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The Sentinel

Film Four Stars

The Sentinel was a film that we'd heard much about, and it was bringing Michael Douglas into a strong thriller and slightly action orientated role at a time when other actors of his age are settling back to a half arsed comedy career. Well hats off to you Mr Douglas, because you pulled this film off superbly.

Alongside him are Keifer Sutherland, who manages to move a little away from Jack Bauer (but not that much really) and Eva Longoria, both of whom provide great backup for Douglas, but it's the Sutherland and Douglas partnership that really commands the screen.

Sentinel seemed a slightly tired and worn story when it was first announced, but this is something that's soon cleared away when the film begins.

TheSentinel.jpgThis is another review that's sat for about a week and so has missed everyone who wanted to go and see it at the cinema, however I'll still post it and guarantee that when I see movies I'll post the review next day - note that I've moved my day off from Monday's to Friday's to try and catch more "just released" films.

Again, many thanks to Edinburgh's Ocean Terminal Vue Cinema for helping me see these films for review. They are a superb multiplex with great screens and a superb location in the Ocean Terminal shopping centre. If you're in Edinburgh, you won't go far wrong here.

I was surprised at how good and young Douglas looks on screen, although as the film progresses you can see the age begin to appear. This is usually during action or running sequences, or the odd few moments you catch yourself looking at that stretched face thinking is it or isn't it. That aside, his performance is superb here, and reminded me of a younger role in The Star Chamber.

Douglas plays Pete Garrison, a Secret Service agent who once took a bullet for President Reagan (how that makes him disgraced according to the film blurb I don't know). He's still on duty, but now he's one of the lead agents guarding the First Lady.

During his everyday duties he uncovers a possible plot to kill the President, played by David Rasche (Sledgehammer to you and me) and he informs his superior.

During the investigation it's discovered that there's a mole in the Secret Service, and that the mole might well be him. It's not long before the Service turn against him and he becomes a fugitive out to uncover the plot, save the President and clear his name. Easy.

The acting is strong throughout the film, Douglas has power, presence and yet manages to give some very "everyman" moments. Longoria was good and didn't rely on her looks and previous roles to give us more of the same, but as I said earlier it is the Sutherland and Douglas partnership that make this film.

Sutherland is Bauer, and it's going to be very difficult for him to break that, especially in a film where he's playing a Secret Service agent. This time though he doesn't break the rules, and he does manage to pull away from that role a little and that's incredibly hard considering the similarities. Yet when that gun is pulled and he's covering the corner as his partner moves forward, you can't help but think Jack.

The two of them together spark off each other superbly. You almost get the feeling that Douglas was there being the older more experienced actor and Sutherland just leapt up to him without a second thought. At times they feel like friends, and at other times they are spitting like enemies, and always there's a tension between them that reaches out to you.

The story is well written and well filmed, and despite the blurb reading like a standard agent thriller, it does have some interesting twists and turns that keep the story moving. It's well filmed too, with fast cuts and some great visualised moments, for example the reminder of constant danger by overlaying images of letters with audio of threats is very effective and continually raises the tension.

The opening scenes show that this isn't going to follow the average route you thought it might. It plays out the President's itinerary from the point of view of the Secret Service, using the communications of the agents over the filming of their movements with the President. It's a slightly different approach and plays out really well.

From that moment I felt the tension appear, and the film does a superb job of keeping that going right through to the closing scene.

Surprisingly for me, I didn't guess the twist, and usually I do in most thrillers I watch. It's not hard when you've seen so many and it's a Hollywood film. What makes the story even stronger is that it didn't end or let up with the twist reveal, it kept going with a very good ending.

This is a well written, well filmed, and very well acted thriller. It is tense throughout and delivered on all levels, and not only that it provided a strong sense of reality too, you felt as though the Secret Service were following actual procedures and behaving as they would in real life. All this together made for a very strong film and delivered a great thriller. Well worth seeing.


Trailers:
The Guardian
Actually I am surprised at this trailer, and a little intrigued. Costner looks strong, and the effects look superb. However I do worry that this is The Bodyguard for lifesavers, and it does look incredibly cheesy.

The Prestige
Wow. This is a version of the trailer I hadn't seen until now, and it's very strong. They've managed to keep a lot of the story back until the full trailer and this gives you some nice revelations. It looks creepy, atmospheric and strong in the thriller department, then of course you have those two excellent leads in the form of Jackman and Bale.

Right at Your Door
This version of the trailer did surprise me. It gives a totally different feel to the film in that it's no longer concentrating on the terrorist attack and it's all about the man in his house, the wife locked outside, and some strong twist in the story. It turned the whole film around for me and is definitely a film I want to see.

World Trade Center
It's hard to say anything that hasn't already been said about this, suffice to say the trailer is incredibly well put together and pulls emotions from you that you would normally only experience during a film when you've been connected with a character for a fair amount of time. This film is going to be incredibly intense.


Edinburgh Ocean Terminal Vue Cinema
IMDB UK Film Details





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Comments

I wish I had seen this film instead of "The Black Dahlia", I didnt even realised you had reviewed this already! *sighs*

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