Archives 2020

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: THE SECRETS WE KEEP – 9/10

“The Secrets We Keep”    9.0

In a word: Powerful!

Pete Hammond, who writes for Hollywood Daily, sums it up in one complex sentence, posted on Rotten Tomatoes:

       “Noomi Rapace is fierce and powerful in this suspenseful and thought provoking post WWII Nazi revenge thriller.”

     The worst thing this movie is the blah title, certainly not enticing to the potential viewer. It would have been better titled “Secrets” then let the viewer fill in the blanks. The second worst aspect is the slow pace in the first 20-30 minutes whereby some scenes could have been cut or shortened without losing the enticement.

     However, once those first 20 minutes pass, the storyline falls into place in a city in middle America set in the late 1950’s, where the emotional and physical scars from World War II still haunt the survivors.  It’s not long that the viewer is psychologically captured in this heart-wrenching saga about a woman from Romania who married an American doctor after the war, as they seem to live happily ever after. That all abruptly changes when she spots, she thinks, one of the wicked soldiers who left her for dead after mentally damaging her for all time fifteen years earlier.

     While actress Noomi Rapace’s character cannot let go of the horrible memory, her marriage, and the marriage of the suspected Nazi, are at serious risk. She virtually cannot stop herself from dwelling on the nightmare, believing this is the man who will haunt her for life, while her doctor husband does all he can to secure the marriage.

     This is one of those edge of the seat pictures, complete with sorrow and tears, reminding us that not only did WWII create suffering from the 50 million deaths, but also within the minds and hearts of millions more still living.

     Without question, the focus of the story the character played by Noomi Rapace, a Romanian/Swiss actress who I’d never heard of, though she has played in many movies from around the world. This performance was, without a doubt, Oscar worthy. The rest of the cast also performed well, but the intensity we felt from Noomi Rapace left me speechless as I watched the list of credits, much the way I watched “Schindler’s List” as the tears welled.

     Like “Schindler,” this movie is not about wild chases, and guns, and tricks and sex, it’s all about drama and the fragility of life.

     (As a side note, it sure was great watching a movie on the big screen, though there were only two people in the auditorium, Suzanne and me.)

     I give this movie a 9 out of 10.

The Secrets We Keep (2020) – Full Cast & Crew – IMDb

FORMER POLICE OFFICER FORGIVES HIS SHOOTER

(This article was published in Florida Today newspaper this date, Sept. 14, 2020.)

 

Police shootings often occur suddenly, becoming life-changing events. When the face of death suddenly bursts out of nowhere, there’s no time for studying the handbook. 

In 30 years as a police detective, I investigated or supervised numerous deadly situations, some ending up with my fellow officers lying naked on a steel autopsy tray. There’s no redoing that. I was one of the lucky ones who survived violence, mayhem and deadly showdowns, though I did have one close call in December 1965. In fact, I hold the distinction of being the only cop in the history of Miami-Dade who was shot by a woman.

Nobody forgets such moments.  My partner, Robert Lamont, and I got a tip that a fugitive from New York, wanted for auto theft, was hiding out in a second-story apartment in Miami. We checked it out. It was true. The subject was a white male age 22, with a past prison record. His background indicated non-violence.

We arrived and knocked on the apartment door. When a little blonde woman, age 35, cracked the door open, we showed our ID. She suddenly panicked and tried to slam the door. When we bullied our way inside, she backed off screaming, “Get out!” A frightened little kid was holding on to her leg, crying. I first looked behind the door and then a nearby closet, while Lamont ran down the hallway to see if the subject was hiding. Our guns were not drawn because we knew a 3-year-old kid was inside.

As I turned around, I heard a loud “crack!” The blonde lady was waving a rifle at me from across the room, screaming incoherently, “Get out, Get out!” I froze. I figured my life was over. The world changed for all of us in a split second. I extended my hands, ordering her, “Put your gun down!”

A strange feeling from the gunshot wound wracked my left thigh. With my hands extended, I pleaded with her not to shoot again. A million thoughts swirled through my head as she waved the rifle left and right, hysterically. My world was about to end, leaving my wife, my child, my mom, my police partners, that little kid, the hysterical woman, and my job if I did anything wrong. How could I neutralize this woman before anyone got killed? I quickly lunged back out the entrance door, following her order to “Get out!”

There was no time to ponder.

My partner had located the subject hiding on a balcony. He then disarmed the woman in a matter of seconds as I re-entered the partment, gun drawn. The baby was screaming. The woman was hysterical. Our lives were likely spared because her rifle stored only one bullet, which my partner snatched with his free hand. My left leg collapsed from the bullet wound.

I spent four days in the hospital with time to reflect and cogitate. It was time for hindsight.

One, I should never have served that warrant without my gun drawn. Two, I had been too concerned about the child, worrying about a stray bullet. Three, my world — and my family’s world — might have changed in a matter of seconds. Four: Luckily, the woman was a firearm novice, or my life would have ended at age 26. Five: Thank goodness the wanted fugitive was passive. And last, I was fortunate to have a great partner in Bob Lamont.

Eunice Molter, the woman who shot me, sent me a letter from prison, begging my forgiveness. She served two years.

And, yes, I forgave her. Why? Because I could.

Marshall Frank is a retired police captain from Miami-Dade County, author and frequent contributor. Visit marshallfrank.com.

 

 

 

 

BENNETT’S 60th BIRTHDAY

 

This poem (below) was written more than 30 years ago by a brilliant young man whose young life had been laced with rejection, heartaches, poverty and addiction amid the absence of ever feeling truly loved. Below is one of the sixty-plus poems he penned, which are taken from his book, Black Hole, assembled and collected from spiral notebooks and scrap paper, with no intention to have them published. That was done for him by a sympathetic family member. 

These few simple words speak volumes about the persona of Bennett A. Frank.

 

THE DAY THAT I CAME LAST

 

Gather friends and listen, to a tale that’s true and wild

About a boy whose eyes would glisten as he turned to man from child

 

When Dad came missing in ’72, Mom spent no days in black

The world he knew was shades of blue, there was no turning back

 

The school bus dropped him off at home, but the door was often locked

His afternoons were spent alone, catching fish to trade in shock

 

When you’re between child and man, your world is what you make

There’s no time for tears that ran, He’s had all that he could take.

 

Hey Mommy, keep your men, your wine and bags of grass

For I would always remember, the days that I came last

 

*  (second verse, Bennett refers to “Dad”…who was a stepfather.)

 

     Bennett Arthur Frank died from an overdose on hard drugs in January of 2019.  Xanax, Methamphetamine and Fentanyl, all three, were found his body. He had been living the homeless life, befriended mainly by homeless people and supplied with drugs of his choice by a generous physician.

     Despite drug addiction which had haunted him since the age of twelve, he was a gentle soul, loved by his son and daughter, and his father, who knew he was trapped by a combination of mental illness, psychological impairment, low self-esteem and the everlasting grip from substance abuse.

     Bennett knew that his father loved him, all his life, but always felt less important than other people, including family and friends. He felt he had disappointed everyone in the family circle. There was no turning back.

     On September 11, 1960, Bennett was born a healthy baby in a North Miami hospital, the morning after Hurricane Donna hit the southeast coast of Florida. Today would have been his 60th birthday.

     On January 17, 2019, he chose to put an end to his lifelong misery.

     I will love him forever. I only wish he knew that. 

     And, I wish I could wish him a happy birthday. 

 

Black Hole is available on Amazon, or from me via e-mail.

Bennett’s full story of his struggles can be found in the book “A Boy Who Mattered” available via Amazon. Signed copies available by contacting me at mlf283@aol.com.

 


 

 

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “UNHINGED” – 9/10

“UNHINGED”  9/10

 

In a word:  Maniacal 

 

First Note: This was quite a treat watching a movie on the big screen after six months of cinematic withdrawals. The movie appeared at the now-open Oaks Theater in Melbourne, where we shared the cavernous room with three other unmasked strangers.

If you like hard core, powerful and terrifying movies, don’t miss this psycho thriller starring an overweight Russell Crowe who, for some unexplained reason, was angry at the entire planet. He meets up with a horn-honking mom stuck in traffic with while taking her ten-year old boy to school, who had no idea she had awakened the wrath of an out-of-control lunatic.  

The mom character is deftly played by South African Born actress, Caren Pistorius, who obviously shows her talent and ability to make terror scenes feel very real, particularly when trying desperately to protect her son.

In his quest to chase and destroy the mom and her boy, Crowe has us sitting on the edge of our seats while the frenetic victims are on screen doing everything possible to save their own lives.  With a few exceptions, this movie is fast-paced as almost everyone Crowe encounters meets a tragic end.

A few interspersed scenes slowed the pace a bit, but that was a good thing allowing audiences to catch their breath. And, if one looked hard enough, a few implausible errors could be seen, but it took nothing away from the movie.

It was a good wake-up call returning back to movie houses where they belong.

Probably no Oscars here, though Crowe was quite convincing in his role as a maniac.

I give this a 9 out of 10.

Unhinged (2020) – IMDb

COP LIVES MATTER

I served as a cop for thirty years in Miami. The greatest honor was to share the camaraderie and friendship with the finest, most caring and bravest human beings on planet earth. There are nearly 800,000 police officers in the United States. Their services are called for nearly 183 million times a year. That’s a lot of danger.

When applying for the job, most police officers not only sought pay and benefits, they also felt a calling, to be among the greatest of public servants. I loved being an officer, because I helped to save lives and rescued others. I fought criminals, put many dangerous people away, while I protected the innocent. I worked all corners of the urban arena in Miami. Voices from citizens often ring in my ears; “Thank you, Officer, so much.”

I personally knew fifteen police officers, black, Hispanic and white, male and female, who gave their lives in the line of duty and many more who were disabled, for life. They had families at home. I knew scores of cops who fought hand to hand with criminals, saving lives for you and for me. Other than war, there’s no other job as risky. I too was shot, suddenly blindsided by an insane woman. I have held dying people in my arms, swathed with blood, pleading with them to hold on. Every day, I had no idea what I’d have to face.

In my 30 years of the job, I never actually witnessed an officer using unnecessary/excessive force. I’m sure it happens now and then, but I was one of the lucky ones. It is not a common occurrence. Don’t believe people who tell you otherwise. With rare exception, there are no racial motives, not in these times. There is no such thing as “systemic” brutality. That’s what some media or cop haters want you to believe. In some cases, a cop will lose control, generally a reaction to fighting, or chasing, being assaulted, or because the power  of adrenaline takes control of the cop, instead of the other way around. 

Do I blindly cover for bad cops? Not if you check my record, which included my role as chief investigator of the notorious killing of Arthur McDuffie in 1979 when I arrested five officers for beating him to death. That was one example of an adrenaline rush.

I had a personal life as well, which suffered because of my devotion to the profession. That, also, not uncommon. The rate of broken marriages is higher than average for police than other careers. (Exact statistics unavailable)

We are now in a terrible state of chaos, much of which is systemic, because the latest violence in American cities are clearly planned, financed and engineered. Anarchists are flexing muscles by denigrating and reducing police officers through sheer humiliation leaving our constitution on the chopping block. Inept or hateful politicians are aiding and abetting the lawlessness. Anarchists are well trained and programmed on how to get people to hate police officers. It’s all about politics and power. 

Cops are told to take it or leave it. Respect for law enforcement from some political leaders has found its way down the drain. Anti-police sentiments, such as those taken by several mayors and governors, show contempt for cops who have no choice but to stand and take it when doused with water buckets, flammable fluids, smashes in the head with deadly objects, pelting stones and fireballs while their cars are immersed in flames. Imagine, being an officer standing at attention in tandem, while denizens of the neighborhood scream deafening expletives into the ear canals of officers doing their jobs, by forcing themselves to look straight ahead. They’re doing their best to remain sane.

Why? Because they ARE the first and only line of defense for decent citizens who are suffering enormously by the actions of hate organizations are given Carte Blanche to destroy what they wish while we all look on.

Cops are not robots. They are human. They get plenty of training. Sometimes, a cop will screw up. It’s the nature of the beast. Officers who commit crimes should pay a price like any other law breaker. Considering the volume of calls they answer, and the violent confrontations they face, it’s utterly remarkable they still report to duty.

In these times, thousands of cops suffer in their own personal lives. Families suffer. Mental health suffers. Kids suffer from broken marriages. According to the Addiction Center, police officers rank highest among professions for committing suicide. I knew several cops who took their own lives. Some were good friends.

Cops meet death on the job roughly once every two days.

Imagine being one of those 800,000 career cops watching police hatred fester while organized violence explodes against neighborhoods, monuments, businesses, government buildings, police officers and innocent people. Thanks to pathetic excuses by government politicians, many wish they never became a cop. Today we are witnessing the erosion of budgets meant to protect cops, and citizens. Some cities and states are virtually defunding police budgets. Mayor De Blasio, of New York City, is cutting a billion dollars from the police budget. All that can come of this: Cops will be powerless, our enemies will be emboldened.

Sound familiar?  Think: Marxism. Think Cuba, Venezuela, and China.

Police officers retire early these days. Others are withdrawing their applications. Some will look the other way when suspicious circumstances arise, unless they have no choice. Who’s the biggest loser in the “Hate-Cops” era? Americans. Citizens suffer, along with police. It is they who are afraid like anyone else. It is they who just want to be safe at home with their families and work at their jobs. Each day, cops hope and pray they can make it to the finish line: Retirement. 

Cop Lives Matter…as do all lives.