Friday 6 October 2023

REVIEW: Retribution (2023) - Starring Liam Neeson

Review by Jon Donnis
"Retribution," directed by Nimród Antal and written by Chris Salmanpour, is a gripping action thriller that attempts to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. The film, a remake of the 2015 Spanish film "El desconocido," stars Liam Neeson as Matt Turner, a father pushed to his limits when faced with a life-threatening situation involving a bomb in his car.

Following Matt Turner, a successful Berlin based American businessman, and a doting father whose life takes a terrifying turn when driving his kids to school one morning he finds himself trapped in his car with a bomb under his seat, it will detonate unless he completes a specific series of tasks, and fast. The gripping narrative unfolds as Matt is forced to follow the bomber's instructions to protect his family. The plot weaves a tale of suspense, intrigue, and betrayal as Matt races against time to uncover the truth and save his loved ones.

In a clever twist, the film unveils a web of deceit and embezzlement, ultimately revealing the true identity of the mastermind behind the bombings.

If you're a fan of Liam Neeson's iconic portrayal of the 'angry dad' action hero, "Retribution" is tailor-made for you. Neeson's performance as Matt Turner delivers the intensity and grit expected of such a role. The film effectively uses close-up shots to convey Matt's emotional struggle and the precarious situation of his two children, portrayed by Lilly Aspell and Jack Champion.

The direction by Nimród Antal successfully infuses the narrative with suspense and emotion. Antal skilfully navigates the thriller's pacing, building tension throughout the film. The focus on character dynamics and the family's plight enhances the emotional connection, making the stakes feel even higher.

Liam Neeson's recurring depiction of the 'angry dad' action hero can make the plot feel formulaic at times. The familiarity of this archetype might lead some viewers to feel like they've seen similar portrayals from Neeson in his previous films. Additionally, the movie does lean into some clichés, particularly in the portrayal of character backgrounds, where information is presented through somewhat obvious 'info dumps.'

While Neeson's fans may overlook this, a more innovative approach to storytelling and character development could have elevated the film beyond its predictable moments.

The cast delivers solid performances, with Liam Neeson anchoring the film as Matt Turner. Noma Dumezweni, Lilly Aspell, Jack Champion, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Modine, and Arian Moayed complement Neeson's performance, contributing to a well-rounded cast.

In conclusion, "Retribution" is a satisfying thriller that will resonate particularly well with fans of Liam Neeson's action hero roles. While it adheres to certain action movie conventions, the film succeeds in delivering tension and emotion, making it an engaging watch for those seeking an adrenaline-pumping cinematic experience.

I score Retribution a fair 7 out of 10. I like Liam Neeson and I enjoy Angry Hero Dad films.

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