Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Veteran (2011)

The Veteran is a 2001 film starring Toby Kebell as Robert Miller, a soldier returning home from Afghanistan and unable to fit back into society. Living on a violent, run-down council estate, he finds work in undercover surveillance and becomes obsessed with taking down a group of local gangsters who may be linked to a suspected terrorist call.

I feel miss-sold with this one. I kind of expected it to be him taking the fight to the drug dealers on his run down council estate. When Ashley 'Bashy' Thomas relates to Toby Kebell how the war he has just fought was basically just a way to keep the supply chain open for drugs to arrive in the West I thought 'yes, this is interesting' But the plot never really seems sure what it wants to be and we're quickly diverted from that to one long malaise of an espionage thriller - minus the thrills. The majority of The Veteran seems to be Kebbell following people, and then reporting back to Tony Curran and Brian Cox - both sleepwalking through roles they've done a dozen times or more in better fare.

I truly believe that Toby Kebbell can carry a film, but this isn't his opportunity. No one could carry a film which fails so spectacularly in keeping the audience's attention and in knowing what it actually wants. The dialogue is also a disappointment, with characters ultimately spouting diatribes to convey a sense of this film actually having the message it teasingly promises us all along. 

Come the final reel, all guns are a blazing. This sudden spurt of action does manage to jolt the film back into something lively, but in being such a long time in coming it ultimately feels rather wrong and misplaced. It is not, however much the film makers want it to be, Taxi Driver.

Overall this is really disappointing. This could have said something about the state of the nation in an interesting political way, but instead it opts for the last gasp of a Call of Duty style sensationalism it had spent the previous 80 minutes scorning.

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