Archive for the ‘Kathryn Bigelow’ Category

Terror at the Algiers


Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Cast: John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Jack Reynor, Hannah Murray, Kaitlyn Dever, John Krasinski, Anthony Mackie, Ben O’Toole, Jennifer Ehle

Oscar winning director of The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow comes with an impressive resume of films including Zero Dark Thirty. In her latest film with screenwriting partner Mark Boal Detroit, they viscerally tackle police brutality and racial tension in Motown, once the centre for the American automobile industry.

Detroit features a cleverly cast group of emerging young actors including British stars John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Will Poulter (The Revenant), while director Bigelow dissects in vivid and intense detail a murderous incident at the Algiers Motel on the night of the 25th July 1967.

Bigelow goes beyond racial polarities and cinematically retells a terrible incident whereby a young group of African American men were terrorized by White police men at the Algiers Motel headed by the sadistic Krauss excellently played by Will Poulter in one of his most prolific onscreen roles.

The group of African American singers headed up by Larry played by Algee Smith are equally traumatized by the lengthy incident when all they wanted to do was establish their singing group The Dramatics hoping to raise a similar celebrity status to The Supremes as they attempt to perform in downtown Detroit when a riot causes the show to be cancelled.

This was the Midwest in 1967. The American civil rights movement was in full swing as was the deployment of troops in the infamous war in Vietnam. American society was transforming exponentially.

Detroit is an extremely important film about visual identification and racial representation made pertinent by the ongoing debate about whether director Kathryn Bigelow as a white female director is the right person to be retelling the horrific Algiers incident whereby white policemen play the death game on the group of young African American men and taunt them because they are courting two young white prostitutes Julie played by Hannah Murray and Karen played by Kaitlyn Dever.

The three policemen responsible for the incident are Demens played by Jack Reynor (Macbeth, Sing Street), Flynn played by Ben O Toole (Hacksaw Ridge) and the aforementioned Krauss. John Boyega plays Dismukes a young African American man working two jobs one in a an automobile factory and the other as a night security guard who stumbles on the events at the Algiers when Carl played by Jason Mitchell shoots a toy gun at the National guard in the midst of inner city race riots.

What stood out in Detroit was how all the characters both Black and White are affected by a heightened level of inherent violence and male aggression, something which Bigelow highlights and Detroit suggests that this aggression is endemic in American society regardless of skin colour.

Framed against the incident is also the emotional story of Larry’s refusal after the event and subsequent trial to continue performing in The Dramatics at downtown nightspots where mostly white policeman can enjoy Motown music.

The racial signifiers in Detroit are complex but the narrative tension is brilliantly executed with a resonance and skill rarely seen in contemporary cinema. Detroit is an important film for everyone to watch, contributing to a cinematic study of race relations internationally and raises pertinent questions of visual representation.

Detroit gets a film rating of 8 out of 10. Highly recommended viewing for those that enjoy intelligently told docudramas about the turbulent 1960’s in America.

63rd BAFTA Awards



Took place on Sunday 21st February 2010 in London



Best Film: The Hurt Locker

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker


Best Actor: Colin Firth – A Single Man

An Education

Best Actress: Carey Mulligan – An Education


Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds


Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique – Precious

Rising Star Award: Kristen Stewart


Best British Film: Fish Tank directed by Andrea Arnold

Best Original Screenplay: The Hurt Locker – Mark Boal


Best Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air – Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner


Best Costume Design: The Young Victoria

A_ProphetBest Foreign Language Film: A Prophet directed by Jacques Audiard (France/Italy)

Source: 63rd BAFTA Awards


Timeline of Terror

Zero Dark Thirty

Superb Tradecraft

Superb Tradecraft

Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow’s brilliant yet riveting film Zero Dark Thirty is a masterful film, held together by a central performance by Jessica Chastain as CIA Intelligence Operative Maya and a superb script by Mark Boal, who also collaborated with Bigelow on the equally impressive The Hurt Locker.

This complex film opens with the flight recordings of the United 93 plane that crashed in Pennsylvania during the September 2001 US Terror attacks sparking an obsessive and frustrating hunt for the Al Qaeda mastermind Osama Bin Laden by the CIA and specifically Maya initially from the hostile environment of Pakistan then based at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. The narrative charts a veritable timeline of terror that has characterized the first decade of the 21st century, from 9/11 to the London Transport bombings in July 2005, to the Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad in September 2008 to the suicide bombing at the American military base, Camp Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan in December 2009.

Zero Dark Thirty is a brilliant spy thriller and unlike Argo, is deadly serious in every respect and is grounded in much historical research and investigative journalism, noted in the detailed script by Mark Boal. As in The Hurt Locker, Bigelow once again casts her central character in a completely hostile and extremely dangerous environment and the petite Maya as the tenacious CIA operative who skilfully leads the hunt for and final execution of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind many international terrorist attacks, most notably 9/11 and the 2005 London bombings.


Bigelow as a director takes on a larger canvas than in the Iraq War in The Hurt Locker and shows that the decade long hunt for America’s most wanted enemy was an international affair from Pakistan to Poland to Kuwait involving CIA black sites, detailed surveillance and lots of political wrangling.


A notable narrative shift is from the film’s first half set under the Bush administration where torture, rendition and revenge were the CIA’s chief instruments of capturing Al Qaeda terrorists to the second half set after November 2008 under the Obama administration where detailed surveillance, dedication and  almost positive certainty of terrorist tradecraft which ultimately lead to the riveting  elimination of Osama Bin Laden at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011, Zero Dark Thirty is deadpan in its presentation of one nations hunt for a master terrorist and the extraordinary sacrifice and lengths these CIA operatives went to in finally achieving their goal.

Jessica Chastain performance is simply superb and has already garnered a 2013 Golden Globe Award and truly shows her talent and diversity in the role of Maya but also points to Kathryn Bigelow ability  to bring out the best performance ever in her leading actors, as was the case with Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker. The final sequence involving the storming of the Abbottabad compound, believed to be Bin Ladin’s hideout by elite American soldiers is truly nerve-wracking cinema, shot with Bigelow’s trademark directorial detachment cut through with absolute documentary styled realism.

Zero Dark Thirty has a great supporting cast including Jason Clarke as the CIA torturer Dan, Kyle Chandler as CIA Pakistan operations chief Joseph Bradley along with Mark Strong, Jennifer Ehle and James Gandolfini, but it is really Chastain’s obsessive portrayal of CIA Operative Maya, a woman battling to gain respect in a male dominated espionage arena, that shows her true talent. The pace of Zero Dark Thirty is fast and yet measured enough to show the time involved assisted by an original score by Alexandre Desplat and with cutting edge sound editing, the audience is immediately immersed in a deeply fascinating portrait of America’s covert hunt for that nation’s Enemy Number One. Highly Recommended and definitely Oscar worthy.

82nd Academy Awards

Oscar Winners for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards: ~

Sunday 7th March 2010

The 82nd Academy Award Winners


Best Film – The Hurt Locker

Best Director – Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker 


Best Actor – Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart


Best Actress –Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side


Best Supporting Actress – Mon’que – Precious


Best Supporting Actor – Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

Best Original Screenplay – Mark Boal for the Hurt Locker

Best Adapted Sreenplay – Geoffrey Fletcher for Precious based upon the novel Push by Sapphire

Secret in their Eyes

Best Foreign Language Film – The Secret in Their Eyes by Juan Jose Campanella (Argentina)

Best Film Editing – The Hurt Locker


Best Cinematography – Avatar


Best Costume Design – Sandy Powell – The Young Victoria

Best Visual Effects – Avatar

Best Original Score – UP

Best Original Song – Crazy Heart – The Weary Kind

Best Cinematography – Avatar


Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
March 2018
« Feb    
  • Box Office: ‘Black Panther’ Rules ‘Tomb Raider’ to Claim Fifth Top Weekend
    Disney-Marvel’s “Black Panther” will score a rare fifth weekend at the top of the domestic box office with $27 million from 3,834 locations, beating out Warner Bros.’ “Tomb Raider,” which will open with about $22 million from 3,854 sites. “Black Panther” has continued to break records across the box office, having brought in $585 million […]
    Erin Nyren
  • FX Sends ‘The Americans’ Off in Style With Final Season Premiere
    The list of thank-yous was long and emotions were high on Friday night as the extended family of FX’s “The Americans” gathered at Alice Tully Hall for the spy drama’s sixth and final season premiere. “Get comfortable, we’re going to be here a while,” “Americans” creator Joe Weisberg told the crowd as he and co-showrunner […]
    Cynthia Littleton
  • Asian Film Awards: ‘Youth’ Wins Top Prize From ‘Demon Cat’
    The 12th edition of the Asian Film Awards saw Chen Kaige’s “The Legend of the Demon Cat” emerge as the numerical winner. But it missed out on the best film prize, which went to “Youth,” directed by fellow mainland Chinese director Feng Xiaogang. “Demon Cat,” a period fantasy mounted on an unparalleled scale in China […]
    Patrick Frater
  • Barbra Streisand Talks #MeToo at PaleyFest LA: ‘We’re in a Strange Time’
    A night devoted to celebrating the TV legacy of Barbra Streisand was not without her reflections on the #MeToo movement. Kicking off the opening night of the annual PaleyFest at Hollywood’s Dolby Theater on Friday, Streisand commented on how the fight for gender equality is currently at a fever pitch. “We’re in a strange time […]
    Andrew Wallenstein
  • Lucas Hedges to Play Shia LaBeouf in ‘Honey Boy’
    Lucas Hedges will play a younger version of Shia LaBeouf in the family drama “Honey Boy,” with LaBeouf playing his own father. The story of a child star attempting to mend his relationship with his law-breaking, alcohol-abusing father over the course of a decade, it’s loosely based on LaBeouf’s life. “Honey Boy” was LaBeouf’s childhood nickname. […]
    Dave McNary