Wrath of Man

Wrath of Man ★★½

Guy Ritchie's The Gentlemen was not a film I enjoyed (despite how good Colin Farrell is in it) & when I heard Ritchie was teaming back up with Jason Statham I was really excited & while this film is better than The Gentlemen, it's also not really great either.

For it's first hour Wrath of Man (which, much like the film itself, is a title that sounds more overwrought than "cool") plays almost like a parody of a Guy Ritchie film. The dialogue is quite bad & the film is much more somber than you think it's going to be.

Then in the second hour the film becomes an entirely different movie starring the always solid Jeffrey Donovan (prompting my mother-in-law to say, "Wait, is this the same movie?!" lol), before jumping back to Statham & a big heist/shoot em' up finale. This second half is much better than the first as things start gelling together better, but Ritchie just can't help himself from overstuffing the narrative with flash-backwards/flash-sideways & more bad "tough guy" dialogue.

Now I enjoy a heist/shoot em' up maybe more than the next guy & while it was entertaining in the moment I'm glad I had the night to sleep on it because while that section of the film is enjoyable in a lizard-brain-kind of way, Ritchie undercuts himself at some key points that ultimately make the film feel incredibly hollow.

The main one being, that the film is largely joyless. Jason Statham is one of the best at doing the "stoic-strong man" type, but his character is kind of a nothing here. His son was killed yes, but, because of the screenplays New York card trick-plotting, we're not given enough time or information about who he is as a person (other than "bad man scary!") to empathize, or even get a handle on his character. Other than "son killed = bad".

Also, this is a very morose film, there's extended sequences of Statham's goons torturing & murdering people & that's on top of already struggling to empathize with the character.

There's some bright spots though. JOSH HARTNETT IS BACK BABY!!! It was a real treat getting to see Hartnett playing was is essentially the Bill Paxton role from Aliens. He's a lot of fun. Then there's Niamh Algar, from HBO's weirdly great or greatly weird, Raised by Wolves. She adds a little something to her role that's not really a role. Ritchie has never been able to write or understand women & he doesn't even attempt to here as her character is there to be fucked & then immediately threatened at gunpoint.

Honestly, I'm a little tried of talking about this movie. I haven't even gotten into the always wooden Scott Eastwood. Hollywood, please stop trying to make Scott Eastwood happen (who am I kidding, he'll be rammed down our throats & work with a ton of famous directors and get a million chances to be good because his dad was Hollywood royalty... sigh)! When I started writing this I had it at 3stars. Mainly for the bang-bang of it's third act, but now I think it's a 2 & 1/2 star film. The more I think about it's characters, Ritchie's script & his direction the more I don't like it.

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