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Non-Review Review: The Frozen Ground

Despite strong central performances and a firm directorial hand, The Frozen Ground never quite manages to find its footing. Part se7en, part secondary school civics lesson, The Frozen Ground suffers from a ham-fisted script which feels the need to constantly remind the audience about how terrible the whole situation is. Characters don’t deliver dialogue so much as thematic statements, with the script playing out as an over-extended advertisement for a women-in-trouble charity.

The issues raised by The Frozen Ground about how society treats the abused and the dispossessed are definitely worth talking about. The film makes a lot of poignant criticisms about how the opinions and experiences of a certain class of women are conveniently dismissed and overlooked by those in positions of authority. The problem is that the script is far too earnest about such matters, as if afraid that the audience might be unable to grasp the exploitation of these women unless it is pointed out repeatedly and awkwardly.

It’s less of a film, and more of a blunt mission statement. Less of a story and more of a bleak public service announcement. Which is a shame, because John Cusack is legitimately great here, and Nicolas Cage and Vanessa Hudgens do the best they can with the material afforded to them.

Feeling quite Cage-y on the subject...

Feeling quite Cage-y on the subject…

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Non-Review Review: Phone Booth

Phone Booth is proof that the high-concept thriller isn’t quite dead yet. A concept that had been floating around Hollywood for decades (with the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock, lined up to direct at one point), it seemed that – with the decline of the phone booth and the rise of mobile phones – perhaps the window in which to tell the tale might be closing. Of all the directors to bring the tale to the screen, I don’t think I ever would have expected Joel Schumacher to make one of the most intense and superbly intimate little thrillers ever written to the screen.

There's a lot on the line...

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