The Veteran

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Tobey Kebbell’s performance proves beyond doubt that he can carry a film. Rating: * *


15 cert, 98 min

Toby Kebbell has the looks, range and talent to be a major star. His sexy-laconic performance in The Veteran, as a demobbed soldier coaxed into black ops against terror cells in London, proves beyond doubt that he can carry a film: he plays post-traumatic stress by keeping a lid on it, and somehow makes credible sense of a character who finds a new war zone on the drug estates.

Beyond him, Matthew Hope’s film is sadly a bust, so hung up on a hushed, state-of-the-nation authenticity it just sits there, a fuse that keeps fizzing without fully igniting. Brian Cox, doing a variation on his Bourne spook duties, has a windy speech about the economics of warfare (“Fear is money!”) when the movie needs it least. A guns-blazing showdown at the end jolts you back to attention, but the fumbled ironies of the plot leave a dour and portentous aftertaste.

 

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