Tense and unsettling from start to finish, Netflix’s thriller is a hidden diamond

In “Caliber” (2018), a man finds himself at a stage in his life where, a little overwhelmed by all the responsibilities that come with being a father, despite having no idea of ​​the pleasure, which this new condition can give him, begins to shake up his history as one does with a trunk too full of worthless objects, in search of any memento that might justify the trip. The character of Jack Lowden, the main character in Matt Palmer’s film, gives the impression of being somewhat out of place with the importance of the path he has taken, if he has decided at all. For these and other reasons, he accepts without hesitation the invitation of Marcus, by Martin McCann, to a hunt in the Scottish Highlands, in the north-west of the country, even without knowing how to shoot and even showing the slightest taste for the activity . As the plot progresses, it becomes more and more clear that his will is simply to satisfy his friend, whom he has not seen for fifteen years.

The two’s arrival in the small town that Marcus has chosen marks the beginning of the second act of the film. Depicts the cliche situations in plots like this – the outsiders with money to spend freely (Marcus in a better situation than Vaughn, that is), so well-dressed and seemingly sophisticated that they walk into the only bar in the region and are soon approached by beautiful women and unbridled beyond belief – Palmer’s script escapes the same by presenting Logan, the leader of the village, as a kind and reasonable guy who is really interested in rebuilding the place where he lives (and maybe that’s the only reason so kind to visitors). Tony Curran’s character does not sympathize with sport hunting at all, but he has no choice: either live with it or the city sinks forever. The friends enjoy Vaughn’s last bachelor weekend, and Marcus always seems to have the most fun. After a night of drinking for both of them, in addition to drugs and sex for Marcus, he wakes up the next morning eager to take Vaughn to the range to see what his rifles will bring them.

Although it does not lend itself to play the role of a film to reflect on, between the lines “Caliber” hints at the director’s interesting views on subjects such as free gun sales, alcoholism, drug addiction, in addition. to the dangers of a friendship where one side has much more weight than the other and always leaves him at a clear disadvantage, with no way out, reasonings that will permeate the plot until the end, where the outcome solves the problem for Vaughn definitively — in every fall with regard to Marcus. Unconsciously, Vaughn seems to reject everything his friend offers him, his lifestyle, his habits, his addictions, his depravity, but there is something about Marcus that charms him, that bewitches him, that makes him an idiot.

Even with some indications that everything has to go wrong, the hunt begins. Obeying Marcus’ instructions, Vaughn is the first to shoot and hits effectively. Afterwards, they suspect the bullet had a destination it shouldn’t have, which is confirmed when they hear a man calling for his son, Sammy. Vaughn gets to the body first, but Sammy’s father, Logan’s brother, finds them, the shooter, and the dead boy. Thinking he was going to pay the bill, Marcus shoots the man in the chest. Now there is no more surrender possible: Vaughn and Marcus are two cold-blooded killers, especially after what they decide to do with the bodies, which is the beginning of the duo’s downfall. Some time later, Logan finds his brother and nephew missing, organizes a search with sniffer dogs, and arrives at the place where the two were buried. Marcus is finally overcome by the force of events, and the coldness of his sick personality weakens: in a hint of humanity, he is afraid and betrays himself, flees from there, and consequently accepts his guilt. Vaughn follows him. They try to get away from the angry crowd chasing them along the back roads bordering the forest while dodging the bullets raining down on the two, but one of the projectiles hits the car’s tank. They get out of the car and run into the woods, furious at the dogs, who catch up with them.

“Caliber” leads to a perverse ending reminiscent of the central axis of the Argentinian “O Cidadão Ilustre” (2016), directed by Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn, which is again based on maximal philosophical works such as the classic “O Cidadão World as Will and Representation”, published in 1818, by the German Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860). In the book, Schopenhauer, one of the thinkers who became famous for his pessimism, together with the Dane Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) and also the German Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) – although he had never experienced serious financial difficulties and was recognized as the great intellectual that he was, luck which the other two did not have, or which they only came to enjoy at the expense of a large effort – he defends the idea of ​​life in the form of a will to life, that is, life would be a mere prospect for man of his darkest desires. Man does not know how to will, because by willing he already spreads destruction over everything, and therefore it is necessary to deny all will, even (or especially) those which may seem to produce supposed good intentions. That is, never give in to the temptation of wanting to relive moments in life that have already been relegated to the distant past, however happy they may seem, like a reunion with a good friend. Life changes. People change – or reveal themselves. Failure to understand this can lead to consequences that are, in the mildest of cases, undesirable. In the strictest, deadly.

Movie: Caliber
Direction: Matt Palmer
Year: 2018
genres: Thriller
Note: 9/10

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