We’ve a reached a point now where so much acting talent from our humble shores have not only made the move into the US market, but dominated it, it’s almost embarrassing.
Just take a look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe alone which features the likes of Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, Paul Bettany and Benedict Cumberbatch. Oh and not forgetting the last two to play everyone’s favourite friendly, neighbourhood Spider-Man in Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland.
And yet the superb Northern Irish actor Colin Morgan, for whatever reasons, has yet to make the jump. Not that there’s any need, you understand, but such a talent as his really should have a spotlight on the world stage.
He stars in this superb action thriller, alongside some other exceptional talent, set in the UK in the troubled seventies that saw terrorism rife on the streets of London.
It should be one of the best days of Michael O’Hara’s life, with him having his wife, on the verge of giving birth on his backseat, as they make their way to hospital in South Armagh.
They get stopped getting chased by British troops however, due to Michael’s involvement with the IRA, despite now being retired from the terrorist organisation. Michael has no choice but to leave his wife in the car and run for it, so he can lead the troops away from her. That’s sadly not how it goes down however, as troops approach his car believing him to still be in it, armed and dangerous.
A British paratrooper Tempest (Aml Ameen) shoots the person inside, believing it to be Michael, but shoots dead his pregnant wife instead.
Michael, now riddled with rage and wanting revenge, makes the decision to return to the IRA and make his way to London, where they continue their reign of terror with a tirade of bombings. But Michael has an alternative agenda, to hunt down and murder the man who murdered his wife.
Dead Shot is the follow up to the 2009 directorial debut The Uninvited by British brothers Charles and Thomas Guard. And although it’s set against the backdrop of the conflict between the IRA and the British government, its most dominant theme throughout is that of revenge.
Their film is one that appears to pay reverence to gritty crime thrillers of the period, such as Get Carter and The Long Good Friday, not so much in story but certainly visually. It has that classic seventies washed out quality that serves to heighten the period in which it is set. To that end, the directors, cinematographer and design team have done an outstanding job in recreating not only the time it was set, but also mimic the visual techniques of films made during that time. The result is an impressive homage with a visual style that incredibly mimics films of the same ilk that have gone before it.
To be fair, Glasgow, which is stunt doubling for London here, which appears to be stuck in time as much of it still remains a dead ringer for the seventies, does a lot of the heavy lifting, helped out by a number of old school London double deckers just to help set the scene. To be fair, the city has a pretty versatile look, as it’s also doubled for both Gotham City (The Batman) and Moscow (Tetris) recently.
It also features both Felicity Jones and Mark Strong, who have both made strong inroads into the US market, who give admirable support in what are supporting roles.
Ameen is solid as Tempest, the foil for Michael’s rage, which sees Morgan in superb form, as usual, as someone drawn back into very murky waters for personal reasons. It’s just yet another calling card for Hollywood, of the talent that is Morgan that is ready to go to the next level – if he so chooses.
It’s not a bad calling card for the Guard brothers either, who have delivered a striking looking film, with a thrilling story, dripping with atmosphere, that certainly hits the target.