Better Call Saul 1.7 – “Bingo”

I was away from Better Call Saul for two weeks. The Mexican prison in which I was caged had neither televisión nor computadora, and for some reason the chip in my brain that live-streams anything and everything related to Breaking Bad directly into my eyeballs seemed to be out of juice. Por favor, I wheezed, necesito…Saul. My captors never budged. At length I escaped with the help of a beautiful young Mexican woman named Alejandra, by foot, by horseback, by freight train bound for the States, by the skin of my teeth. I collapsed onto my couch seventy-two harrowing hours later. As “Bingo” began I felt like I’d missed something, I felt disconnected, I felt for the first time like I actually needed the previously on montage. I felt lost. I longed for Alejandra.

Oddly enough, “Bingo” was actually partially about exactly that: is Jimmy going anywhere? Even if you forget about him for two weeks, is he still just going to end up in the same place he started? This is a guy who constantly reinvents himself with chameleonic disregard for each successive former self. The episode “Hero” went a long way to depicting this, first showing the con man Slippin’ Jimmy, then the upstart lawyer Jimmy McGill, then the coiffed and suited James M. McGill, Esq. beaming down from that billboard. The trick of the thing, of course, was that it’s all still Jimmy. That billboard thing was a con, plain and simple, just like the kind Slippin’ Jimmy used to pull.

Continue reading Better Call Saul 1.7 – “Bingo”

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken (2015)

It’s actually borderline impressive how dull Kidnapping Mr. Heineken ends up being. The true story of the capture, ransom and eventual release of beer mogul Freddy Heineken is a harrowing one. Heineken was one of the richest men in the Netherlands when he was kidnapped. He was held for weeks in a brilliantly-constructed soundproof cell that probably inspired that twist from Denzel’s Inside Man. His ransom was the largest ever paid for an individual, and his captors evaded police for weeks following their release of Heineken. The media had an absolute field day with the entire affair, but the personal motives on the part of the captors are interesting as well.

As a film, though, pretty much all of that falls flat. Jim Sturgess plays the ringleader and de facto mastermind Cor Van Hout, flanked by Sam Worthington’s Willem and Ryan Kwanten’s Cat, and each actor does fine with the part allotted to them. Anthony Hopkins is the veteran and obvious draw in the part of Freddy Heineken. Finally, director Daniel Alfredson is an intriguing choice as well, having previously helmed the original Millennium Trilogy before David Fincher took over for the American version of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Continue reading Kidnapping Mr. Heineken (2015)