Taken tells the story of Bryan Mills, a retired CIA hitman who is trying to rebuild his relationship with his daughter. Liam Neeson takes the starring role in this tense thriller that doesn’t let up from the moment the action kicks off.
Mills’ 17 year old daughter decides to take a trip to Europe to visit the museums there… or at least that is what she tells her father. It transpires her and a friend (Amanda) are off to follow U2 Vertigo’s tour across Europe. Bryan’s ex wife was aware of the plan all along and eventually, despite his better judgement, he relents and gives his permission for her to travel.
While there she is on the phone to her father when three men burst into the apartment and begin to kidnap Amanda – Bryan talks his daughter through what to do to give him the best chance to find them and he immediately travels to France to try and track the girls down.
Taken is brutal and bleak – Bryan Mills’ journey back into the world he had left behind is one you won’t forget in a hurry and Neeson’s performance is astounding. We watch this man’s struggle to get his child back as panic almost eats him alive.
Needless to say this isn’t a film for the faint hearted but Taken really is a quality film. This is one of the best films I’ve seen in years.
I had heard a fair few positive reviews for The International, but also a small amount of negative ones so I wasn’t sure what to expect as I took my seat.
I was greeted by an opening scene that left me with a smile on my face at the sheer unexpectedness of it. As the credits began to roll I made myself comfortable and prepared for some old skool twists and turns.
The International is a clever thriller starring Clive Owen and Noami Watts as an Interpol agent (Owen) and a District Attorney (Watts) who want to bring down a hugely powerful World bank that is using cheap arms (as in guns, not limbs ) to finance wars so that they can exert control in the Third World.
Let me just pause there for a second and say that this isn’t a difficult film to follow – however it’s not something you can half-watch either and it’s this happy medium, being able to enjoy a complex thriller comfortably without getting lost, that lifted this above some of the recent ‘thrillers’ I have seen.
As the plot progresses (and I’ll try to be as spoiler free as possible) Owen becomes increasingly desperate as his every lead disappears – one way or the other.
Every trick they try to use to discredit or expose the bank is foiled, with the bank seemingly one step ahead.
The acting is good with both Owen and Watts putting in convincing performances and the supporting cast is up to the job. Violence is kept to a minimum which means when it does arrive it has a great deal more impact than you’d expect.
The story plays out across Europe, with some stunning scenery and back drops. There were a few moments of comic relief to ease the tension which were very welcome as the sense of incoming danger was always on the horizon.
Overall this was a tightly executed film that benefitted from a strong, coherent storyline and some good acting from the leads.
It won’t win any major awards and it certainly isn’t a ‘date movie’ but The International is a very entertaining thriller that I think most people would enjoy.