Its not ground breaking and its not reinventing any genre. Its not rammed full of political messages to the point where you feel like you're sitting through a polemic sermon. What it IS is a very well written, structured and put together adult thriller, with enough meat and smarts behind it to make it wholly satisfying.
From its superb opening - we follow four members of a gang prepping for a heist, intercut with the job itself going wrong (wonderfully shot from inside the getaway van), leading to a fiery denouement - you know we're in the firm grip of McQueen, his reassured and steady hand all over every seemingly random character introduction, every seemingly innocuous line.
And being McQueen, of course the political messages are there, but they feel organic and real - from the political, racial, class and gender issues all raised, yet shown as either part of the plot or to highlight key character beats, they only serve to add a huge amount of flavour to the plot, rather than derail it. Every character has their own arc, no matter how small that acts as the motivation for their actions. So when the action beats finally fall into place, we know not just who and how but the why. And its glorious.
In fact, that structure meant that the actual heist element doesn't really get underway until the second half of the film and even then, its not some convoluted Ocean's-esque, tricksy con-is-on type affair: its a realistic, brutal and sharp setpiece, given pathos and emotion by all that has led up to it.
To say I wasn't really interested in the film is an understatement. I really wasn't. But to then say I loved it is an even bigger one - this was a proper, grown up thriller that used smarts and issues to bolster a basic thriller narrative. For those that expected more from McQueen, something more 'weighty' than an action film based off a Lynda La Plante miniseries, I say his very grown up and very NOW retooling of such a traditional cinematic genre is none more weighty - to get so many relevant issues into an action pic, a mainstream studio action picture at that, and still have it work as an excellent action pic at that is the damn Lord's work!!!!
The UHD transfer reminded me of a very good BD transfer - its never quite as sharp or as rich as the best UHD transfers, and the sound is never quite as immersive or as deep and realistic as the best object based soundtracks. It does nothing wrong at all, it just has no real outstanding moments. Its solid from front to back in every department. Note that I'm watching on a 1080p projector so maybe with the benefit of extra resolution and WCG/HDR it will look better...…..
Summary - look, its proving very divisive on these here forums, so make up your own mind and just go and watch the damn thing...…….