Middle-aged men with a particular skillset have found their patron saint in Liam Neeson. Luckily, a distinctive visual style and some added character detailing keep Run All Night running smoother than most of its sluggish brethren. There’s certainly nothing new here, but this slick little film dispenses its thrills and kills with surprising effectiveness.
A fourth season of The Killing seemed unlikely, to say the least, after the show was canceled. Fortunately for fans, Netflix stepped in and the series’ change in venue will likely shape the final season (it should, for example, allow Joel Kinnaman to drop an f-bomb, which I’ve been waiting for Holder to do since he was introduced back in the first season). What hasn’t changed is the series’ murder-mystery core. The premiere introduces two intertwining plots: the massacre of the Stansbury family (save for one survivor, son Kyle Stansbury, who does not remember the night of the murder), and whether Linden and Holder will be able to successfully cover up Linden’s shooting of Lt. Skinner from last season’s finale. The whodunit of who killed the family looks like the most interesting central mystery in the show’s history, or at least one of the better plotted. It takes less time to find a plausible prime suspect for the murder than it has in past seasons, so maybe Sud has taken to heart some of the harsh reviews of the show’s meandering pace, or maybe that’s just the reality of having a shortened season. Plus, most cop shows would be unconcerned with continuity and the series deserves plaudits for continuing the cover up plot, which is one of The Killing’s best arguments for existing; the other, of course, is the partnership of Linden and Holder.
AMC’s current original lineup is incredibly diverse in tone. There’s the action-first approach of The Walking Dead and the slow, methodical movement of shows like Mad Men and The Killing (Hell on Wheels and Breaking Bad are somewhere between those two extremes, a little closer to The Walking Dead’s pace). When pace is purposeful and established, it’s hard to criticize it on any grounds other than personal taste. So, when people talk about The Killing being boring, I’m inclined to say they’re reacting based off their personal expectations as TV viewers and are not basing that criticism on anything substantial that has to do with the quality of the show itself. And to reiterate: The Killing is a quality show – one that doesn’t have aspirations higher than what it achieves.