Sarina Bellissimo reviews Ben is Back and Triple Frontier
Ben Is Back
Ben Is Back is the heart breaking tale of a mother desperately trying to save her drug addicted son.
When Ben (Lucas Hedges) unexpectedly arrives home from rehab, on Christmas Eve, to spend the holiday with his family, his mum, Holly (Julia Roberts), very much wants to believe that he is on the road to recovery and will soon be back being her Ben. His sister and her husband are dubious and scared but Holly insists that she has it all under control. However, not even her constant surveillance of him can keep the danger at bay.
While at Christmas mass, their home is broken into and their beloved family dog is stolen as a message to Ben that his drug debts have not been forgiven.
The family drama then turns into a thriller as Ben tries to recover his dog all the while Holly is trying to keep him safe and alive.
This film is not shy about showing the painful impact addiction has not only on the addict but on his family too.
Julia Roberts is outstanding. Her portrayal of Ben’s mum breaks your heart and at times is very difficult to watch. You feel her desperation and pain as she tries to keep her son safe all the while trying to keep her family together. The lengths she goes to to do this are frightening but she knows no other way.
As for Hedges, he makes you feel a gamut of emotions as he struggles to keep it together for himself and for those who mean the most to him.
The chemistry Roberts and Hedges have, has you believing that they are in fact mother and son. Their love, bond and fear jumps off the screen.
This is not a comfortable watch - I was anxious, had my heart in my mouth and there were many ugly sob moments throughout the film. That said, it is definitely worth the watch.
Netflix has changed the way we watch TV and is now trying to do the same thing with cinema. It seems like every other week there is a massive, original film, starring some of Hollywood’s biggest names, available on the streaming service. This week it’s Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac and Charlie Hunnam who star in their latest “cinematic” release, Triple Frontier.
Triple Frontier sees five ex-Special Forces Operatives come back together again to try to bring down one of South America’s biggest drug lords. This time they are not doing it for their country, though, they are doing it for themselves – hoping to walk away with a ridiculous amount of cash. It’s a fool proof plan, until it’s not. It then becomes a tale of survival as they all start to turn on each other and do things that were never part of the plan.
This is one of the better heist thrillers I have seen in a long time. It does what it says on the tin – there’s lots of action, many edge of your seat moments, excitement and even a few surprises thrown in. The cast work really well together – Triple Frontier is one of my favourite things that Ben Affleck has done in a while.
Not only is this a heist thriller, but it also brings up the conversation of how the US looks after their veterans - after they have given everything to protect their country, they are forgotten about when they return home. In planning this heist, one of the soldiers says, “The question is do we get to use our skills to our benefit and actually change something?”
I love that Netflix are making movies accessible to everyone, but while watching this I couldn’t help think that this is one of those films I’d love to see in surround sound on the big screen, while eating my popcorn. I know they do it on a limited basis in the US, but I wonder if Netflix will start offering both options over here too and what the uptake would be if they did?
While we wait and see how Netflix will change the landscape of cinema, we can enjoy what they are offering us.