Directed By: Danny Boyle
Written By: Joe Ahearne, John Hodge
Starring: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel, Danny Sapani
R 1 h 41 min – Crime | Drama | Mystery
Simon (McAvoy) is an entry level art auctioneer. He gets mixed up with some pretty shifty criminals and as an inside man steels a painting. Prior to his gig at the art house Simon was an addicted gambler and racks up some hefty debt with the wrong people. He gets assistance from a club owner named Franck (Cassel) who clears his debt in exchange for stealing the painting. Things go wrong when the team opens the bag and discover the painting wasn’t there and Simon has no idea where it went. After some good ol’ fashion torture they decide to consult a hypo-therapist Elizabeth (Dawson) to get Simon to remember where it went.
The plot twists and turns faster than anything at Six Flags and keeps you guessing till the very end. The characters are in a high stakes game of cat and mouse that’s purely subjective, leaving you in as much mystery as them. McAvoy really brings the heat in this one; his character is weak and borderline hopeless, which created even more suspense for the audience as he fumbles through the shit show he’s created. You pity him, but simultaneously wish you knew just what the hell was going on because he seemingly invites the black cloud above his head that just won’t let up. Danny Boyle killed it behind the camera. He brings his stylish loud and mystifying cinematography hard in this one which keeps the cinematics of it on the same level of complexity as the plot. The acting is pretty respectable though at times I felt something was missing from a few of them (Dawson specifically). We’ve all seen Cassel in rolls like this, so that’s nothing new. I wish that he had designed a more rounded character with more motive than what was presented. My rating stems from the fact that though I love a puzzling plot at times it was too thick to enjoy, and then it would route me back to the linear storytelling and I would regain interest.
I knew going in that the subjectivity of the film would be pretty dominant, but even for dream/hypnotic environments it felt a little too hazy to follow. The ending wrapped it up nicely and definitely sparked some investigation of what happened 30 minutes prior. Overall it was a good time and I loved the premise, and I always relish Danny Boyle’s snap and pop directing. If you’re lost at the Redbox, give it a shot!