What it lacks in Katie Holmes’ breasts, The Gift makes up for in tense thrills…
The Gift contains a typically fine performance from Rebecca Hall but it is the cat and mouse game between Jason Bateman and Joel Edgerton that rightly takes first billing. Edgerton wrote and directed The Gift as well as starring and he gives an excellent performance in what is obviously a passion project for him. If you watch Edgerton’s confident turn in another 2015 success Black Mass compared to his more socially awkward character here, you will see the amount of range that he possesses and the flexibility of his acting skill.
Grim faces all round as Ryan Reynolds keeps his top on throughout…
I don’t normally do a proper synopsis but I think it is important here for context. The Captive centres around the tragic kidnapping of a little girl who then becomes a kind of poster girl for other child abusers. Child abuse is probably the most emotive and controversial subject matter there is and The Captive does a great job in keeping its emotions in check without resorting to sensationalism (Prisoners) or just down right cynical exploitation (Hard Candy).
Subject matter aside, The Captive is a frustrating film. Running out of chronological order renders the first half an hour utterly baffling and doesn’t add a great deal to the story. A couple of well placed flash backs could have done the same job. The plot in itself is captivating but some of the character behaviours are laughably unrealistic. Ryan Reynolds has kind of gone off track since Green Lantern and if that was his Daredevil, it is safe to say The Captive will not be his Argo. That is not to say that he isn’t very strong though. This will surprise casual Reynolds fans but this isn’t actually a great departure from a lot of his other work. In between making terrible, career ruining choices about big projects, Reynolds has a few quirky abnormality’s on his CV and this is an interesting addition. Elsewhere Rosario Dawson is understated and very effective but Scott Speedman stinks the place out with a robotic turn as a cliché tough guy cop. A lot to like but The Captive feels like a missed opportunity.
Men speak. Drive in cars.
When you make the decision to cast Dane Cook and Demi Moore as your supporting cast you are essentially killing the film before it gets started. Dane Cook constantly looks like he is trying to waft a wasp away from his face and Moore is as terrible as ever. There must be some kind of plot going on here but it is difficult to know exactly what it is. One definite thing is that Kevin Costner is a serial killer because his imaginary friend makes him do it. Original. The only vaguely new thing about Mr. Brooks is that Costner’s daughter also becomes a serial killer. The fact that this plot point is almost immediately abandoned renders this pretty redundant however. Just a nothing film.
First half – real and interesting movie about Jeff Bridges playing a cat and mouse game with his neighbour (Tim Robbins). Second half – nonsense terrible movie about Jeff Bridges running around shouting.
Before watching this film I researched the director and writer to see what else they had done. The name of director Mark Pellington sounded eerily familiar… So I checked his IMDB page and sure enough there it was, bold as brass, THE FUCKING MOTHMAN PROPHECIES! I assumed whoever directed the second worst film ever made (second only to A Good Day To Die Hard) would have done it under a pseudonym or as a tax write off or something but no, someone actually made that movie for reals (shudder).
After learning this, it was with some trepidation that I sat down to watch Arlington Road. I was pleasantly surprised by the first half as Bridges and Robbins play nicely off each other as you would expect from seasoned pros and the plot was actually interesting and intelligible too. But then… Pellington’s Mothman head kicked in and sure enough we have an hour of people talking into phones, running aimlessly through streets and going from looking bored to confused to angry before finishing with an ending that nobody cares about or understands. This man should not be allowed to make movies. I’m going for a long cry in the shower.