Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Wanted To Go To The Cinema...

Oh my god, I finally went to the cinema again! It's been weeks since I last watched a film, cinema or no (I've had A Woman Under the Influence on rental for two and a half MONTHS now. Tell me that isn't ridiculous. And, yes, I'm sure it's great, but it sounds like a downer and it's so long and it's Wimbledon fortnight now and... ugh. Excuses abound. I'll watch it eventually.).

Wanted is the kind of film I shouldn't like, really. Comparisons have been made- they're obviously there- with The Matrix, and I hate that film, so it's almost like I'm being hypocritical here. But James McAvoy is no Keanu Reeves, Angelina Jolie is no Carrie-Anne Moss and Morgan Freeman is no Laurence Fishburne (well, it doesn't entirely work like that, but...). Basically, Wanted is frisky, fun and genuinely exciting, and, unlike The Matrix, it almost seems to see its central "philosophy" as a joke. It's certainly much more an interior philosophy than the Wachowskis, by which I mean that it is the characters' choice to believe it, as opposed to being the foundation of a universe. In simpler terms, The Matrix had its head up its arse, and Wanted doesn't.

A film like this lives and dies by its casting. If I don't like the performers, I'm not going to like the characters because what character there is boils down to a couple of talky scenes (and a fair amount of McAvoy voice-over, which for some reason doesn't quite work). But do you really need to know the background of Angelina Jolie's foxy assassin Fox (huh)- which we get in a sombre little interlude- when we see her lying backwards on and firing bullets from the bonnet of a sports car that McAvoy is driving from the passenger seat, or listening to McAvoy's girlfriend whine at him and deciding to help him out (in the nicest way possible)? Wanted is low on character but it applies it in the right places, building to a finale that pales only because it's been preceded by a stunning set-piece involving a high-speed train and a bridge. Director Timur Bekmambetov has honed the high-voltage visual techniques that fell flat in the Russian blockbuster Night Watch and cleverly uses them to increase identification with McAvoy's Wesley Gibson. McAvoy's charisma remains intact in the new Hollywood environment and Jolie is on sizzling form too, taking a blockbuster-break between projects that are cementing her status as a respected performer. I could have lived without repeatedly being told what average losers we all are, but the only lies Wanted is telling its audience is that a bullet trajectory can be curved. B

1 comment:

Colin said...

... the only lies Wanted is telling its audience is that a bullet trajectory can be curved.

Geeky nitpick: a bullet trajectory can be curved... just not horizontally. ;)