“The Night My Number Came Up,” directed by Leslie Norman

Movie, 1955 Solid, well-told story of a premonition of a plane crash and the gloomy unfolding of all the circumstances which rather suggest a lead up to tragedy. While this all feels very stiff upper-lip, there are some interesting characters and enough British actors to spot and to keep most people happy. The ending, it’s true, feels rushed and entirely underdone, but this is an … Continue reading “The Night My Number Came Up,” directed by Leslie Norman

“Lift to the Scaffold,” directed by Louis Malle

Movie, 1958 Hugely atmospheric thriller, in which a murder goes wrong and things spiral out of control for two couples as a result. The dreamy sequences, Miles Davis’ improvised soundtrack and some wonderful performances all give the film a detached, dreamy feeling. The escapades of the younger couple – a flower girl and juvenile delinquent – are set in opposition to the main action, set … Continue reading “Lift to the Scaffold,” directed by Louis Malle

The Hypnotist, directed by Montgomery Tully

Movie, 1957 Fairly effective, though fairly forgettable story about an experimental jet pilot, suffering psychologically, after a test flight goes badly wrong and he’s forced to bail out. His referral to a hypnotist has dramatic and unintended consequences, as characters and situations are pulled in and conspire to frame a story of murder and mayhem. Thrills and spills are scattered along the way, and show … Continue reading The Hypnotist, directed by Montgomery Tully

‘The Cry of the Owl,’ by Patricia Highsmith

Novel, 1962 Terrific psychological thriller, in which a deranged cast of characters get involved and wound up with each other’s affairs. Every one of them ends up in a much worse place than when they started. A terrific piece of storytelling, in which tragic and almost comedically escalating situations involving stalking, ex-wives and vengeful lovers are played out against a backdrop of respectable small town … Continue reading ‘The Cry of the Owl,’ by Patricia Highsmith

‘Run,’ directed by Aneesh Chaganty

Movie, 2020 Pretty solid, fairly standard psychological thriller, featuring a dysfunctional mother/daughter relationship. While there’s a degree of knowing what’s coming next, and genre tropes are dutifully ticked off, this is nonetheless well done and watchable. A new moments, perhaps, of unintended humour here and there, but a good watch for genre fans. The two main actresses are excellent throughout and rinse as much tension … Continue reading ‘Run,’ directed by Aneesh Chaganty

‘I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore,’ directed by Macon Blair

Movie, 2017 Quirky independent American film, following the adventures of a nurse, who engages the help of a heavy metal fan to investigate the robbery of her home. The quick descent and peril endured by the heroes at the hands of unrelenting and grim aggressors and an over stretched police department is both funny and fast paced – the sense of essentially decent, flawed and … Continue reading ‘I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore,’ directed by Macon Blair

“Red Sparrow,” directed by Francis Lawrence

Movie, 2018 A welcome characterisation of a strong female central character, dumped, somewhat, in what feels like and old-fashioned anti-Russian espionage film, albeit from the Russian Red Sparrow’s point of view. While much of the film feels modern, the routing out of the mole, the nipping across borders and coming up against double agents is a little passé, while the sex and gore feel overdone … Continue reading “Red Sparrow,” directed by Francis Lawrence

‘Gone Girl,’ by Gillian Flynn

Novel, 2012 Thriller, written from the viewpoints of the two main protagonists, in which a husband falls under suspicion of murder following the disappearance of his wife. A page turning read, with a number of twists and turns along the way. The interesting aspect of this book is the dual narration and the way that develops and gives nods, here and there, to straightforward mysteries, … Continue reading ‘Gone Girl,’ by Gillian Flynn

“All the Money in the World”, directed by Ridley Scott

Movie, 2017 Account of the kidnap and eventual outcome when Italian terrorists snatched John Paul Getty’s grandson, John Paul Getty the Third. A film which is well shot and focusses on the emotional struggles, particularly of mother Gail Harris, but also Cinquanta, the kidnapper closest to the victim. Period detail, the gruesome paparazzi and scenes of brutality towards the victim pepper a film which may … Continue reading “All the Money in the World”, directed by Ridley Scott

“Charade,” directed by Stanley Donen

Movie, 1963 Lavish spy caper in part; in another part, the glimpses of a crueller brutality and corrupt world give what looks like an old-fashioned romantic thriller and uncomfortable and, at times, ill-fitting feel. Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn are their usual feel good, charming selves, although they feel a little lost and silly in a Paris which seems hemmed in and dangerous. The sumptuous … Continue reading “Charade,” directed by Stanley Donen