Million Dollar Arm
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A British soldier returns from Afghanistan to a new kind of warzone in his former South London neighbourhood.
Starring the promising Toby Kebbell as the vet of the title, Matthew Hope attempts a bold state-of-the-nation thriller, seeking to tie together hot button threads including British foreign policy, gang warfare in Saaf London sink estates and mercenary terrorist cells. It's an ambitious mix, and doubtless there's a slick thriller to be made about the domestic fallout of Britain's most recent military follies (and Ken Loach has made an admirable attempt on Iraq), but sadly, this isn't it.
Leapfrogging from one genre cliché to the next, from shady superiors to honey trap love interest, the sparse narrative patchwork borders on pastiche - while Hope's insight into urban grit amounts to gun-toting yoots kissing their teeth a lot, listening to grime and quoting Sun Tzu. The film finally combusts in a hail of bullets and flames, suggesting not only the mindlessness of the violence The Veteran grapples with, but that of its own lacklustre plotting.
A thriller which strains for contemporary relevance but lacks the spark to incite or entertain.
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