BEL CANTO (15) ★★ ★★★
LOVE blossoms during a hostage crisis in this slow-burning thriller.
Japanese industrialist Katsumi Hosokawa (Ken Watanabe) travels to a politically volatile South American nation under the auspices of building a factory to revitalise the ailing economy. Vice president Ruben Ochoa (Eddie Martinez) hopes to secure Hosokawa’s investment by hosting a soiree at his home.
Hosokawa is a huge opera fan, so the evening’s entertainment will be a private concert by American soprano Roxanne Coss ( Julianne Moore, above) and her pianist Christopf (Thorbjorn Harr).
During the recital, heavily armed guerrilla rebels led by Benjamin (Tenoch Huerta) storm the party.
They demand the release of political prisoners in exchange for the lives of the party guests.
A negotiator tries to reason with Benjamin but when the conversation reaches an impasse, Benjamin implores Roxanne to sing to the assembled soldiers, journalists and onlookers to break the deadlock. “Are you sure they won’t shoot?” she quips. “Not everybody likes opera.”
DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE (18) ★★★ ★★
A BANK robbery is recounted from multiple perspectives in this downbeat portrait of mouldering society.
Detectives Brett Ridgeman (Mel
Gibson, right) and Anthony Lurasetti (Vince Vaughn) bend the law they are supposed to uphold.
Their heavy-handed treatment of one suspect is captured on film and sparks a debate about police brutality on various news channels. Ridgeman and Lurasetti are suspended without pay, however both men rely on their pay cheques. Ridgeman’s wife Melanie (Laurie Holden) is a former cop with multiple sclerosis and soaring medical bills, while Lurasetti has recently invested in an engagement ring for his girlfriend (Tattiawna Jones).
To make ends meet, the cops intend to muscle in on a robbery orchestrated by Lorentz Vogelman (Thomas Kretschmann).
GRETA (15) ★★ ★★★
THE kindness of a good Samaritan is ruthlessly exploited in Neil Jordan’s campy psychological thriller.
Frances McCullen (Chloe Grace Moretz) lives with best friend Erica (Maika Monroe) in the Big Apple, where she works as a waitress.
On her way home, the 20-something discovers a swanky handbag on a subway train and inside is the NYC Identification Card of Greta Hideg (Isabelle Huppert, pictured). Frances is determined to return the handbag and its contents and Greta is delighted to be reunited with her missing property.
She strikes up a friendship with Frances, but the relationship sours when Frances discovers that Greta intentionally leaves handbags on trains to engineer relationships with strangers.
Frances cuts Greta out of her life but the piano teacher stalks the younger woman.
“The crazier they are, the harder they cling,” warns Erica.