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FILM REVIEW: BLACKHAT (15)

It’s scandalous the latest thriller from highly-acclaimed director Michael Mann hasn’t found an audience – after bombing Stateside – with it already leaving Showcase this Thursday after less than a week at the multiplex.

Very much like his ‘marmite’ work with 2006’s Miami Vice, you’re either going to love or hate this, and due to a similar style and content to that film it probably wasn’t going to be the cup-of-tea for many cinema-goers.

BLACKHAT-POSTERBut when you’ve got such lauded films as Last of the Mohicans, Heat and Collateral on your resume, you’ve still got to take notice of this director if you’re a movie fan – and there’s a clever well-crafted thriller screaming ‘watch me’.

Chris ‘Thor’ Hemsworth stars as convict hacker Nick Hathaway, who must help hunt a high-level cybercrime network across the globe after parts of the computer code he wrote in his youth appear in ‘malware’ that has triggered a terrorist attack on a factory in China.

After the American Government grants him early release from prison, he joins up with FBI agent Carol Barrett (Oscar-nominated The Help actress Viola Davis) and top Chinese officer Chen Dawai (Leehom Wang), to try and track the perpetrator of the malicious coding.

To confuse the situation Hathaway also ignites a relationship with Dawai’s younger sister Chen Lien (Wei Tang), as the team go to Far East locales such as Hong Kong and Jakarta to locate the villain of the piece, Sadak – The Chronicles of Riddick’s Yorick van Wageningen – and unravel his mysterious plot.

Like with most of Mann’s work, this is slow and methodical stuff, with sensational use of the beautifully-directed locales – via gritty night-time camera work – and some text-book shoot-outs, that shockingly take out major players in bloody gun-toting moments.

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The plot might be a bit ‘out there’ for some, and a lot of the loose strands never satisfactorily tied up – highlighted by a bit of an abrupt ending (just like with Miami Vice) – but there’s still much to enjoy seeing Mann at work.

It might ultimately be style over substance – and he obviously hasn’t pulled a ‘rabbit out of his hat’ in terms of box-office success – but this is still well worth a punt before it fades to black.

Visit www.showcasecinemas.co.uk for the latest up-to-date showtimes for movies at Peterborough Showcase. You can also join the chat on Twitter @showcasecinemas or on Facebook by searching for ‘Showcase Cinemas UK’.

Gavin Miller

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis, Wei Tang, Leehom Wang, John Ortiz, Holt Mccallany, Ritchie Coster & Yorick Van Wageningen

Running Time: 2 Hrs 11 Mins

Directors: Michael Mann

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