Film Notes
by Pablo A. Tariman

If you bickered a lot during the last APEC event why roads near the airports had to be closed and many flights cancelled at the last minute because of arrival of several heads of state, then you had better see the film “London Has Fallen” opening today (March 3) in cinemas.

Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart. in "London Has Fallen." Taut direction and some real and brisk acting.

Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart. in “London Has Fallen.” Taut direction and some real and brisk acting.

You will see the same kind of super tight security precautions, the same rerouting of traffic with the public kept at bay for the funeral of a British prime minister set in the famous St. Paul’s Cathedral (remember the famous “Feed The Birds” song number of Julie Andrews in “Mary Poppins?).

What is amazing about this film is that it was able to capture all the important landmarks of London and how they were blown away one by one by a terrorist’s angry plot.

In the beginning, you connect easily with the film because there are snippets of radio news about bombings in Manila, bomb threats in Pakistan even before the images begin to unfold. Then you are quickly ushered into a Pakistani wedding party where the father of the bride is Aamir Barkawi (Alon Moni Aboutboul), a lethal arms dealer and as the screen storymade him out to be, one of the most wanted men in the world.

Even before the wedding party reaches its climax, there is a massive explosion that kills the bride and other members of the wedding party.

When the smoke clears, you see a father’s figure in deep mourning. His reaction is a classic case of there is no fury like a bride’s father provoked . He vows to exact revenge the magnitude of which he planned with precision and timed and executed on the day of the state funeral of the British prime minister.

Almost all the leaders of the most powerful nations on earth were in London but his main object of course is American president Benjamin Asher played without pomp and ceremony by Aaron Eckhart.

Morgan Freeman as the American vice-president in "London Has Fallen." Projected a real figure of authority.

Morgan Freeman as the American vice-president in “London Has Fallen.” Projected a real figure of authority.

But the main protagonist in the story is the president’s Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (played with precocious determination by Gerard Butler) whose family background provides the human touch in this highly entertaining suspense and action picture.

The film gives us an idea of the no-nonsense bond between him and pregnant wife Leah (Radha Mitchell) before he boards the Air Force One. The concern is real and so is their love.

As you see the domestic scene of the presidential security aide, you begin to understand the ties that bind between President Pinoy and his former presiential guard Alan Purisima (he protected Pinoy and family during the coupd’etat).

The pace of the movie is quick, the suspense truly nerve-shaking and when the explosions begin, you begin to imagine if the same scenario happens in your own country’s capital.

Happily, the acting is more than believable, the direction (Babak Najafi) taut and the cinematography (Joel Collins) captures the action and the suspense – alas with an unerring eye.

Angela Bassett as the Secret Service Director Lynne Jacobs gives as a truly admirable side of a woman as a no-nonsense security specialist. Her acting sparkles specially in her death scene where she admonishes that her partner tries his best to go home alive — if only for the sake of his unborn baby.

Morgan Freeman as Vice-President Allan Trumbull projected a figure of unshakeable authority while Aaron Eckhart as U.S. President Benjamin Asher gave us a slice of another human portrait of a head of state as the man trying to stay alive. After all, he symbolizes the most powerful country on earth.

Angela Bassett flanked by co-actors Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman. A perfect trio in "London Has Fallen."

Angela Bassett flanked by co-actors Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman. A perfect trio in “London Has Fallen.”

(You could feel the mass alarm of the audience when they let out a unified shriek when the terrorist leader, Barkawi (Alon Moni Aboutboul) was about to behead the US president live on global television.)

If you have had your fill of quiet movies lately, have a nice break and try a dose of suspense on the big screen. A teenyweeny bit of what looks like a well-made formula movie can’t do you harm.

Presented by VIVA International Pictures and MVP Entertainment,London Has Fallen is now showing in cinemas.

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