Thursday, September 15, 2016

Killing Season (2013): Through The Eyes of Cat


Number Rolled: N/A
Movie Name/Year: Killing Season (2013)
Tagline: The purest form of war is one on one.
Genre: Thriller
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Millennium Films, Corsan, Nu Image, Promised Land Productions
Producers: Paul Breuls, Ed Cathell III, Boaz Davidson, Danny Dimbort, Anson Downes, Linda Favila, Veronique Huyghebaert, Avi Lerner, Danny Lerner, Anthony Rhulen, Guy Tannahill, John Thompson, Emelie Vervecken, Jake Wagner
Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Writer: Evan Daugherty
Actors: Robert De Niro, John Travolta, Milo Ventimiglia, Elizabeth Olin

Blurb from Netflix: A military vet's new hunting partner has an old grudge and is good with a bow and arrow. It's cold out there.

Cat’s Point of View:

This movie was intriguing to me on several levels. I first came across it while on a search to watch more of Milo Ventimiglia’s (Kiss of the Damned, Chosen, This Is Us) work.  His part in this film is relatively small in screen-time, yet is very important to the story all the same. 

This movie kept me at the edge of my seat and tugged at my heartstrings. I cringed at some of the rather graphic points. 

I have to say that I was a little skeptical on the combination of John Travolta (Hairspray, Savages, The Forger) and Robert De Niro (Limitless, The Family, Joy). Each is a box office heavyweight in their own right. Travolta, however, can be a bit hit or miss with his roles; while De Niro is generally flawless with delivery and is a legend at his craft. 

Surprisingly, it worked. Travolta’s accent was fairly believable and I bought in to his story. I found his character a bit annoying in a few places – but that was the character and nothing to do with his performance, the direction, or the writing.

While Selina originally reviewed this back in early 2014, my viewing of this film is coming close on the heels of another movie we’ve recently watched involving a war vet coping poorly with combat trauma. There’s a disturbing number of soldiers struggling with something similar every day- and the number only grows. This movie definitely touches on the damages of war from both sides of the equation. 

I couldn’t help but see my grandfathers in De Niro’s shoes. Both were World War II veterans. I don’t know much about my paternal grandfather’s war experience (he never talked about it at all). There is a clearer picture where my maternal grandfather is concerned. 

He was a Major in the Army and he was leading his men through a mine field in Germany on his way to a bridge. He stepped on a mine. It shattered his leg, and could have killed him if not for the box of supplies he was carrying. He didn’t subscribe to the idea of letting his men do all the heavy lifting just because he was an officer.  

Long story short, he had a long recovery road ahead of him. He managed to keep his leg but there was a very long span of time moving through hospitals across the country – surgeries and physical therapy. He could have given up – and he did disappear into alcohol for a while. By the time I came along, he was already well into his sobriety and attending AA meetings regularly. He didn’t like to talk about the war very often. 

Sometimes war changes people so profoundly that it’s hard to come back to the person you were before. This movie weaves a poignant illustration of that in with the more harrowing tale. I'd say throw in some 'cat and mouse' for spice, but Robert De Niro's character is no mouse.

I can’t imagine anyone different in the role De Niro plays, and am very thankful that Nicholas Cage (G-Force, Kick-Ass, Stolen) didn’t end up with the part. It might have been interesting to see him facing off with Travolta again, but I think the movie might have suffered. 

I was pleasantly surprised by this movie and would actually like to watch it again.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 11%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 29%

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 4.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5 

P.S. The survival skills that Robert De Niro utilizes in this movie are legit.

P.S.2. If you'd like to revisit Selina's original review of this movie, you can skip searching the archives and find it here.

Movie Trailer: 


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