5 December 2010 | aharmas
Tense and Entertaining, The Way They Used to Be...
Russell Crowe is a pretty reliable star, one who commands the screen with intelligence and enough bravado to get away with a film like this. Somehow, audiences and critics are getting more demanding and expect brainier and tighter story lines, but it's still plenty of fun to see a light, crazy ride like this... One where the hero is besieged by unfortunate circumstances and must one way or another succeed or die. With the help of Haggis' strong direction and a very good performance by Crow, we're treated to two hours of action, where one doesn't have to do a lot of thinking, just watching Crowe dodge bullet after bullet and cheer him along to the nail-biting end.
The main reason the film works is Crowe gives it his best, scene after scene his eyes tells us his character is committed to his family, and he will stand by them no matter what. There is very little background given to us, except for an opening scene which serves the purpose of planting the seed of doubt in our minds, but this only helps fuel the sense of despair and sadness that threatens to destroy this family.
Little by little, we follow Crowe's teacher, as he races against the clock to help his wife, and soon enough, he is dealing with the scum of society and an increasingly suspicious police force. Relationships with his family are tense at best, and any new relationships are threatened his wife's past. It's the attention to this intimate and personal moments that makes us care for him, even when he makes a couple of disturbing moves.
One thing you won't be is bored, as the circle tightens, so that his quest might not get his desired results. Fine work is done by a cast that includes Brian Dennehy, Liam Nelson, and Jsson Beghe. This is what movies are made for.