A BLUEBIRD IN MY HEART
2018, 85 min, Belgium/France, Dir: Jérémie Guez

An incredible stand-out at 2018’s SXSW, this tough-as-nails action-noir adapted from Dannie Martin’s “The Dishwasher” examines with unusual poignancy a world of weary, broken-down men and ruthless, sadistic criminals. Wanting nothing more than to live quietly, parolee Danny (Roland Møller) checks into a run-down motel and takes a menial job, still not quite free with an ankle monitor keeping tabs on him. But as he develops a friendship with the motel owner’s daughter (Lola Le Lann), it’s not long before his peaceful existence is threatened and he’s forced to revert to his violent old ways.


THE STANDOFF AT SPARROW CREEK
2018, 88 min, USA, Dir: Henry Dunham

Set over the course of one night, this razor-tight thriller focuses on an imploding militia searching for the traitor in its midst, whose actions resulted in a shooting at a cop’s funeral. With the clock ticking and every second counting against them, retired cop Gannon (James Badge Dale) must utilize his old skills to discover exactly what machinations pervade this ragtag group. Henry Dunham’s exquisite script is married with gorgeous cinematography, painting in rich, complex hues a section of society often represented simplistically on screen, forging an indelible humanity in a set of characters whose actions are often difficult to empathize with.


THE GUILTY (2018)
DEN SKYLDIGE
2018, Magnolia Pictures, 85 min, Denmark, Dir: Gustav Möller

The night before he is to be reinstated for active duty, dispatch officer Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren) gets an emergency call from a kidnapped woman. As the line is disconnected, Holm is thrown into a race against time to save the caller, but not everything is what it seems and what he suspects is a kidnapping might be something much, much bigger. One of the big hits out of Sundance, Gustav Möller’s one-location, high-concept thriller set over the course of one night is a brilliant example of how much a terrific actor and a nail-biting script can achieve.


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