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Wrath of Man
Review by Rich Cline |
dir Guy Ritchie
scr Guy Ritchie, Ivan Atkinson, Marn Davies
prd Guy Ritchie, Ivan Atkinson, Bill Block
with Jason Statham, Holt McCallany, Scott Eastwood, Jeffrey Donovan, Josh Hartnett, Eddie Marsan, Andy Garcia, Niamh Algar, Laz Alonso, Raul Castillo, Deobia Oparei, Rob Delaney
release US 7.May.21,
21/UK MGM 1h59
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The 2004 French thriller Le Convoyeur is remade with a gritty edge by Guy Ritchie, who quickly makes it clear that there's more to the plot than meets the eye. The juddering timeline is tricky to hold onto, while bleak revelations lead to seriously grim situations hyper-charged with greed, mistrust and vengeance. The film may feel a half-hour too long, but it's beefy enough to hold the interest.
With increasing robberies of armoured trucks in Los Angeles, H (Statham) is hired by a cash-moving company boss (Marsan) as a tough guy driver who can protect himself, shown the ropes by Bullet (McCallany) and teamed with Dave (Hartnett). His quick, lethal response during a heist makes him a legend among both the drivers and the robbers. And Bullet and Dave begin to wonder who he really is. Indeed, he has a very personal reason for wanting this job, and his mission is taking him on a collision course with trigger-happy thug Jan (Eastwood).
A man of few words, H quickly ruffles feathers and reveals the posturing machismo around him as little more than false bravado. The film cycles back to track two teams of criminals with distinct motivations and objectives in set-pieces that take place in generic warehouses. These men strut around like shifty sociopaths, delivering dry punchlines with a whispery snarl, bristling with misogyny as they discuss women like closeted teenagers. Indeed, there's only one female driver (Algar) and a couple of marginal wives on-screen.
Statham tightens his stone-faced charm even more than usual to play this confident, skilled man whose past is more than a little shady. Even in the midst of an outrageous gun battle, he is utterly unflappable. But his stony expression can't quite mask a churning storm of emotions inside. The characters around him have key roles in the story, but are never defined with any real complexity, and the gifted actors never attempt to steal any scenes from Statham. Even so, they feel like vivid, real people who are up to their own stuff.
The narrative twists itself through several shifty plot threads, circling around back on itself to revisit a key event from different perspectives. And new details propel things inexorably forward. Ritchie's direction is robust and intense, much darker than his usual snarky approach, with some genuinely nightmarish sequences and considerable gratuitous death. All of which tightens the film's vice-grip as its central storyline approaches a climax that feels like all-out war.
R E A D E R R E V I E W SStill waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.
© 2021 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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