Psycho on a Phone


Director: Nimrod Antal

Cast: Liam Neeson, Embeth Davidtz, Jack Champion, Lilly Aspell, Noma Dumezweni, Matthew Modine

Running Time: 1 hour 31 minutes

Film Rating: 5 out of 10

Machete director Nimrod Antal who is of Hungarian descent returns to the big screen with another Liam Neeson action thriller Retribution but unfortunately this 90 minute action film does not make the standard in terms of entertainment, pacing or a decent storyline. In fact director Nimrod Antal needs to go back to Film School and learn about pacing a cinematic narrative so that a story is in fact gripping and exciting and not one-dimensional.

Oscar nominee Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List) stars as shady corporate hedge fund dealer Matt Turner who is self-obsessed and arrogant until he regrettably decides to drop his two children off at school in Berlin. The kids, Emily and Zach are well played by rising stars Lily Aspell (Wonder Woman) and Jack Champion (Avatar: The Way of Water) and are naturally unhappy about being driven to school by an emotionally unavailable father.

Things go considerably pear-shaped when Matt receives a call from a Psycho on a Phone who tells him that unless he wires 208 Million Euros from a Dubai bank account he is going to blow up the Mercedes SUV that they are all travelling in.

Retribution takes place entirely in a Mercedes, but naturally the claustrophobic setting of a film, which fails to use the location of Germany’s capital city Berlin effectively becomes a monotonous film about a father dealing with a crazy person who feels nothing at killing innocent people including his two children.

Even Swaziland born star Noma Dumezweni (Mary Poppins Returns, Little Mermaid) who plays Europol chief Angela Brickmann fails to alleviate the monotony of this film with her bland confrontation with Matt Turner and his family.

Where the Taken franchise was so brilliant, with non-stop action and fighting, Retribution plods along with little diversion and Liam Neeson has one expression on his face: why did I do this movie?

Retribution is by far the worst film I have seen this year, with an impractical storyline with little background on each characters and a narrative which is implausible. Some of the actions scenes are good, but being released just after the incredible summer blockbuster season headlined by such fantastic films as Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning and Oppenheimer, Retribution comes across as dull, with an even worse ending slightly alleviated by a shocking twist which the screenwriter fails to capitalize on. Unfortunately the talents of Embeth Davidtz and Matthew Modine are equally wasted in this atrocious thriller.

This film is more bad than good, so the film rating is 5 out of 10, saved only by Zach Turner’s famous line: There is a Psycho on the Phone.

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