Script: James Gray
Cast: Alex Veadov, Danny Hoch, Eva Mendes, Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Robert Duvall
Setting: 1980s, New York
Rated : 5 Stars
Bobby is a night club manager. It is the 1980’s, New York. Life is good. Until the day his brother comes calling. Bobby’s brother, Joe, you see, is a cop. A drugs cop and he arrives in full on SWAT-mode at the club. This is not a way to ensure peaceful family get togethers. Especially considering that we already know there is tension in the family. You can just guess at the resulting tensions. But then the Russian bad-guys organise a hit on Joe. Bobby is stung into action and swears revenge. In this life or the next.
You know, I’ve put with a lot for Joaquin. Ladder 40 springs to mind. That was some film to sit through But this… *sigh* it is just dull dull dull.
Which is a pity as it could have been great. Look at those actors. Phoenix can act. Wahlberg and Duvall can do a hell of a lot better than the roles they were given in this film. And Mendes, well, all she had to do was look pretty and sometimes vaguely worried. Talk about your lack of female characters Then again you could say talk about your lack of actual characters.
Even worse than a dull film, though, is one where you can see glimpses of what could have been. Potential it failed to live up to. Although I have to say that it looks great. The black and white stills were a great opening. I loved the murk and gloom of the car chase. Visually it works. But that is just one aspect of a film. I think the main problem is with the script. It is full of clichés and is so very predicable, which of course means that it is very hard to build up any tension. I’m also not sure what the director wanted of the audience. I’m not looking for a director to tell me exactly how to feel, but you like to have a hint at what is going on.
And yet despite that I think I’m a little fond of this film. It is boring and far too easy to sit back and watch rather than engage in. But it also has a great feel. Plus, you know, it Joaquin Phoenix, which is never a bad thing.