An action-packed chase movie, very much a la mode of Bourne Ultimatum, with Saoirse Ronan and Cate Blanchett in the Matt Damon and Joan Allen roles, respectively. The pseudo sci-fi premise, too, is similar – oh, those CIA experiments gone awry! – and the endings equally inconclusive, leaving patrons in the men’s room speculating about a sequel. The exotic locales are equally dramatic, with our heroine here moving effortlessly from the Arctic Circle to Morocco to Germany. But what makes this movie so engaging is the presence and physical appeal of Ronan. She’s not a pinup beauty, but is easy on the eyes, much the way Mireille Enos is in Killing Game or Helen Mirren was in Prime Suspect – as opposed to, say, Penelope Cruz in Havana or Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich. She’s believable, which is essential in a movie that would otherwise strain credulity. The only obvious slip-up: after an upbringing in the wilderness, Hanna has no problem escaping from a super-mechanized detention facility but then is confounded by electric light switches in an Arab house.
The very height of Romantic melodrama, portrayed flawlessly by Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. Cary Fukunaga’s mise-en-scene borrows liberally from Vermeer and De la Tour, matching the spareness and directness of the love story: one girl, one man – and oh, a crazy lady up in the attic. Nobody does Masterpiece Classics like the British, and this is a worthy addition to the pantheon. Why is this, then, not a 10? For all its perfection, this is a small story, a girl’s story – wonderful, but not very large or, for me, terribly engaging.
A thoroughly genial chase film about a foul-mouthed alien, a sort-of bastard child ofE.T. and Borat. All the acting, or should I say mugging, was pitch-perfect, not only by the refreshingly unfamiliar British leads, but also by the reliable American supporting cast, such as Kristin Wiig, Bill Hader and Justin Bateman. This was not a movie you’d go out of your way to see (and in fact, the 6:40 showing at Metro 4 was actually empty), but neither was it a film you had any regrets about spending 1:40 with in the afternoon.
There were enough clues that hung together well enough to keep the mind engaged, and the movie’s subtext – how the justice system is often corrupt and inefficient – is one I could certainly live with. In the end, though, how much more was here than in a good Law and Order episode? Much depended on the star power of Matthew McConaughey, and although I don’t dislike him the way many others apparently do, he remains a minor star at best. In short, this was fun but disposable airplane fare, like the novel it was derived from
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