Dead Shot

Dead Shot
Dead Shot
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1975, London. Imagine enduring what people who lived through the thirty-year ordeal that was officially called The Troubles had to go through on a daily basis if you consider your life complicated enough. Dead Shot is set amidst paranoia, threats of violence, and spies all over the place, it has just been released in theaters and on demand. In addition to highly esteemed actors Mark Strong and Felicity Huffman, the film also features Aml Ameen and Colin Morgan as co-stars; however, there are quite a few characters and subplots that may seem slightly underdeveloped.

Nonetheless, dual protagonists familiar faces unique setting occasional gripping action sequences make it worth tuning in for.

Movies or TV shows where a protagonist eventually turns out to be an antagonist are always interesting. “I could use a dead shot like you,” says police anti-terrorist chief Holland (Mark Strong) to Tempest (Aml Ameen) early on — hence the film’s title. One of two key figures in Dead Shot is Tempest while this is one of the unique strengths of the movie.

The other main actor is ex-IRA terrorist Michael (Colin Morgan), whose wife is accidentally killed by Tempest during the film’s opening scene – a botched border crossing incident. The remainder of this movie then plays out like some kind of gritty revenge flick where we don’t know whether we’re supposed to cheer for Tempest, Michael or none at all.

The IRA was an Irish republican military organization which sought an end to British rule in Northern Ireland from late 1960s up until late 1990s. Dead Shot revolves around Michael who infiltrates into paranoid and violent-ridden London in search for his wife’s killer – Tempest. On his way, he meets Catherine an IRA photographer (Felicity Jones) who knows about Tempest more than others do.

On his part, Tempest suffers persecution from his coworkers and is eventually approached by the head of police antiterrorist division Holland (Mark Strong) and asked to find IRA members. It’s a harsh assignment and Holland puts him to the test but Tempest must take it up if he doesn’t want to be blamed for murdering an unarmed woman, that is Michael’s wife.

As the Guard brothers recently disclosed to MovieWeb, achieving a 70s-in-London look is quite a challenge even for an independent film. However, Dead Shot manages this with numerous retro cars and old-fashioned costumes. Mark Strong (Zero Dark Thirty, Tár) as a police captain looks just perfect at the helm of affairs, with his hairpiece and cold demeanor. A role that Mark could do in his sleep but always good for any gritty British project like Dead Shot.

By the way, Felicity Jones’ supporting part isn’t very demanding on her yet it’s still great seeing her work despite the fact she has done much meatier roles in previous years; hello Rogue One and The Theory of Everything.

This does not mean that it was enough to take away the performances of possibly leading men Aml Ameen and Colin Morgan as leading characters. One outstanding moment in Morgan’s performance is when his character Michael finds Tempest’s unsuspecting girlfriend Ruth (a memorable Sophia Brown, destined for great things in Hollywood) at her workplace. It even has a violent shocking moment – but it turns out that all happened inside Michael’s head. Such are the moments that maintain momentum in Dead Shot, which sometimes falters when it looks at less significant individuals who kind of bore us. You will see…

These include some suspenseful scenes and a couple of thrilling gun battles scattered throughout London during their search for Tempest, with an eerie soundtrack by the Guard brothers underscoring key dramatic parts. And on its music front, the inconclusive ending features a creepy song by an acclaimed band that we won’t reveal here. Yet you’ll experience your heart racing as the credits roll – in a good way.

Finally, before these end credits begin there is a final confrontation between Michael and Tempest at a beach scene. This is where these vicious gentlemen are caught up between two roads on both external and internal levels creating that unique moral ambiguity intended by The Guard Brothers towards its main figures. Does violence provide any solution to their inner agony? These individualistic moments are fostered with combination of sleek handheld and poised static camerawork; henceforth, visually speaking, Dead Shot looks pretty good though.

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