowadays, racial issues are still a fact in the US; the news reports on police malfeasance against blacks are Exhibit A. We also get a mixture of reactions from Tony: apathy, violence against Don’s oppressors, and disdain towards Don himself. They both ran to, and away from, trouble.

 

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True story

I did not realise that this movie was based on a true story, not until the credits’ scene. The film highlights everything beautiful between two men of varied backgrounds. When two parties work towards achieving a goal, anything is possible. This was one of the lighter productions I’ve seen this year, alongside Instant Family. Tony’s insatiable appetite generated a lot of humour. He pretty much munches on something for most of the runtime. He even introduces KFC to his boss, and this inspires an awkward but riotous encounter.

 

Omnipresent

I concur that the high praise and box office success were well deserved. You could see why the movie continues to entice for months, having been released in November of last year. Green Book is such a fun picture that breezes by. Nick and I were walking around the mall when he said ‘Mahershala Ali’. He was referring to the moving banner that announced Battle Angel. ‘He’s everywhere,’ I told him. I reminded him that we also saw him in Spiderverse. ‘He’s the uncle,’ I told him in response to his query. Oscars win or not, there is no doubt that these movies wouldn’t be the same without Ali. Goodo.

 

Rating: 4.1/5

 

greenbook4

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Big Little Lies reviewed

Big Little Lies

 

I mentioned previously that Homeland was a must-watch. After consuming the first three seasons, I was on the lookout for something new. I tried out Game of Thrones; it is visually stunning and has a cute cast, but some inclusions were distracting. Enter Big Little Lies (BLL). I first heard about the HBO production while watching the Emmys in 2017. Based on Liane Moriarty’s bestselling novel, the series deals with trouble in paradise. The angles were very well shot, making no one mistake that this wasn’t nirvana.

 

Jane

The show begins by welcoming Jane, a young mother, into picturesque Monterrey. She brings her son, soon enrolling him locally. She is vivacious and guarded, but harbors a dark past. While she is happy with her son, the father’s identity remains a mystery that she doesn’t want to solve. She first meets Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) and the two hit it off right away. They often hang out in the café, sharing stories and secrets. Madeline quickly becomes her confidante. On the very first day of school, something vile happens; there is a ruckus, with the lawyer Renata (Laura Dern) crying foul for her daughter (Annabella). When the latter points out Ziggy (Jane’s son), madness ensues. Meanwhile, Ziggy wants to know his father, but Jane rebuffs him at every time. All the while, snippets of police interviews with the townsfolk abound. From the start, viewers are alerted to a murder in sleepy Monterrey, and the authorities want to get to the bottom of this.

 

 

Madeline

Madeline is quick to side with Jane and ostracises Renata. An all-out war ensues, with Renata so certain that Ziggy is the bully, while the latter steadfastly denies this. The town is divided into the Janes and Renata’s. The former likewise struggles with her own daughter, Chloe, who rebels against her. She favours her own dad and stepmom even as Madeline is trying her best. The battle between both sets of parents is a recurring theme on the programme. Madeline and current husband Ed always try to outdo Bonnie and her ex-spouse, and vice-versa. Often heated, this sometimes escalates further. Like Jane, she also has her inner demons and later admits to Chloe that her life isn’t perfect. As a stay at home mum, she channels her energy into her project, a play. She has to fend off Renata, her own folly, and the bloodthirsty council just, so the show must go on.

 

Celeste

Celete (Nicole Kidman) is the third mother in the show’s focus. She is a devoted homemaker to her absentee husband and twin sons. She used to be a high-powered attorney but left the job to be a devoted housewife. Her angst and struggles are foregrounded in the series. Celeste wants to return to her work, but her partner (Alexander Skarsgaard) has his way. She is a victim, yet her friends have no idea what is going on. The couple then seeks therapy to iron out any creases between them. As she tries to be more independent, adversity would swallow her.

 

 

Vivid

For his portrayal of Perry Wright, Celete’s abusive husband, Skarsgaard won both the Globe and the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor. I could say that it was a very vivid portrayal, and that he owned the role. His acting was simply superb, fooling everyone that he was a high-powered executive in a suit when he was indeed touring the country for more sinister reasons. If we must learn one thing from this scenario, it’s this: don’t let the fancy clothes fool you. Appearances and first impressions AREN’T everything.

 

Of course, the recognition for BLL does not end there, with Nicole and Laura Dern both receiving coveted awards for their respective portrayals. There is no doubt that BLL was one of the finest programmes on television that year, if not the finest. Given the title spanned all of seven epidodes in 2017, it proves that quality is of more consequence than quantity. The production was originally meant to be a mini-series, but after a two-year hiatus, the show would return for another season this June. Most of the original cast were reported to be on board again, with some new faces added in as well. Given that it was one of the most loved shows of twenty seventeen, being this year’s most anticipated shows come as no surprise. It’s time for more lies and a lil’ more trouble in Eden.

 

Rating: 5/5

 

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The Mule reviewed

clint2

 

Yesterday my bud and I met up at the Parramatta cinemas. I wanted to see The Mule, and David was happy to tag along. The movie has been released for weeks now and was a commercial success, grossing over $100 million at the global box office, more than twice its budget. Interestingly, the last Eastwood movie I saw at the movies was also with David. That was in 2015, when we beheld American Sniper.

 

Premise

Eastwood’s movies are dark, and this one was no exception. Based from the trailer, I inferred that this would be a slow, dull watch. My friend admitted that it was deliberate, but I found it more engaging than I had imagined. The film’s premise won’t be a secret by now. Eastwood plays Earl Stone, a hardworking octogenarian driver in Chicago who has no time for his family. His daughter hasn’t spoken to him in twelve years, and his sustained absence at family gatherings has made him a pariah among his own kin. He faces money problems, and his house has been foreclosed. At his granddaughter’s engagement party, the former Korean War vet is called into a job that sounds too good to be true. He is given packages that he is not to open, he must drive to an agreed drop off point, and wait for a call on a cell phone provided by his ‘colleagues’. Soon Earl’s financial troubles are a thing of the past, but Stone has unwittingly opened the proverbial Pandora’s box.

 

 

Complex themes

The movie tackles complex themes, including family, old age, and the drug trade. In particular, Eastwood’s years is a focal point in the plot. He is able to get away with a lot because of his advanced years, even evading authorities. He does not know how to text, but he can deliver the goods. Furthermore, he can get away with bribing a sheriff if only to deflect attention from his dodgy ‘workmates’. Indeed, at one point, he is able to outwit an FBI agent (Cooper) over breakfast at the inn. Bates (Cooper) suspected the whole building but never once thought that Stone was the mule. All throughout the picture, you can see him shuffling and looking dejected. On the flip side, his age also lets him become somewhat of an outlier. Since he’s 89, he stands out from the crowd.

 

‘Tata’

Earl hauls in a lot of cash and is soon on his thirteenth run. He does this in his own style, with constant deviations and oldie music. These idiosyncrasies drive his handlers mad. However, his smooth driving catches the attention of the boss, and soon he is rubbing shoulders with the suits. All the while, he has no time for his family but makes up for it with an open wallet. He saves the veterans’ office, and even has time for women. Most importantly, he trades his old pickup for a brand-now black one. He is on the authorities’ radar but always seems able to slip away. They call him ‘tata’.

 

The feds are good, but it takes a while. From gathering evidence, planning and execution, intel to arrests, the process is arduous. They have a tall task ahead of them, and the cartel constantly improvises, leaving them with too little margin for error. Will they unmask tata once and for all?

 

 

Worth a look

Clint Eastwood assembles a stellar cast with Cooper, Lawrence Fishburne, Andy Garcia, Michael Pena, among others. The movie currently has a Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and I believe it’s worth a look. There is a lot to learn from this picture, much more than at surface level. Given it involves Mexicans, there’s even some Spanish dialogue thrown in there. Howzat!

 

Rating: 3.6/5

 

chitown

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