Hounds of Love


Viewed – 01 January 2018  online-rental

I consider abduction / kidnap as one of the most disturbing crimes anyone can do to another person, so sat down to this Australian thriller with a mixture of trepidation and intrigue.  This tells the story of a teenage schoolgirl who falls victim one night to a sexually depraved couple, who abduct and then imprison girls in their suburban house, using them for their sexual needs before discarding them once they’re bored … usually leading to a shallow grave in the woods.

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Inspired by real life crimes of a similar type, this pulls no punches.  It’s shot in a very realistic and voyeuristic style, that makes for very uncomfortable viewing, although I found myself absorbed thanks to strong performances, especially from Ashleigh Cummings as Vicki in a harrowing turn.  Director Ben Young doesn’t linger too much on the more violent or sexual aspects, instead choosing to cut away and leave a lot to the imagination … whilst keeping enough in to hammer home the full extent of the couple’s depravity.  I should also point out the atmospheric score, subtle but well judged to increase the intensity.  The exploration of the couple’s brittle relationship was also well observed, along with how Vicki attempts to drive a wedge between them.

I felt support characters like the boyfriend and father were under-developed and Police are as usual portrayed as incompetent idiots.  It also gets a bit predictable in the final act.  That being said I came away rather affected by this, and therefore give it a firm recommendation.

Verdict:  4 /5

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Gone Baby Gone


Viewed – 01 February 2014  Netflix

Taken me a while to review this and it seemed the most interesting choice on Netflix as I was perusing titles suitable for both my mother and father to watch at same time … so anything particularly violent or with sex in it is usually out the window.  This 2007 drama stars Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan as a 30 something couple who are also private investigators.  They get hired by the dysfunctional family of a recently kidnapped girl after the Police fail to produce leads.  Will they manage to find the girl when the authorities could not?

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Based on a novel by Dennis Lehane and Directed by Ben Affleck, who has increasingly made a name for himself as a director with titles like the Oscar-magnet Argo … this I feel is his most assured and meaningful film, with a real-world relevance in reflection to those missing children headlines we hear about.  Co-starring Morgan Freeman as a world-weary Police Chief (isn’t he always?) and Ed Harris as a special agent Casey turns to during his investigation, this has decent performances across the board.  Although taking a while to warm to, Ben’s younger sibling proved a believable and watchable lead and well, I’m a fan of the gorgeous Monaghan who again proves convincing.  It doesn’t gloss over the more harrowing aspects of child abduction neither.  For a movie watched with my parents, the language was stronger than I felt necessary, but that’s my only sticking point.

The story had plenty of twists and turns, keeping me guessing throughout (although I got lost a little) and even when I thought I had it figured out, pretty much guessing one of the bad guys early on … the final morality-punch was a surprise, leaving me thinking ever since.  Well worth checking out.

Verdict:  4 /5