Netflix (again!): Extraction

Another popular movie running on Netflix. This is a fairly-run-of-the-mill ‘killer seeks redemption kind of a story starring Chris Hemsworth (y’know … the Mighty Thor) as a mercenary trying to save the kidnapped son of a drug lord.

Image search fail: I had to wade through some pretty gruesome tooth extraction pictures before finding this.

There’s nothing here that really sets it apart from other movies with morally ambiguous action heroes, but I did like it: the film has heart, as well as some of the most devastating action sequences I’ve ever seen (yes, even better The Old Guard from a few days back). Hemsworth manages to deliver a surprisingly sophisticated air of hard-bitten vulnerability, and his young charge (ably played by Rudhraksh Jaiswal) convincingly takes apart the soldier’s emotional armour and finds the makings of a hero inside. Pretty good stuff, actually.

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Netflix: The Old Guard

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, The Old Guard is Netflix’s most watched movie at the moment, and since I had a spare afternoon (one of many) I thought it was worth a look.

Okay, to begin with, the plot isn’t really much to write home about: The Old Guard is a group of immortal mercenaries (ably led by Charlize Theron) with a conveniently flexible set of moral values which has steered them to champion the downtrodden and oppressed for the past several thousand years, while presumably making a ton of cash on the side.

Through a series of flashbacks and moody chats around the campfire, the story tells us who they are and why they’ve been targeted by a pharmaceutical wunderkind who wants to carve them into slivers so he can unlock secret behind their immortality.

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Devs

My favourite lockdown binge so far, though it’s kind of hard to describe: a cross between Killing Eve and Jesus Christ Superstar (Jesus even makes a cameo appearance). It’s funny, inventive, has one of the best deadpan cast of characters I’ve ever seen. (Nick Offerman is pure genius), and the script is a pared-down thing of joy. Devs takes place round about now-ish and is the story of a company that is working to develop the holy grail of computer systems: a quantum machine that can

Yup, a game-changer, and the shady techs behind it will kill employees, foreign spies and just about anyone else to keep it a secret.

Devs is a slow-burner: the set (especially the computer – they’re actually working inside the computer!) is a work of art. The whole piece is quiet, atmospheric with dialogue that works effortlessly around some pretty mind-blowing concepts: probability, quantum computing, multiple universes: they’ve thrown the whole Sci-Fi manual at it, and still managed to keep it compulsive viewing. As I’ve said, it’s a standout performance by Nick Offerman (remember Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation?) as the haunted CEO of the company, wracked with doubts over what he’s trying to do.

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