The characters are stock and the director/writers seem to think they're giving depth to characters that are as thin as photography paper. There are no relationships in the movie that are not clichés. The emotional manipulativeness is laughable, especially when the violin music comes in. Oh. Am I supposed to care for them? Who, exactly? There are no people, really. We haven't been shown anything about them, except for mama rehab, and even that's a cliché, which is a waste of an excellent dramatic actress (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) I first saw in Mike Leigh's Secrets & Lies and has never been less than perfect. Even here. But wasted. Idris Alba. He's way too good to be used as a cardboard cutout. So is Michael Ealy.
We're supposed to like these criminals because they're successful criminals. That they live by taking from others... well, there's a nod in that direction but only a nod. And we can't tell what the creators intend us to feel about that. Maybe they're nodding off. I know I nodded off while watching this malarkey. They intend us to like them because they know how to invest their money wisely, sort of like how Michael Cimino wanted us to like the working men in the first half hour (a half-hour!) of The Deer Hunter. (They're real people, these workers!)(No kidding. Yeah, I've worked blue collar. A three minuted shot would have said the same thing). But the good bad guys can't resist the temptation to do another job. That's the McGuffin.
Then there's the even bigger flaw: the cinematography. Shooting documentary style has worked. It has also failed. Here it fails big time. The supposedly exciting scenes are rendered into bland pastiches that are sometimes confusing. What they really needed is some crane work, some Steadicam work, something that acknowledged they were shooting a narrative. Just one shot like the camera moving around the chauffeur trapped without knowing it in the underground garage in Die Hard would have done wonders. Don't you know you're shooting a STORY? I asked the screen. The screen continued to treat me like an idiot. Then I nodded off again. During the "exciting part."
The film IS a narrative. But it's shot as if it's not. Catching every breathless moment with a shaky camera is only drama if something is invested in it. The last time it really worked was The French Connection.
Action / Crime / Thriller
Action / Crime / Thriller
A seasoned team of bank robbers, including Gordon Jennings (Idris Elba), John Rahway (Paul Walker), A.J. (Hayden Christensen), and brothers Jake (Michael Ealy) and Jesse (Chris Brown) Attica successfully complete their latest heist and lead a life of luxury while planning their next job. When Ghost (Tip T.I. Harris), a former member of their team, is released from prison he convinces the group to strike an armored car carrying $20 million. As the "takers" carefully plot their strategy and draw nearer to exacting the grand heist, a reckless police officer (Matt Dillon) inches closer to apprehending the criminals.
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May 14, 2012 at 09:06 AM