Death In Vegas live review

Live at the Melkweg, Amsterdam, 2018

It’s a balmy sunny Saturday evening in Holland when Richard Fearless and company rock up to the Melkweg in Amsterdam, and the mood is relaxed. Despite the long queues stretching down the street as gig goers wait to get inside the venue, everyone is in good spirits and taking it easy. Once the crowd are in, the lights shrivel away leaving a dark, gloomy atmosphere as sparse, angular piano notes loop over a hard kick drum. Two silhouettes are on stage, standing almost motionless while the pulsing beats start to sway everyone else in the room and the gig begins.

Anyone expecting Death In Vegas to fall in line with the likes of the Chemical Brothers and New Order, and become a heritage dance/rock act, are going to be surprised. Despite the act garnering the most critical and commercial success during a brief dalliance with rock on their third album Scorpio Rising, the line up at the night’s gig isn’t a standard rock setup. Instead, synths ricochet dubby melodies around the room while drum machines and samplers provide mechanical drum patterns and rhythms that keep us locked into an ever present cycle of motion. Rather than neatly working through a best-of/hit singles type set list, the current Death In Vegas approach is to push through all of their past work through the warped, techno influenced filter of their most recent album, Transmission. Old, familiar riffs and vocals occasionally cut through the pounding noise, hinting at classic songs like Aisha and Hands Around My Throat. The crowd moves to the new songs with the same enthusiasm as the older material, showing how flexible these tracks are.

Over the space of an hour, the tempo gradually rises and the rhythms of each song morph from stuttered, staccato ideas to sleek, insistent 4/4 beats. The mood is that of being in a grimy abandoned warehouse out in the middle of a desolate industrial site long after midnight, when in fact its a peaceful and pleasant day outside. But locked inside the determined, deadly sound of new and improved Death In Vegas, its time to play.

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom review

Directed by J A Bayona, 128 minutes

How can you get a film about dinosaurs rampaging on an island wrong? Ever since the original Jurassic Park wowed audiences back in 1993, this is a question that has been asked of every one of it’s sequels, video game spin offs and follow up novel. While The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 treaded water by tweaking the formula with a second island, Jurassic World seemed content to simply remake the original film beat for beat. In a way that recent sequels or “soft reboots” like The Force Awakens have been doing, it aped the first film and even poached some of it’s classic lines, albeit in a forced and ultimately derivative way. So when the last Jurassic Park/World entry turned up, there was a sense that they had to do something, anything, different to keep the franchise alive.

Following on from the events of Jurassic World, where a load of dinosaurs escaped captivity and ate some people (sound familiar?) we see Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reluctantly returning to the island. This. Time, however, they’re actually there to save the dinosaurs from a now active volcano that is set to erupt. Previous films didn’t mention any volcanoes so it’s a bit of a surprise that this is a major plot point, but then again this isn’t a production that seemed to give much thought to what’s going on. Toby Jones and Rafe Spall are interesting additions to the cast, and it’s always a delight to see Jeff Goldblum turning up in any movie, even if he is playing Jeff Goldblum. The two leads go through the motions of a tired romance story and deliver exposition and the occasional joke, but neither really seem to bring anything to proceedings.

Without delving too deeply into spoiler territory, the second half does mix things up with a potential idea that could help provide a decent jumping off point for the crushingly inevitable follow up films. But continuity and logic are right out of the window by this point, as the fifth film in the series seems more like an exercise in keeping the franchise fresh in peoples’ memories. Director J A Bayona – more known for dramatic fare than anything else – works up some haunting imagery every now and then, with two scenes in particular evoking a real sense of sadness and horror. There are times when you can see his unique vision shining through, but for most of the run time you’re acutely aware that you’re watching a standard fare blockbuster that cost far too much to take risks on.

Which leaves us with another film where man eating beasts run amok and yet no one really feels in danger. At the start the humans are trying to save the dinosaurs, but before long they’re running in fear from them. Jurassic Park was a fantastic piece of film making because it made you feel that these were real animals, and acted as such. Ever since, the series has slowly devolved into generic action adventure tropes, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom continues this decline. Perhaps it’s best to let this one go extinct.

2001: A Space Odyssey review

Directed by Stanley Kubrick, 142 minutes

A solitary spaceship gracefully turning through space set to classical music. A lone astronaut drifting down a blindingly white, sterile corridor in zero gravity. A swirling vortex of kaleidoscopic colours assaulting Dr David Bowman’s senses at light speed. Apes cowering beneath the ominous shape of a towering alien monolith. These scenes, along with many others, are some of the iconic scenes from 2001, a film which has gone on to inspire and influence countless sci fi movies ever since it’s original release back in 1968. To celebrate it’s 50th anniversary, the film has been doing the rounds as a limited release across the world, giving movie goers the chance to experience a classic film in the way it was originally meant to be seen – big, bright and very, very loud.

Whether or not you’ve actually seen the film or not, you will almost certainly be aware of it. The cultural weight that 2001 carries is staggering, from creating trail blazing visual effects and production techniques, through refining the science fiction genre by establishing a very realistic, immersive aesthetic, to proving that long, carefully paced, thoughtful movies can be box office successes. George Lucas may have taken the look and style of 2001 to go with his other countless influences to give us Star Wars years later, but the groundwork of the genre was firmly planted here, under Kubrick’s watchful eye.

In fact, taking the film in for the first time in years, it’s easy to forget how it manages to both cover the time from the dawn of intelligent thought all the way through to the next step in humanity’s evolution, while still having a languid, relaxed atmosphere. Every scene is essential to conveying the story, but at the same time is given time to breathe and flesh out what is unfolding. The opening half hour sets out a fascinating vignette of apes fighting for survival before the arrival of a mysterious alien life form. The story provides a smart prologue that echoes down throughout the rest of the film’s run time. We then cut forward to the near future where the alien monolith’s presence is again felt – haunting chants can be heard whenever it appears on screen, draping a pressing, dark tone over proceedings.

Not many films would be confident enough to take a full hour before introducing the main characters, but Kubrick holds back the main drive of the story until then. Keir Dullea carries the main emotional arc of the piece, striving to fulfil his mission despite the ongoing challenges that he faces. Douglas Rain gives a pitch perfect voice performance of wayward artificial intelligence HAL 9000, managing to walk the fine line between cold, dead eyed machine and eerie, almost human like understanding. This section of the film could almost be taken in as a ninety minute thriller on it’s own, before Dr Bowman makes the ultimate trip through time and space. Suddenly the uniform, buttoned down colours and drifting tempo become obliterated by a cosmic sensory overload that baffles the viewer. Even so, underneath it all is a strong feeling of the plot pushing on towards its powerful conclusion. So while your eyes and ears are being assaulted with imagery and noises that evoke some kind of existential extreme, your still able to see the thread of logic that precariously ties all of these moments together.

It’s great to see 2001 back on the big screen, giving people a chance to see just how loud, how impressive, how powerful it would have been all those years ago. Volumes of books have been written in attempts to analyse every little detail that appears in it, and Stanley Kubrick’s penchant for detail means that there is something of value in every scene, every moment that you’re watching. But first and foremost, its a delight for the senses to just take in a classic again.

Marjorie Prime review

Directed by Michael Almereyda, 99 minutes

Marjorie (Lois Smith) is lonely. Spending her twilight years in a sparse, minimal house overlooking windswept shores, she reminisces about her life with a facsimile of her late husband, played by Jon Hamm. To help Marjorie with her encroaching dementia, her family have supplied her with a “Prime” – a digital hologram that has based it’s appearance and personality on a loved one, and with increasing interaction with people that remember that loved one, can become more and more like them. We initially see how this helps Marjorie stave off her fears and concerns about her own condition, but the film raises some interesting questions about our acceptance of technology in every facet of our lives.

Following on from the likes of Her and Ex Machina, Marjorie Prime continues a long thread of films to ask how comfortable we are with allowing technology to help us, and if there’s a point where we stop losing emotional contact with other humans at the expense of some modern miracles. We see family members Geena Davis and Tim Robbins struggle to deal with both Marjorie’s condition and also long buried feelings about their own relationship, sometimes revealing fiercely intimate thoughts only to their digital simulacrums. The film never pushes one side of the argument further than the other, which makes for a contemplative and meditative experience, although at times the languid cinematography and low budget sometimes make you wish for the occasional strong statement from director Michael Almereyda.

Marjorie Prime was initially a play, which shows from it’s limited number of sets and locations. Marjorie’s home appears to be kept in the family, creating a strange, dreamlike feeling that people come and go through this one place, appearing to be as transient as the Primes. Eventually, Prime copies of other family members start to appear, and there’s an eerie (and perhaps not intentional) nod to The Stepford Wives and/or The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, where you get the creeping feeling that humans aren’t needed for the story to continue at all. The cast are uniformly great, managing to stop things from becoming too bloodless or from appearing too weird. Jon Hamm in particular goes from a cold, clinical persona to one of deep emotional resonance even while playing what is essentially an algorithm. Subtle nuances show his development as he spends longer and longer interacting with, and learning to imitate, the foibles of the man he is approximating, and in time we get to see the actor really shine.

For all of the impressive ideas put forward, and the mature, grown up approach it takes to these ideas, Marjorie Prime is a film where you feel that the message is a fascinating one but not entirely gripping. The methodical, workman like quality of it’s production don’t help it’s cause either – witness the stunning visuals of Ex Machina for a counterpoint on how to make intelligent sci-fi look involving. Watching the play with this cast would probably be utterly spellbinding, but on the screen, there’s just that slight feeling of it not being real enough. Almost a facsimile of the real thing.

Music To Remember: A Perfect Circle “Mer de Noms”

The old adage “writing about music is like dancing about architecture” might be one you’ve heard before, and in some cases it is true. Trying to describe the sound of sprawling synth sounds and awkward melodies in a new electronica record, for example, is difficult. Sometimes too difficult to make interesting. On the other hand, being able to write about something that you love, to inspire someone to listen to a record (or download, to stay relevant), is a great thing. And there are times when you can’t just pop on your headphones or blast a track out of a decent set of speakers. Sometimes, you’re just stuck with reading about music. The same can’t be said about architecture.

So, here’s a recommendation for an album, if that’s your sort of thing. As a teenage rock fan, learning to play guitar and going to gigs all the time, the debut album by A Perfect Circle was stunning. Released amid a swathe of nu metal albums, this manages to hit as hard as the Slipknot and Limp Bizkit albums from the same period, but with a strong melodic core at it’s heart. With the exception of Deftones’ “White Pony” and perhaps Incubus’ “Morning View” from that early 2000s period, it’s one of the few records that I can look back on and actually appreciate rather than be embarrassed by. Nu metal was a weird genre when you review the genre as a whole, being a strange mix of metal, rap and a smattering of any other guitar related style. Things were not good for rock music back then.

Opening the album is “The Hollow”, a fantastic rush of distorted guitar riffs, ferocious drumming and oblique lyrics. Following on from this, “Magdalena” and “Rose” continue the theme of haunting melodic ideas and beautiful wordplay over the top of a powerful backing band. Lead single “Judith” then pushes things into heavier territory – an absolute beast of a song, if you know one track by the band then it’s going to be this one. “Orestes” and “3 Libras” return to the mix of delicate songwriting and strong production (“Orestes” in particular sounds like a curious mix of shoegaze music and metal), while the run of “Sleeping Beauty”, “Thomas” and “Renholder” create a churning, almost grunge like atmosphere. Final tracks “Thinking Of You”, “Brena” and “Over” deliver a big climax of soaring lead guitar lines and cathartic vocals before drifting into the ether.

Over time, A Perfect Circle have been through numerous line up changes (owing to their being a super group of sorts) and long periods on hiatus. Being a fan of this band can be frustrating in a sense; years can go by before a new release appears, and if this doesn’t appeal to you then you’re in for another long wait. Later albums played down the otherworldly melodies and influences that make this such a beguiling listen, and there’s more of a straightforward rock band approach from them nowadays. They’re all still good, but “Mer de Noms” is a heartfelt, powerful collection of songs that hook you from the start and leads you through anger, sorrow and joy. Strangely timeless, and a welcome respite from nu metal at the same time, this is a pleasure to listen to from start to finish.

Free Fire review

Directed by Ben Wheatley, 90 minutes

Preceded by a rollicking promotional campaign of witty one liners and loud, swaggering guitar riffs, you would be forgiven for thinking that acclaimed British director Ben Wheatley was aiming (pun intended) for a big commercial hit (pun again intended) with Free Fire. After his surreal and at times terrifying A Field In England and the overwhelming onslaught of High Rise, it perhaps makes sense that a straight forward action comedy would be a good way to build on the critical adoration he’s received while also getting more exposure. But Free Fire is a difficult beast, one that’s easy to like but hard to love.

Opening with a tense arms deal, a stellar cast including Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer and perennial Wheatley regular Michael Smiley throw barbed comments and insinuations before slowly, gradually descending into screaming curses and trading bullets at each other. Featuring a small number of characters in a confined space allows the script time to flesh out each one and make them more rounded and believable than the initial archetypes you might think they are – Sam Riley’s stereotypical junkie gets a significant bit of pathos for example.

But it’s Sharlto Copley’s Vernon who steals the show, all acerbic jokes and snivelling cowardice that seems completely out of whack with the rest of the ensemble. As the movie goes on, it becomes apparent that the film makers ran with the idea of taking a single action scene and extending it, painfully so at times, into a full length feature. Improvised weapons and ricocheting bullets destroy the dilapidated warehouse that the story takes place in, and nearly everyone ends up taking several hits in the course of the film. The way the action unfolds is almost more like a multiplayer shoot ’em up than anything else, at times almost veering into slapstick due to how many injuries each person takes.

The initial premise is certainly intriguing enough, but by the halfway point you’re fully aware that this is something that takes an idea and works it nearly into the ground. There’s no big opening up of the cast or setting, instead choosing to double down on the great acting performances and the increasingly surreal nature of what’s going on. Extreme violence lurches into a grotesque kind of slapstick, and the zingy one liners definitely get a good number of laughs, and the dawning sense that this is it for ninety minutes creates a bewildering sort of atmosphere – its a great idea but is a great idea enough for such a high concept film?

Free Fire certainly leaves an impression in the mind after watching it, and a good one at that. The characters have clearly been well thought out, and the actors provide a real sense of depth to them amid the constant shooting and shouting – to the point where (heaven forbid) a prequel would really add to this film as opposed to detracting from it. There’s so much potential for the story that while it’s a great blast, you sometimes wish Ben Wheatley and company had dared to push for something more.

Darkest Hour review

Directed by Joe Wright, 125 minutes

Finding a new way to shed light on an iconic, historic part of British history is always difficult in any medium if past films and books are to go by. However, in Darkest Hour, director Joe Wright brings a laser like focus on the appointment of Winston Churchill as prime minister and the following weeks leading up to the famous events at Dunkirk. In doing so, he gives acclaimed actor Gary Oldman the role of a lifetime – equal parts bombastic and introspective, hilarious and righteous. Supported by a terrific cast, whiplash sharp production and a driving, imperious score, the film presents a fresh and genuinely gripping addition to the canon of classic World War Two movies without the need for gunfights or action scenes.

Throwing the viewer in to the imminent departure of prime minister Neville Chamberlain in May 1940, the smokey, dour halls of Westminster boom with echoing voices amid political turmoil. Political intrigue can be a tricky thing to make interesting, and scriptwriter Anthony McCarten ensures that the dialogue quickly conveys the scenario and ever changing dynamics of the government without being either too on the nose or too flowery. The encroaching sense of dread marches relentlessly onward like Panzers, and the increasingly fraught decisions Churchill makes weigh heavier and heavier as time goes on – at one point in the film, literally enclosed in darkness, left in a tiny box of light in the middle of the screen.

Kristen Scott Thomas, Lily James and Ben Mendelsohn provide the majority of the supporting work with nuanced characterisations that allow Oldman room to breathe and emote, despite being practically buried under extremely convincing make up and prosthetics. Perhaps due to the narrow spotlight the director shines on Oldman, Scott Thomas doesn’t get the chance to flesh out her portrayal of Churchill’s wife, all witty anecdotes and loving support. The cast is suprisingly small and refined, making it easy to keep up with developments and help hammer home the emotions that the characters are experiencing. Some of the scenes, including a slightly strange detour onto the London Tube, seem like condensed abbreviations of what should be longer, more drawn out dialogues – as if a scriptwriter’s device was more efficient than reality to get a point across.

Powerful piano chords and sweeping strings accompany the visuals, which manage to be vibrant and arresting even though they’re showing a battered (but not broken) Britain of concrete and brick. And as expected in such a film, the costumes and backdrops all help immerse the audience in the look, the sound and the feel of the height of the war; almost as if the cinema was a time machine. Even the handful of times that the film glimpses at what is happening outside of London contain enough grit and spectacle to remind us of the end results of the political maneuvering.

The film will be talked about for the leading actor’s powerhouse of a performance, a thunderous thing that’s brilliant to watch. And yes, it really is that good, but that’s not the only reason to see Darkest Hour; a gripping story, a deft script and a riveting production all demand your attention.

The Lost City of Z review

Directed by James Gray, 141 minutes

Released far too early to be kept in mind during the Oscars race, James Gray’s sweeping biography of Percy Fawcett and his lifelong love of the South American continent provides a powerful, touching story expertly told that would be expected to be recognised by the Academy come awards season.

Charlie Hunnam delivers what is easily one of his best performances as the British soldier and explorer Percy Fawcett, who during the early 1900s helped the Royal Geographical Society map Bolivia. Over time his reknown for his surveying work, and his military career, lead to success and fame that provide for his wife, played here by Sienna Miller, and their children. Ultimately though, his work begins to lead him away from them and into the clutches of the rainforests, where he becomes determined to unearth long lost societies and their secrets. Robert Pattinson is particularly note worthy as well, for throwing himself into the role of Fawcett’s closest friend and fellow adventurer; hidden behind a formidable beard, he brings a wiry, mercurial air to the screen.

Initially driven by a need to prove himself and reclaim his family’s honour, Fawcett makes for an intriguing protagonist, and the script shows a person who was both a product of his times (with a fierce dedication to duty) and also something of a visionary in his view of other, non colonial cultures. The film takes certain liberties with actual events, as any fictional tale will, and having read David Grann’s non fiction book that this is based on, it seems that they’ve looked more to capture the feel, the essence of what Fawcett was driven by. His later life obsession with the occult, and his previous military adventures, are briefly touched upon; at two hours and twenty minutes the film condenses a fascinating life into a captivating tale as well as could be hoped.

Fawcett’s explorations into the Amazon are interspersed with pivotal scenes of his life back home, either with his family who are increasingly drifting away from him despite their love for each other, or with his interactions with the military and the RGS. Gray makes sure to create a visual separation here, as the jungle’s lush and verdant greens are replaced with washed out beige military uniforms and dour grey rooms where equally grey men discuss the idea of exotic adventures. Christopher Spelman’s score gracefully flits between orchestral pomp and melancholic, keening melodies to match the images on display. Subtle use of percussion and pan pipes help add a flavour of the places that Fawcett frequented, and the soundtrack never overwhelms, always letting the cinematography and acting do the heavy lifting.

Ultimately those expecting intrepid jungle action and a taut, thrilling story may be better off going back to their Indiana Jones blu rays and their Tomb Raider games. The Lost City of Z takes its time to get going, and is not as intensely attentive or informative as a good, well made documentary may be (fans of the film are definitely advised to read Grann’s original book to help embelish their understanding of the subject). However, for those looking for something more existential, focused on a generally forgotten period of time where the discovery of ancient civilisations was the rock and roll of it’s day, then this film is a haunting, lyrical piece that will slowly draw you in and not let go. Much like Fawcett’s vision of the Lost City itself.

A Quiet Moment

It is 1953 at the Rue Catinat, Saigon. The street bustled with bicycles and pedestrians, swarming through the wide streets in the hot midday sun. Amid the people walking down the busy road, two men stood facing each other across the road. One stood in the middle of the pavement, his old French police uniform frayed around the edges, plainly obvious in the broad daylight. The other one wore old military fatigues that held no insignia, and his drawn European face was hidden in the shade of a leafy tree above him. He was a smuggler by trade, but business had not been good.

They stayed there for a moment, quietly sizing up how time had took it’s toll on the other. For the policeman, he couldn’t help but pity how the smuggler looked so much older now. For the smuggler, he couldn’t help but envy how the policeman still looked so young. After what could have been a minute or an hour, the policeman finally spoke.

“How are you doing? It has been quite a while, yes?”

“Yes, it has been a while. Too long perhaps, or maybe not long enough.” The man’s mouth turned slightly up at the corners, a ghost of a smile. “What do you say I buy you a cup of coffee? For old time’s sake.” With a weary sigh, the policeman answered. “Of course. Why not.”

 

They made their way inside a nearby cafe, perched on a corner where the loud automobiles rolled past. Across the road, the Hotel Continental rose before them, its large, full sized windows stacked one on top of the other. In the cafe, a young girl took their order and went about preparing their drinks in the cool shade of the building while they found chairs outside. Getting himself comfortable, the policeman carried on.

“How long has it been, then – ten years now?”

“Eleven years inside. Eleven long years… And kept on my own for two of them as well.”

“Was it as tough as they say?” The smuggler turned to look into the distance, eyes focused on something many miles and many years away. His humour seemed to desert him. “Tougher.”

“And you are looking to go back? I have chased down some of your kind in my time. Men just looking to be chased down, to be sent back. Is that you?”

The smuggler returned to the present as he answered; he had that same shade of a smile on his face again. “I’m afraid you must have chased down some very lazy men. Lazy, or incompetent. No, that’s not me – I won’t be returning, ever again.”

The policeman lit up a cigarette, watching smoke languidly drift upwards as he did. “I chased all kinds,” he responded. “Some thought they were not lazy, or incompetent. And still they ended up the same.”

“Do you see me looking for a skiff to hire, or for guns to sell?” The policeman offered him a cigarette, replying “I do not.” The smuggler accepted, and leaned over to light it. “Exactly. I’m not going back.”

“Then take my advice to you, for old time’s sake. Do not take a job again.”

The smuggler took a deep breath and let the smoke exhale. “I will do what I do best – I take jobs. You will do what you do best – try to stop people like me who take jobs.” The young girl reappeared with their order, and they took a brief pause while she set their drinks down. There was a time when the smuggler would have looked to make a comment to her, to make her smile or laugh, but the years had taken such lightness out of him. Instead, he merely watched her with a longing for his youth. The policeman pulled him back to their conversation as he stirred his coffee.

“So, you never cared for a regular life, no?”

“No, never did. Not for lack of trying though; not for the many wives and girlfriends. How is the regular life for you?”

“It is not what I expected. Not for the best. I have a daughter who hardly knows me, I spend so much time working. My wife, she is used to it now. It is like we are passing by each other, slowly but surely. And all because I have spent my time chasing down men like you. For me, that is the regular life.”

The smuggler took a long, hard drag on his cigarette, savouring it. It felt good to him, to have a smoke offered to him with a quiet conversation. It had been a long time since such a thing. “I had some good advice while I was away, something I wouldn’t forget. I was told, don’t become attached to anything that you can’t walk away from as soon as there’s trouble. If you can’t walk away, then you are lost.” He turned to the policeman and said “If you are chasing a man like me, and have to make your move, how can you expect to keep living your regular life?”

“That is good advice…”

“Easy to hear, but difficult to follow. Don’t get me wrong, I know. I have a woman too.”

“So what is it that you tell her?”

“I lie to her. That I travel with work.”

“And when you have to leave? When you are being chased? No last minute goodbye, no change of heart?”

“That’s the rule.”

“Then you are a tougher man than me, my friend. A much tougher man.”

The smuggler sipped his coffee, easing back in his chair and looking up to the sun. “Well, that’s the way it is. It’s either that, or I should find a new line of work. The same for you.”

The policeman shrugged. “I do not know how to do anything else.” The smuggler’s eyes turned downwards. “And neither do I,” he added. “I don’t want to either.” The silence between them was filled with the sounds of other customers nearby, enjoying the day. A shrug from the policeman, both an agreement and an argument. “Me as well. It always seems that there is time when you are young, time to do everything. In the end, though, we do not have enough time.”

“Only enough time to do what we can, not what we want.”

“That is true.”

 

As they sat watching the people go by, a boy chased a football. Only six or seven, his battered shoes pounded the floor as he raced past. The policeman thought of his daughter, much older than this boy, but still a child. He murmured almost to himself “So young and with so much potential. With the right interests, with the right help, that child could go on to do great things. A doctor, a teacher, a policeman. So many possibilities.”

The smuggler finished his coffee quickly, ignoring the boy. He held his hand up to shade his eyes from the glare of the sun, and stood up. The policeman did the same.

“On the other hand, all it would take would be a few bad decisions, a bad run of luck, and he could be something worse. A liar, a thief, a smuggler.” They both paused, aware of what he meant, then the policeman answered.

“You do realise, don’t you, that we are sitting here enjoying this coffee like old friends… You will do what you do, and I will do what I will. If I have to give chase and catch you again, I won’t like it. Even so, I won’t slow down, I won’t stop.”

“I understand. But still, there’s another side to that argument. If I’m in a corner, and there’s no way out except through you, I won’t stop for you.”

“Of course, there is the chance that we may never see each other again.”

The smuggler paused, smiling. “Hmm, who knows?” And with that, they went their separate ways.

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