SCI-FI; 1hr 35min
STARRING: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey
Another day at the office: Dredd
To describe Mega City One as a hellhole would be to talk it up. Spanning the US East Coast from Boston to Washington, DC, the amoral megalopolis is crime incarnate. Outside its walls lies the irradiated desert of a future America dreamed up in a 1977 comic by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra (and mangled in a flatlining 1995 Sylvester Stallone film). Corralling the mayhem are hard-case law enforcers known as Judges, leather-suited and face-helmeted with licences to charge, condemn and kill. Dredd (Urban) is the hardest of all, husking his unsparing lines through a mouth perpetually downturned.
Charged with a psychic newbie (Thirlby as Cassandra Anderson) for a day’s training, Dredd is as welcoming as a gravestone. Their undesirable assignment: a triple homicide at the 200-storey Peach Trees apartments, a squalor monolith ruled by the crushing fists of loony Ma-Ma (Headey) and her Clan. When Ma-Ma locks the building down, the judges are in a fight for their lives. Dredd, of course, is Dredd calm, Anderson not so much, though, and frankly I’m with her: director Pete Travis and screenwriter Alex Garland do dystopia in multiple shades of violently stylised black.