Monday, June 9, 2008

The Night Shift

Author(s): Alex S.
Location: Mexico

"The Night Shift"

Directed by Fernando Meirelles
Produced by Simon Channing-Williams, Robert Fox & Fernando Meirelles
Written by Jeffrey Caine, David Arata & Timothy J. Sexton
Executive Producers Redmond Morris & Debra Hayward
Edited By Claire Simpson A.C.E
Cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki A.S.C
Music by Alberto Iglesias
Costume Design by Albert Wolski
Production Design by Jim Clay
Art Direction by Ray Chan & Mike Stallion
Set Decoration by Nancy Haigh & Jennifer William

Main Cast

Matthew Goode – Lt. Simon Keetch
Naomie Harris - 2nd Lt. Abigail Morrison
Eddie Redmayne – Sgt. Maxwell Collins
Jodie Whitaker – Pvt. Angela Harris
Luke Treadaway – Cpl. Nigel Fulton
Amr Wacked - Omar Razaghi

Tagline: "Some things are better left off in the dark"

Synopsis: The wind was blowing and the sand with it, large mountains quickly became small hills as the scenery in Basra revealed itself. A small regiment was located in a military base near the city, inside this walls a horrid smell was felt an you could easily hear a drop of water that had already become a puddle in the humid floor, through this large and dark subterranean halls a large row of prison cells were on display, each one filled by a POW or a man suspected of illicit activities. Lt. Simon Keetch was the commanding officer of a group of very particular soldiers; the way they operated was anything but normal, their actions were brutal and excessive during combat, showing no mercy to even the innocent.

Lt. Morrison was appointed to report to this base after some very disturbing rumors concerning the treatment of prisoners; Morrison was a tough woman with great sense of duty and impressive ethics. At her arrival she instantly perceived that something wrong was going on, a specific group of soldiers in charge of the night shift, Sgt. Maxwell Collins a rich kid, Pvt. Angela Harris a tomboy with a very intense and aggressive personality and the most disturbing of all Cpl. Nigel Fulton, a every quite man but with a terrifying presence and a behavior worthy of a psychopath; all of them had little to no scruples and conducted themselves with no responsibility or respect to the prisoners, making fun of them and treating them under inhuman conditions.

Morrison quickly reported these incidents to Keetch, only to find out that the fame that precede him was in fact true, he was a cold blooded man who showed no remorse or value to life. She found herself confused and alone, she befriended one of the prisoners who had been there for almost a year now, they became very close. Keetch quickly noticed this.

Even with his exterior Simon Keetch was a very intelligent man who knew how to take advantage of every situation making him a very calculative man with more that just a simple hate in him, he knew how and when to do everything and nothing happens without his approval.

In those walls there was more happening than simple torture, as soon as you entered that building you left your humanity and conscience at the door. Nothing would ever noticed one lost corner of the world where the example of what humanity is, takes form.

What the Press would say:

“The Night Shift” Fernando Meirelles’ new film shows a side of the war never seen before on film. After the much publicized cases of torture in Iraqi prisons during the last years, Meirelles attempts to explore the reasons and motivations of these soldiers, it explores the minds and psyche, a deeply intelligent and profoundly moral examination of a world where the political and the personal cannot ever be kept apart. Elaborate, cynical, ambitious, eager, visually arresting, the film wants it all and gives plenty; taut, intelligent thriller that delves into the motives, good and bad, that fuel human passions or the lack thereof.

Meirelles's technique, bravura camerawork coupled with crisscross editing -- makes what might have been a straightforward political thriller his own. A somber, angry, cynical, slow burn of a political potboiler that is also, against all odds, an effectively moving human story, Meirelles paints the immorality and misery of rural Iraq on a striking canvas to be able to say what he wants his film to tell us, this positions Meirelles as a leading director of electrically charged dramas with social consciences. Meirelles has performed a minor miracle. He's made a film that introduces us to a little-known world, which hums with suspense, and reenacts the destruction of men both physically and psychologically. And he has created something that is irresistible.

Meirelles clearly trusts his actors, particularly Harris and Goode: The plot of The Night Shift is fairly intricate, but in the end, the story is told mostly in their faces. Harris does a brilliant job of communicating his character's inner turmoil through subtle facial expressions and inflections of his voice, her best screen performance to date; her relationship with Wacked is complex and genuinely affecting. Goode’s blistering, devilish performance is the greatest of his career, muscular, visceral, venomous and restrained all at once if you can imagine that, ultimately the film belongs to Goode, whose devotion to character is itself a bit mad. Luke Treadaway a newcomer amazes as the most unnerving screen villain of the year, a monster who sets the bar in terms of tension, scary-smart and horrifyingly appealing, he delivers a terrific performance. And Whitaker, her walk, her body language are totally different from anything she’s done before and is breathtaking, a hideous troglodyte, with pity, volcanic anger, confusion, occasional euphoria and mostly, impenetrable sadness a tour de force.

This is one of those rare movies that feels genuinely alive; it’s about something substantial and there wasn’t a moment when I wasn’t involved. An engrossing, intelligent, emotionally powerful and mostly well-acted film that works as both a nail-biting adventure and a sobering lesson on the ongoing apocalypse of the war, at times comical, at times bitterly ironic, and at still others borderline surreal, Meirelles’ direction deftly highlights the insanity of the war and its debilitating effects on those who are forced to fight it., one of the most amazing pieces of cinema ever produced, capturing not only the ugliness and ridiculousness of Iraq, but exposing the dark heart of man as well.

For Your Consideration

Best Picture
Best Director – Fernando Meirelles
Best Actor – Matthew Goode
Best Actress – Naomie Harris
Best Supporting Actor – Luke Treadaway
Best Supporting Actress – Jodie Whitaker
Best Original Screenplay – Jeffrey Caine, David Arata & Timothy J. Sexton
And in all categories…

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