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New Release Review - RECKLESS (DVD)

Dutch remake of The Disappearance of Alice Creed.

Review by James McAllister

Directed by: Joram Lürsen

Starring: Tygo Gernandt, Marwan Kenzari, Sarah Chronis



"Given the greatness that we’ve come to expect from Northern European Noir, Reckless can’t help but feel like a letdown. This is a shamefully straight and simply unnecessary rehash."


If you’ve ever seen J. Blakeson’s capable crime flick The Disappearance of Alice Creed, then there’s really no need to bother with this rather redundant remake from Dutch director Joram Lürsen.
As David Fincher proved with his under-appreciated reimagining of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, it’s possible to remain faithful to your source material whilst drawing greater depth from it. Unfortunately, neither Lürsen nor his scriptwriter Frank Ketelaar show any interest in adding further complexity to the competent but convoluted narrative of the original; the only notable appendage is a contrived coda that’s tacked on to provide the ambiguous conclusion with greater clarity.
Not quite a shot-for-shot retread, Reckless follows the stripped-down story structure of Blakeson’s thriller scene-for-scene. Alice Creed may now be called Laura Temming (Sarah Chronis), but she remains the daughter of a millionaire, kidnapped by two ex-cons (Tygo Gernandt and Marwan Kenzari) who plan to hold her for ransom. However, having misjudged their own loyalty for each other, and after Laura proves herself to be more cunning than expected, the abductors’ scheme soon starts to go awry.
To Lürsen’s credit, he does partially prove himself to be an accomplished director. His use of dark grey hues over the lens gives a grittier tinge to proceedings. And the measured inclusion of Merlijn Snitker’s pointed score adds both energy and urgency.
The film’s formidable fault is Lürsen’s own creative sloppiness. An overuse of establishing exterior shots, for example, disastrously detracts from the claustrophobic tension; diminishing the original’s overwhelmingly oppressive nature. While the lingering focus on Sarah Chronis’ naked figure whenever it’s on show, which is notably more often than Gemma Arterton’s was, instills the atmosphere with an unpleasantly exploitative air.
The performances are problematic too. Though Ketelaar’s script draws a similar character, Chronis fails to be both the strong heroine and sympathetic victim that Arterton was. Marwan Kenzari is a frustratingly flat presence that’s about as interesting to watch as a wet sponge. And Tygo Gernandt, in the role made so menacing by Eddie Marsan, permanently plays his part with an ineffectually exaggerated aggression that diminishes his character’s naturally imposing nature.
Given the greatness that we’ve come to expect from Northern European Noir (Lürsen himself has worked on various televisual thrillers from the genre), Reckless can’t help but feel like a letdown. This is a shamefully straight and simply unnecessary rehash, which goes to show Northern European crime drama isn’t always worth its weight in gold.




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