Monday Movies ~ July 6th 2020

This weeks Thursday movie chosen by Phil was The Siege of Jadotville, (2016) directed by Richie Smyth and based on the book of the same name by Declan Power. It is based on a true story about an Irish Army’s role in a UN peacekeeping mission in the Congo in 1961. I didn’t know about this bit of history so it was an eyeopener for me.

In between his stints in the abysmal 50 Shades series of movies, Jamie Dornan plays Irish Army Commondant Pat Quinlan, who is put in charge of a unit of infantrymen, none of whom have combat experience, and are sent off for what ostensibly should be a peacekeeping mission but end up in a Rorkes Drift situation. The political situation is such that there’s a civil war going on brought about by the assassination of the Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba by Moise Tshombe (Danny Sapani) who leads the State of Katana. Katana is rich in minerals, and he secedes the State so he can profit from selling off the minerals to the French & Belgians, and sod the rest of the Congo. The united nations boss Dag Hammarskjöld (Mikael Persbrandt) sends Conor Cruise O’Brien, (Mark Strong) to head up the peacekeeping mission but privately warns him the situation in Katana could herald the start of WW3 and orders him to take offensive action. Quinlan, with his Sergeant, Jack Prendergast (Jason O’Mara) ends up having to defend his rather indefensable position with about 155 soldiers against 1000 plus French, Belgique and Katangese mercenary soldiers.

That’s it for spoilers sake, but I can heartily recommend this movie. Dornan does a much better job than I expected, Jason O’Mara embodies his character’s heroism, and Mark Strong is always a consummate actor. Richie directs the battle scenes with gusto and put the actors through Army Training prior to shooting so the scenes were realistic. Smyth stuck to the facts and didn’t introduce a love interest in the middle of it all or anything daft, and it didn’t do too bad with the critics.

In reality the Irish State didn’t give any recognition to the chaps who went through this, and none of them got any recognition in spite of Quinlan putting forward some of his men for Medals for Gallantry – this bit from wiki- The veterans of Jadotville were dissatisfied that the Defence Forces refused to acknowledge the battle and that there was an implied black mark on the reputation of their commander. Quinlan, who died in 1997, had his public reputation restored nine years after his death. The veterans of A Company reportedly regarded him as an exceptional officer who had saved the lives of his men by ordering them to dig in, and who successfully led his company against an overwhelming enemy force. He was forced into an impossible situation by the apparent failings of the UN leadership. Against the odds, he had saved the lives of each of his men in a battle not expected nor planned for.

It’s good that the movie did them proud.

On to my Saturday night choice, RocknRolla (2008) written and directed by Guy Ritchie. An action crime thriller with a good few laughs along the way.

Plenty of great British actors in this one, Gerard Butler (I know, not always great but he has his moments) Mark Strong (again!) Tom Hardy, Idris Elba and Thandie Newton to name a few.

The plot is a bit convoluted. Set in London, mob boss Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) rules an ever growing real estate business, and is in cahoots with the planning councillor (Jimi Mistry) his beaurocratic fixer. Archy (Mark Strong) is Lenny’s right hand man and dirty deeds fixer,and also narrates the movie. A billionaire Russian businessman, Uri Omovich (Karel Roden) is planning a big land deal, and has to go into business with Lenny to achieve his plans. Lenny charges him £7 million for the privelege. Thandie Newton as Stella is an accomplished accountant employed by Uri, but is also not averse to underhanded derring-do, and hires the Wild Bunch to steal the £7 million. Throw in a precious painting that Uri loans to Lenny and is consequently stolen by his supposedly dead junkie ex-rock star Johnny Quid, and there’s trouble at ‘mill as we say when in Yorkshire, which we’re not so forget that. I won’t do any more spoiling, suffice to say it’s a good romp, and Tom Hardy as a gay getaway driver is a hoot. Gemma Arterton has a bit part she makes the most of and Idris Elba does a grand job of being One-Two’s second-in-command. Not as slick as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch perhaps, but still full of style and swagger. Definitely worth a watch on a Fun Movie night!

Not many bad reviews, this from the indominatable Roger Ebert -“It never slows down enough to be really good, and never speeds up enough to be the Bourne Mortgage Crisis, but there’s one thing for sure: British actors love playing gangsters as much as American actors love playing cowboys, and it’s always nice to see people having fun.

25 Comments

  1. Is that Jadotville film only on Amazon, or Netflix too? I fancy that one.
    I have see the Guy Ritchie film, enjoyed the fun, and the British cast.
    (I just checked, and it says it’s on Netflix. I can’t see a UK DVD for sale though. I will try and watch it on Netflix this week.)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha gotcha. Both very ‘British’ movies! I’m so impressed with Mark Strong, he pops up in so many movies I see, always different, one of our best character actors. He had a real meaty part in RocknRolla. Hope you get to see Jadotville, it’s on Netflix here, and worth a punt.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. RocknRolla colored my expectations for English people. When I British young man asked me to check the city I was hoping it would be a man that would get to dominate the local mob in a few weeks xP Instead he turned to be quite polite, it was rather like a character of “The Remains of the Day,” with that etiquette in which the more familiar are two acquaintances the more polite distance exist in their etiquette : )

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like a good movie night, I will add them to the list. You know the one that I started with Pete’s recommendations and now runs to about three years of viewing back to back 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mark Strong made a (bad) impression on me when he was miscast as Mr. Knightley in an ITV version of Emma some years ago, so I don’t go out of my way to watch him. That’s probably more the production’s fault than his, though.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Since Mr. Knightley is my favourite fictional hero, it’s difficult to put the whole thing behind me and move on. I’ve just looked it up and it was 1996. That’s far too long to hold something against someone.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I managed to watch Jadotville on Netflix this morning. Really enjoyed it, (even with a couple of very dodgy accents) as I am old enough to remember the Congo fighting bein on the news, and the UN Secretary killed in that plane too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Intriguing reviews, Fraggle. I’m so hard to please with films the past few (okay, a lot of) years. I’d like the second better than the first of these. Interesting quote from Ebert. I get it now, but cliffhanger maven that I am, I had to think about it. LOL. o_O 😀 Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.