The first thing you’ll probably notice from Black Out is its supremely derivative nature. If you’ve had your fill of those manic, Guy Ritchie directed crime flicks of yesteryear, then this movie may not be your cup of tea.
But really, how many innovative genres exist in cinema? Whether it’s a Western, a hard boiled noir, or a slapstick driven comedy, these tropes exist for a reason. One of the keys to making an entertaining feature is to exist within a genre and either expand its reach or comfortably swim within its respective confines.
Black Out doesn’t pretend to offer any kind of enlightening message or promise to blow your mind away with innovation. Instead, it opts for a more visceral journey into our cinematic senses. Do you want a cleverly shot and edited thriller about a man whose life and sanity hang in the balance? On that purely simple (yet sublime) level, this movie delivers the goods.
Our protagonist is Jos (Raymond Thiry), a retired criminal who wakes up next to a dead man. Although we’re to assume Jos has seen his share of corpses during his hard living heyday, this lifeless body brings an extra level of inconvenience. Jos is ready to get married to his one true love, and he eventually discovers he’s a prime suspect in a recent cocaine theft. The dilemma forces Jos to reenter the underworld and reunite with his former colleagues, who may or may not be involved in the conspiracy.
With a surefooted visual eye, Dutch filmmaker Arne Toonen keeps the brisk narrative (it’s only 92 minutes) fresh and energetic, and its fever pitch doesn’t let up. A cast of colorful characters, most noticeably two sexy crooks who’ve taken over Jos’ previous trade, light up the screen with their respective inequities and character flaws. There isn’t much inner depth to the proceedings, but a lack of analytical thinking can be, if done properly, a welcoming experience.
Black Out was initially a telefilm from Netherlands, and Toonen turns this low budgeted affair into a surprisingly arresting visual journey. I had my share of fun watching Jos putting out as much fires as possible to keep his wedding dreams alive, and if you’re in the mood for a guilt free escape from the world around you, Black Out is a solid cinematic confection that shouldn’t disappoint.
Black Out is now playing in select theaters and is also available on VOD.
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posted by Greg Srisavasdi