Trust, identity, and the danger of unchecked power push a covert operative to the edge in director Mark Williams’ intense action thriller Blacklight. Travis Block (Neeson) lives and fights in the shadows. A freelance government “fixer,” Block is a dangerous man whose assignments have included extracting agents out of deep-cover situations. When Block discovers a shadowy program called Operation Unity is striking down ordinary citizens for reasons known only to Block’s boss, FBI chief Robinson (Quinn), he enlists the help of a journalist (Raver-Lampman), but his past and present collide when his daughter and granddaughter are threatened. Now Block needs to rescue the people he loves and expose the truth for a shot at redemption. Nothing and no one is safe when secrets are hidden in Blacklight.
KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “Thrilling, fast-paced and intricate, you won’t want to miss Blacklight! Liam Neeson’s strong performance, the plot by Nick May and Brandon Reavis and impeccable cinematography all make this film a joy to watch.” See his full review below.
By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Thrilling, fast-paced and intricate, you won’t want to miss Blacklight! Liam Neeson’s strong performance, the plot by Nick May and Brandon Reavis and impeccable cinematography all make this film a joy to watch.
The film follows Travis Block (Liam Neeson), a freelance government operative coming to grips with his past, present (still a bit of a gray area) and future, which he sees in his daughter and granddaughter. When he discovers a plot undermining the safety of American citizens that has proliferated through the upper echelons of national intelligence, Block is pitted against FBI director Gabriel Robinson (Aidan Quinn), whom he once protected while on tour in Vietnam. Using the help of tenacious journalist Mira Jones (Emmy Raver-Lampman) to get the truth out, Block must find a way to keep his daughter and granddaughter safe while combating grave danger.
Just as he plays all of his roles, Neeson seems to have invested all of his mental and emotional energy into perfecting Block’s troubled and cerebral personality. He portrays the agent’s struggle with great conviction and vigor, and he certainly is my favorite actor in the film. I have to say, though, that as a journalist, I have a soft spot for Emmy Raver-Lampman’s character Mira Jones. From Jones’ first scene, her grit and tenacity are visible. She even confronts the head of her news corporation! Just as Raver-Lampman acts from her heart, Jones writes from her heart, and I’m sure she would have taken some inspiration from her own craft to portray Jones’ courageous quest for the truth. The production of the film isn’t all about the acting, though. The variety of unique, dramatic shots in the film including several cutaways, medium shots and closeups, adds to the intensity of several scenes. As is apt for a film with “light” in the name, the lighting plays a large role in the cinematography; the number of bright scenes steadily decreases over the course of the film as the characters descend to the dark depths of their lives.
Blacklight promotes honesty, valor, persistence and perseverance. There’s really no other way to put it. Regardless of how many hurdles Mira Jones faces in her pursuit of the truth, she never backs down. Similarly, Travis Block, however ragged he may look, never throws in the towel in his pursuit of the shadowy figure from his past. There is some violence to look out for and in one scene, a political activist is murdered.
I give Blacklight 4.5 stars out of 5, and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Blacklight is available in theaters now.
Keywords: Mark Williams , Nick May, Mark Williams, Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn, Emy Raver-Lapman, Paul Currie, Myles Nestel, Alevé Loh, Coco Xiaqlu Ma