Cert 15 113mins Stars 3

This hard-edged old school crime thriller is a resolutely grim and increasingly violent affair, and holds your attention with to a hardworking cast, decent production values and a twisty story which holds its best tricks until the end.

Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman scowls and growls through the mean streets of New York as Pete, for all the world a heavily tattooed Athena poster wrought to rippling life, and a ‘soldier’ in the Polish drugs cartel who are importing huge quantities of heroin into the US.

Though Kinnaman is far from miscast, he’s the most Scandinavian looking Pole you’re ever likely to encounter.

Pete’s also working as an informer for the FBI in the hope of leaving the criminal life and making a fresh start with his adorable daughter and loving wife. The latter is played by Cuban actress Ana de Armas, who’s soon to appear in the next James Bond film, No Time to Die.

But when a drug deal goes wrong and leaves a New York cop dead, Pete is forced to take the fall, and he runs in ever decreasing and desperate circles trying to escape of the clutches of the Feds and the mobsters.

Rosamund Pike is an American-accented agent with a conflicted conscience, whose boss is another Brit star, Clive Owen. A veteran of twisty Hollywood movies such as 2009’s Duplicity, his casting is significant in a small but pivotal role.

Filling the plot with corrupt ambassadors, foreigners flooding the US with drugs, wronged army veterans and honest blue-collar cops, the script unashamedly
leans into the political narrative of the current US administration.

It’s adapted from a Swedish crime novel, and though Italian director Andrea Di Stefano, is more comfortable giving the violence a bloody realism than offering depth to the few domestic scenes, he delivers a dry but effective entertainment.