VOD film review: The Veteran
James R | On 28, Nov 2014
Director: Matthew Hope
Cast: Toby Kebbell, Brian Cox, Adi Bielski
Watch The Veteran online in the UK: Amazon Prime / Apple TV (iTunes) / Amazon Instant Video
Ever since Anton Corbijn’s Control, Toby Kebbell has been an actor worth watching. Supporting turns in Prince of Persia and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice marked his arrival on the Hollywood scene. Here, he’s back on London’s grimy streets for a low budget post-war thriller. It’s no Route Irish, but Toby Kebbell is still worth watching – which means The Veteran is too. Just.
Miller (Kebbell) is back home after a tour in Afghanistan and is helping to track down terrorist cells in South London. But all is not quiet on the council estate front: drug dealers are taking over. It’s like a war zone out there. It’s a good job Miller has his post-traumatic stress disorder stubble on or he’d be in real trouble.
Yes, The Veteran joins the long line of drams where a man with a beard is battling his inner war demons, while shady men in suits stand around in car parks looking shady and suited. Matthew Hope’s second feature has none of Spooks’ style or adrenaline, but the bits where bullets do show up move along nicely. There’s also a good line in grim London locations, if empty warehouses, sunset-washed rooftops and abandoned docklands are your thing.
What a shame, then, that the script is full of cliches about terrorism, corporate corruption and other oh-so-radical ideas. We’re never more than one step away from the actors standing on street corners holding signs saying: “Down with this sort of thing” and “We care about the issues”.
Fortunately, the overly familiar dialogue is spoken by a convincing cast. Brian Cox is on standard Brian Cox duty, all sunglasses and frowning expression, while Toby Kebbell’s self-hating soldier walks around like a landmine waiting to implode. His quietly intense performance can’t make the improbable romance with extremist mole Alayna (Bielski) work, but he stops the obligatory flashbacks from becoming too heavy-handed. After 90 minutes of laboured conflict, Kebbell’s struggle against the script ends dramatically. And thanks to his performance, as far as kitchen sink thrillers go, The Veteran is gripping enough.
The Veteran is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.