Saturday, April 20, 2013

Movie Review - Dredd

I am the law, so says Judge Dredd.  The movie is Dredd, the new one from 2012.

This is a very different film form the first film about the Judge Dredd character.  The first film was a grand story arc told in a very short amount of time.  This film however is a much more detailed account of a very short amount of time in the world of the character.  Like many of the recent superhero movie retellings this one is very realistic and gritty.  It is filmed in such a way that you can really get a sense of what is going on in the different characters heads.  In some characters this is exactly what is happening.

In this film Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is breaking in a rookie Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) who happens to be psychic.  They work this power of hers in a much more personal way then I have ever seen.  The scene is not overloaded with special effects and it does exactly what it needs to do to tell the story.

Karl Urban does an great job playing the law enforcing, crime fighting, sentence delivering hero.  He manages to follow the sentiment of less is more.  Even though we can only see half his face Karl manages to display a full range of emotions.  Even though I have not read any of the Judge Dredd comics I can imagine that he isn't much for small talk, and Karl Urban manages to deliver a lot with very few words.

The rookie Anderson on the other hand display a wide range of emotion from fear to anger.  Olivia Thirlby plays the character of Cassandra Anderson very well.  She brings a bit of innocence to the character but also a toughness as well.  This character undergoes a wonderful transformation throughout the film that is fascinating to watch.

The cinematography is nothing short of breathtaking.  Director seems to have a great vision of the world of Dredd, along with a high working knowledge of what works on the film.  Watching the making of revealed to me that there was a great deal of experimentation in the filming of this movie.  They shot the film in 3D and the director had never worked in 3D before this film, the results are truly amazing though.  This is really the first film that I have seen that has a valid use for the super slow motion photography, that has been highly overused in films since the Matrix came out.

The bad guys in this film are pushing a drug called slo-mo which slows down time for the user of the drug.  All of the scenes filmed with the super slow motion photography are filmed from the perspective of one of the drug users.  This use of the "bullet-time" effect certainly sets this film apart for me.

As for sets and costumes they were both exactly what you would have expected of a major Hollywood production; however this was a fairly low budget film.

If you really like superhero movies then I highly recommend this film.  If you don't mind a fairly moderate level of gore in your films then this one is highly entertaining to watch.  Honestly even the gory scenes are filmed in a very artistic sort of way.

For the high art value while still telling a compelling story and actually having a good use for Bullet-time filming techniques I rate this film four and a half smiley Mike heads.

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