I Saw A Film!

An attempt at a slick modern noir starring a sloppy Gary Oldman as a cop playing the mafia, headed by Roy Scheider, and a dangerous hit-woman, off each other for a pile of cash, while crashing cars, doing WWE wrestling moves, and getting toes chopped off, winds up goofy, but fairly entertaining. There’s a comic book feel that is both disastrous but also compelling enough to keep you engaged. On the plus side is Oldman’s portrayal of a protagonist few of us would likely side with. On the con side are the silly and exaggeratedly psychopathic portrayals of his counterparts.

At one point in the tale Oldman’s cop winds up shooting his adorable mistress (Juliet Lewis) to death, not by accident, but because she was painstakingly arranged in a darkened warehouse where she would be mistaken for the target of his efforts. These sorts of over-the-top arrangements are common in comic book drama but require so many nuts and bolts to come together (not the least of which is kidnapping and arranging a human being like a tethered animal, not that easy to do really), lights, shadows, sounds, and the exact footing of the path leading to the action, all arranged by a killer on-the-run, just to add some torment to his day! Busy to say the least. I mean, it’s Batman’s Joker level horror scenario.

Lena Olin plays the nemesis here, on the one hand handily assisting in getting the mob off his back, on the other, however, playing him as her own patsy and using him for her own ends. Still both players take risks! And some of the scenes just look like crap. In one grave digging sequence Olin’s badgirl is shown rather lackadaisically relaxing while Oldman was meant to be working at her gun point. Missed details like this end up being confusing to the overall motivations of the story. The sequences with his wife jokingly pointing a handgun at him are meant to make us understand his sense of overwhelming peril at every turn, but who would tolerate that from a loved one even as a joke?

While the film has some exciting and spooky elements, overall it fails in its mission to supply a modern film noir. It’s not very sensible. Though it’s basically a follow the money tale, the it cooks up into a meal no one ordered, and even Oldman can’t really rescue it.

running free on Prime USA.

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