DVD & Blu-Ray reviews: Line of Duty, Frozen, The Family, The Machine

 

Line of Duty: Series 2 (15) Various directors DVD/Blu-ray (360mins)

The small details are immaculately handled, from the temperamental police tape recorder to the thorough database searches. However, it’s a towering performance from Keeley Hawes and a crisp script that make BBC2’s police drama such a compulsive watch. Hawes plays razor-sharp DI Denton, who is suspected of being involved in an ambush leading to the death of three of her colleagues. Whether she did it or not is the crux of what is possibly the best cop show since Red Riding and, further back, Cracker. Be warned, though: it has a grim conclusion.

*****

Frozen (U) Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee DVD/Blu-ray (108mins)

This Disney animation has caused quite a fuss with US evangelists. All nonsense, of course. If this exquisitely animated picture is guilty of anything, it’s too many grating songs and a first half that flags. It takes a long time to get going, but the introduction of Olaf, a droll snowman, invigorates this adventure inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. The plot centres on the perky Princess Anna and her estranged relationship with her older sister, Elsa, who can’t control her icy magical powers and runs away to the hills with Anna in pursuit. There’s a vast improvement in the second half.

***

The Family (15) Luc Besson DVD/Blu-ray (111mins)

Tonally, this crime caper is all over the place. Luc Besson’s film doesn’t know if it wants to  be a thriller, a mobster flick, a teen movie or a comedy. It ends up being a weirdly compelling muddle. Robert De Niro, in sleepwalk mode, plays a Mafia informer on the run in rural France with his family, which include Michelle Pfeiffer’s pyromaniac, his violent daughter (Dianna Agron) and his scamming son (John D’Leo). Tommy Lee Jones co-stars, looking like he would rather be anywhere else. It seems like  a long time since De Niro cared which film  he was in – and the scene where he watches himself in Goodfellas is both surreal and painful.

**

The Machine (15) Caradog W James DVD/Blu-ray (86mins)

Blade Runner and Frankenstein are very clear influences on Caradog James’s creepy, low-budget sci-fi about a neuroscientist (Toby Stephens, a tricky actor to sympathise with) creating lethal androids for the MoD engaged in a bleak Cold War. One of his creations (Caity Lotz), however, turns out to much more human than the rest. Lots of good ideas, but the script needed to be sharper and the action less clunky.

**

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