I'm a big fan of the criminal film; films where we follow a criminal and come to understand his reasonings. The Professional is amazing in my eyes, and one of my biggest influences. A very well-done flick in that vein is Danny Cotton'sThe Colour of Life and Death. When boiled to syrup, the story plays out like a classic western: there is a man with a thing that a bad man with a good heart is sent to retrieve. When he meets the man to get to it, there is more to the story. The setting is what lit me on fire. It's a dystopian world where life can be taken from criminals, traded away, or stolen. That concept alone was enough to keep me watching, but there was more here than any of that.
It's shot in glorious black-and-white, and later in some glorious color, with precise use of shallow focus that gives everything a sort of immediacy that makes you feel as if you can only focus on what's exactly in front of you. The way it's cut, not the hyper-frenetic pacing of many recent crime films, but also not quite languid or overly-obsessed with heroic vistas. It's precise, taut, nuanced.
The acting is solid, especially from Michael Southgate, our thief. He plays it so cunningly that there is no question that in the end, he'll be the one to come out on top, even though the film is hardly structured to make that feel like the reasonable outcome.
You can find a trailer forThe Colour of Life and Death at https://vimeo.com/137227111
Klaus at Gunpoint
A Film Journal dedicated to all film.A segment of Office Supply Publishing.