It was cheaper for me to buy this movie than it was to rent it, so I now own it. Fortunately, I really loved it. It is a masterclass in creating insanity on screen:
- Explain nothing
- Don’t set yourself any rules
- Hire Nic Cage
Explain nothing – this film raises so many more questions than it answers. Just so, so many. It doesn’t even bother trying to answer them. They are not there to be answered. And you quickly understand that, in this world, the inexplicable happens and you don’t need to understand the why or how.
Don’t set yourself any rules – basically, dialogue, motivations and context are your enemy. The more information you give, about ANYTHING, the higher the likelihood you’ll have to roll back on that later. So, don’t bother. Is Red a recovering addict? Probably. Does it matter? No. Do we need to be told? No.
Hire Nic Cage – in all honesty, we do flirt with self-parody here. I mean, at this point, it is somewhat inevitable. But this is perfect Cage doing Cage. It’s like the cinematic opposite of Orlando Bloom’s casting in Kingdom of Heaven.
This part contains spoilers.
Here is just one of the things I really loved about this.
In most revenge movies, the anti-hero (revenge is never heroic, right?) has a real attritional battle. This tends to escalate as he (almost always a he) works his way up the “food chain”. This often reaches peak with the “number 2”, the lead henchman, usually the inflicter of motivation, the one with actual blood on his hands. After this confrontation, the anti-hero will reach “the boss” half-dead but usually the boss is a bit of pen-pusher so it doesn’t take much to see him off.
This is nothing like that. He simply starts where he can and despite a few mishaps and some fairly serious injury, he goes through ALL of them “like a fat kid through cake”. And, honestly, not even with a great deal of style. Just a relentless, brutal efficiency.