Reviews: Reckless

Our good friends at Artsploitation Films sent us their upcoming release, Reckless for review. 

"Dude, where did you hide the
crack rocks?"
Original ideas in Hollywood film are increasingly difficult to find anymore, particularly with just how many English language remakes of foreign films continue to get made to appease moviegoers who don’t feel like reading subtitles for two hours.  The remake trend is usually reserved for the American studios but every now and again, it’s the other way around.  Such is the case with the new Dutch film Reckless, a straight up note for note remake of the stylish 2009 British kidnapping thriller The Disappearance of Alice Creed

A tense yet straightforward thriller concerning two criminals who kidnap a woman and imprison her in a soundproofed room for ransom money from her wealthy father, the original as well as the remake derive much of their claustrophobic power from the minimal cast of characters and enclosed set pieces.  Although well executed with strong performances and slick technical merits to boot, one has to wonder while watching it the validity of copying someone else’s work with little to differentiate itself from the source.

I’m not ready to dismiss Reckless altogether, as what is here still works really well and those unfamiliar with The Disappearance of Alice Creed will still come away with a solid neo noir crime thriller with many unexpected twists and turns.  To be fair Reckless makes it pretty apparent in the credits that it’s based directly off of The Disappearance of Alice Creed, providing newcomers the choice to check out the original should they want to.  Both movies sport a resourceful and surprising heroine with more tricks up her sleeve than meets the eye.  Most of the movie takes place inside the soundproof room where the woman is held captive as she tries to outsmart her captors with words and emotional manipulation.  As previously mentioned, the acting by the three leads is pretty good overall with the two captors proving to be far more vulnerable than we were previously lead to believe.  Visually it’s a slick micro-budget noir with a mixture of open widescreen vistas and tight claustrophobic close ups of the actors’ faces and the soundtrack will conjure up connections to Cliff Martinez’ score for Drive

"Does this scene look familiar?"
Overall there’s enough to recommend Reckless to the uninitiated viewer but those who already know The Disappearance of Alice Creed will be of two minds about it as virtually every facet of the originator’s plot and audiovisual design is copied verbatim by the remake.  Watching both movies side by side, you’d be hard pressed to tell the two apart including but not limited to the same costume design.  It’s worth noting the original didn’t aspire to be much more than a modestly sized kidnapping and ransom thriller designed to entertain and the remake doesn’t try to be much more than that either.  If anything it proves Tinseltown is not the only place on the planet remaking everything on the other side of the ocean.  While we’re quick to gripe about the death of originality in Hollywood and the plagiaristic borrowing of ideas and motifs from other nations, let’s not forget the rest of the world does it just as much as we do.  The Disappearance of Alice Creed was one hell of a hostage thriller and as a remake, however close to the original it may be, it’s a solid reinterpretation.  

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-Andrew Kotwicki