Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Rupert Friend Double Feature

The forgotten Netflix disks from the 2010s continue to arrive. Clearly I was on a kick. And for the record, I would watch Rupert Friend in anything. 

The Young Victoria 2009.

d.  Jean-Marc Vallée, written by Julian Fellowes

Starring: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany

Summary: "A dramatization of the turbulent first years of Queen Victoria's rule, and her enduring romance with Prince Albert," (IMDB).

This was a chill, wholesome, Jimmy Carter-calibre story of leadership. I'd say most Americans could use something like this for a palate cleanser, as in, look, see? AREN'T THESE NICE, SMART PEOPLE? Aren't their problems and hiccups just sort of . . . CHARMING? There's something gratifying about Victoria (Emily Blunt) assuming the crown, marrying someone she loved, and then going on to have nine children with relatively little drama. The bumps in the road seemed to stem from men's desire to control the crown (we fans of The Crown are well-versed in this, girl ruler = ignorant, gullible + needs a man to manage for her) but Victoria handles her adversaries quite skillfully despite her youth and inexperience. Everything looks gorgeous, a ton of Game of Thrones and Harry Potter alum are scattered throughout (also hi there Vision!), and bonus for Prince Albert grinding those Schubert piano pieces! I think this may have been one of my favorite period pieces about royals, ever. 

Rupert Friend as Prince Albert was a soothing balm to my soul. Lovely appearance, a bit of that brooding but stifled romantic vibe we came to love from Quinn in Homeland, and German accent very nicely done. I loved the understated almost shy chemistry between Friend and Blunt; how refreshing to see an actually functional relationship between two intelligent people in power. Too little, too late, I realize, but has Prince Charles seen this? Someone should give him notes. 

Hitman: Agent 47, 2015. 

d. Aleksander Bach, written by: Skip Woods (story and screenplay, based on video game by Morton Iverson and Peter Gjellerup Koch). 

Starring: Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto, Ciarán Hinds

Summary: "An assassin teams up with a woman to help her find her father and uncover the mysteries of her ancestry," (IMDB). 

Apparently people didn't like this film. I don't know what everyone's problem is, I had a great time. It's not your everyday action film, the stars are largely lesser known, some of the dialogs are a little blunt and clunky, and the premise does seem a little far-fetched when you think about it, but don't think about it! Just relax and enjoy the ride! You get some nice fight choreography, different international locations, energetic music, and clever evasive maneuvers and strategies. This is something I might have found back in the day on a cable station and been unable to turn off. Will the experience be made better under the influence of a substance or several drinks? Very likely, yes, but being as I'm judge-sober these days, I had a perfectly decent experience without. What did I like best about it? Colors. Conspiracy walls. Stern characters. An elevated kind of knowing that stood in for traditional "super powers." Rupert Friend as a villain. 

I thought the little twists in the plot were good ones that matched the overall vibe of the characters, and the chases, fights, and environments were visually appealing enough to keep me engaged. This is not a film where the characters banter cleverly with each other or use humor really at all, but it's a straight-forward, solve-the-problem technological action thriller. I think if you're patient with it, it's a good enough film.