A Dark Thriller the likes of which Hitchcock would be proud of… Well crafted and visually appealing with a strong line-up of leading roles!!! Maryam Hassouni is a sensation!!!
A short while back on our illustrious podcast we had the pleasure of interviewing up and comer Mike Beckingham, the interview was for his turn in Tom Paton’s upcoming flick Black Site. However when we made the call for the chat, Mr Beckingham was in Amsterdam on the set of his new flick Amsterdam Secrets, he couldnt tell us much about what this one was about but was able to let us know a couple of the cast members and that he was really excited for people to see what he was up to.
Jump forward and we have a release of the movie, now called The Host and available on streaming sites like Amazon Prime and Google Play. Damn was I excited to see this one. I was going in blind having not watched or read anything and having only seen some stills that to be honest made me think that if anything the movie was going to be visually appealing. I truly wasnt sure what to expect but my days it wasn’t exactly this…
So lets get into The Host…
Stars: Maryam Hassouni, Mike Beckingham, Dougie Poynter
Robert Atkinson (Beckingham) is a young London banker and today the oppourtunity to show the lady in his life how great things could be with him has arrived. When locking up the bank for the weekend he takes a whole bunch of cash that he intends to make into a whole buch more cash by gambling it all. Unsurprisingly and because you know, movies, He loses all the cash but is about to gain a new “friend” in Mr Lau (Togo Igawa). Robert’s new “friend” offers to clear all of his debts and then some if he just takes one briefcase to Amsterdam and brings another back. Next thing we know there is a lot of twisty turny stuff going on as Amsterdam is about to reveal some deep dark secrets about itself and Robert is pulled into some dark messed up stuff. Stuff including Vera Tribble (Maryam Hassouni) a very gentle caring soul that happily opens up her doors to Robert in his time of need, but does she have other motives?.
So thats enough for plot… First thing I want to bring up is the cinematography here, Yes I will rave about the performances in a moment but I thought Oona Menges did a great job when shooting in London and Amsterdam making both citys look slick, overall there was a particular feeling to this movie and it worked in all settings (even the darker moments). The mix of a really nice score and cinematography breathes a lot of life into the tension we have to endure here.
The line-up in this flick is a mixture of up and comers and actors that will have you IMDB’ing because you know you know them from that film you saw. I want to start with our two leading men Mike Beckingham and Dougie Poynter (yes McFlys Dougie Poynter). I know this will come across as a little biased because Mike is a friend of the show. However this is yet another string to the Beckingham bow. By that I mean once again he is going in another direction from the last time I saw him on screen showing yet more range and putting in a performance that demands your attention. I keep saying this and I truly belive it but this young man is going places with his old school leading man on screen presence that you rarely get these days. Dougie Poynter for me was a wild card having only really known him from the band McFly and that Lindsey Lohan flick they all cameod in. You can all breathe a sigh of relief because he is solid, not a massive great deal to do but gives this reviewer a sense of excitement to see what he does next. There is a history of band members that broke out of the mould to make it as actors, show us what you got Mr Poynter I will be keeping an eye out. Extra house points for Derek Jacobi putting in a couple of scenes, I dont know if these where added later in the day but hey If Jacobi is available put him in your movie, always good to see him.
Maryam Hassouni is brilliant… A real Annie Wilkes vibe, I never knew what this character was thinking and just when you think you have a good read on her well you were bloody wrong. I can’t really talk much on the character because spoilers but her performance is really understated and subtle to begin with and it pulls you right into this world, to the point when you get one of the many reveals in the movie she nails it. Nigel Barber, this is one of those actors I guarantee you know from tons of stuff. Barber ties a lot of threads together but the character seems to be pretty erratic at times.
This brings me to a negative because honestly I felt Barber and his character fell slight victims to this. The pacing of this movie brings up issues in the later third. We spend a good chunk of the movie in slow burn mode which is absolutlely fine because its lends itself to plot and time to live with our characters, this builds tension upon tension which is ideal in a good thriller (and this is a good thriller), We get the turn and suddenly the flick pumps its breaks for a minute only to ramp back up again for the run in to the end. Its a nit pick but it usually means the loose ends are tied up thick and fast because we dont want our run time going to long, I would possibly have been okay with another 10 minutes just to tighten things up a touch. That may just be me though make your own mind up and let me know in the comments.
This is a huge recommend from 365, the film builds and builds and builds playing on your mind like some of the best thrillers of our time paying its dues to movies like The Shining, Psycho, Misery and the likes, having that old school classic feeling with a decidedly fresh modern take. A great looking flick with solid performances that I feel will find the audience it deserves.
4 outta 5 from us…