I am disappointed. It started so well, a really horny scene, fabulous music, great nightclub. Then, it just became dull. Mr Phoenix mumbles his way through, black sheep, becomes unlikely, unwanted police helper. Such a good cast, but, i thought the writing weak. Nope.
A middle of the road, thoroughly cliched film, with some decent action sequences but little originality. Phoenix and Eva Mendes in particular are utterly wasted on bland characters facing off against Russian mobster stereotypes in heavy coats. Very predictable and constantly explaining its plot to the audience, this is a weak film that would likely be forgotten were it not made by the director of 'The Immigrant'.
Also für Mubi-Verhältnisse ist das wirklich leichte Kost gewesen. Aber das muss nicht schlecht sein. Unterm Strich war die erste Hälfte wirklich spannend (4.5/5), das dritte Viertel ganz okay (3/5) und das letzte Viertel - bzw. das Ende - ziemlich lächerlich (2/5). Ergibt schlussendlich - Pi mal Daumen - 3/5.
The film starts off pretty intense and well made, but ends in the normal us-american law and order narrative which is pretty lame. From the middle onwards everything is laid out clearly and serves all the stereotypes Hollywood has to offer in a black and white good/evil, police, family drama. Not worth watching.
Much better than I had anticipated - but then Robert Duvall never disappoints. There have been better movies of a similar ilk - The Departed, Donnie Brasco, Black Mass, Goodfellas - but why is it that in so many American films the concept of tragedy loses out to that Hollywood staple - melodrama? Someone explain to American directors - they are (very) different things.
Has a fine cast, and some wonderful set pieces (the best car chase I can remember) but what could have been a great film is continually let down by clunky and dialogue. I would normally post zero stars for any film which ends with the lines (spoiler alert) I love you Bobby, I love you too Cletus. WTF? Was that the price James Gray had to pay for getting his film released? If so I would argue it wasn't worth it.
Meh idea, great execution. I like when Harmony K said, "Why would I make a movie about someone trapped in a fuckn prison?" and this is like, "Why should I care about some guy becoming a cop?" Love Mendes but the way she's photographed is The Absolute (Self-Aware??) Male Gaze. The Issue is Phoenix kicks into wizened mode like Act 1 Scene 4, so his transformation lacks juice. Lots to love but parts > sum for sure.
Another great piece by Gray. Like The immigrant, this one too has nothing new to say; but the elegance of the mise-en-scène, the precision of framing and rythm, the gravitas of characters and dialogue–his direction is so solid, so charming, that he could sell the same old story over and over and get away with it. Wonder what he could do with a less predictable screenplay–but maybe that's not what he's interested in.
This one is seductive; it's very tempting to overlook its recurrent defaulting to rote convention. The aim is so clearly to forge the archetypal, mythological, and lyrical from the familiar, and some set-piece sequences do attain that; then, well-textured atmosphere, mood, and tone achieve gravitas. But elsewhere, the bedeviling details persist; the narrative movement is often pointlessly busy and cop-show stale.
Gray's screenplay beautifully handles its dramatic turning points, adding more conflict to the emotional fray. It's also tense occasionally, with some great action scenes, and one of the best car chases in years held in his gritty and raw style that echoes 70s crime-thriller master filmmakers, despite its underwhelming and rushed falling action. Great final shot, as always with Gray, echoing his themes of obligation.