Anne talks film: Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

olympushasfallenHollywood seems to be returning to the days of big budget, over the top blockbuster productions and a return to studios spying on each other, making similar productions. In 1998 we had Armageddon and Deep Impact both about asteroids destroying the Earth and in 1997 it was Dante’s Peak and Volcano about volcanoes showing up in unlikely places, particularly unlikely in the case of the latter film. Now we have Olympus Has Fallen (2013) and the soon to be released, identically named (minus the code) White House Down (2013) about a major terrorist attack on the residence of the President of the United States.
 
Though there are two similar films, only one of them stars our own Gerard Butler as the man who saves the day. Butler is great in this role, physically tailor made for the role of knight in shining armor with his tall muscular build and his sparkling blue eyes. He also does a great job of affecting an American accent though I have to say that I prefer to see him play a Scot with a Scottish accent such as he did in Playing For Keeps (2013), another Film District release which was in theatres earlier this year.
 
Both For Keeps and Olympus also benefited from having Butler as a producer and it is great to see him moving into the business side of the film business. As good looking as Butler is, he is well more than just a pretty face as he holds a law degree from the University of Glasgow. I hope we see more of him in the producer role.
 
Clearly inspired by the events that took place on September 11, 2001, Olympus Has Fallen portrays a fictional terrorist attack on the White House. Intellectually I knew watching this film that the plot is not at all plausible and would never take place, but the enthusiastic film goer will likely suspend disbelief and get emotionally involved in the powerful scenes that were nothing less than disturbing to me.
 
At the moment I am in New York and not really thinking about it I chose, perhaps unwisely, to view this film at a cinema in Battery Park City which is quite literally across the street from the new One World Trade Center Freedom Tower. This was the day before the events that recently took place in Boston but the realism of the action left me rattled as I walked through the World Trade Center construction site on my way home. I also noted that during some of the action scenes two different groups of people walked out of the film and while I don’t know for sure, I suspect it was because of the over the disturbing realism. In that neighborhood it is likely that some of my fellow movie goers were 9/11 witnesses or survivors.
 

 
Literally as I was about to write my review, I found out about what was happening in Boston and it took me a week to come back to writing it. The film is unsettling if you are sensitive to such things so be aware of this before you go see it.
 
Olympus Has Fallen is literally full of great supporting performances including Angela Bassett, Ashley Judd and the formidable Morgan Freeman. If you like big blockbuster action films, you won’t want to miss this one.
 

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Our resident film critic Anne LaBarbera was born in Austin, Texas. A joint US / Italian national her varied film career spans writing, directing, producing, wardrobe and (even) running for the BBC – she’s nearly done it all! When not at home in Hollywood, Anne likes to travel and feature her classic VW Scirocco in the movies, mostly her own. Catch more of Anne’s adventures here on Extrafriends or her own website www.annefilm.com

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About Anne La Barbera

Our resident film critic Anne LaBarbera was born in Austin, Texas. A joint US / Italian national her varied film career spans writing, directing, producing, wardrobe and (even) running for the BBC – she’s nearly done it all! When not at home in Hollywood, Anne likes to travel and feature her classic VW Scirocco in the movies, mostly her own. Catch more of Anne’s adventures on www.annefilm.com.

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