Carter ★★★★

A man wakes up with no memory. Hundreds of people want to kill him. He goes on the run, and in the process, kills about about entire country's population.

And it's all shot in one long fake take.


What is the value of a fake long take?

A filmmaker can use a long take to show off, draw attention to themselves or utilize it as an element of suspense. Or, and this is rarely the case, it's in the service of limiting storytelling opportunities, which in turn, demands the filmmaker to constantly have to think themselves out of a box.

By choosing the long take style of filmmaking, Writer/Director Jun Byung-gil (THE VILAINESS) forces himself to find the most dynamic way to present an action scene within a linear visual framework - and even though the transitions in the films are very obvious: Sped up, morphs or just blatant jump cut, they're still within the confines of the 'one take' (there's no time jumping like in HARDCORE HENRY), which means they have to be wildly visually inventive to keep the flow going. The recent Scott Adkins film ONE SHOT pulled it off it by being evenly paced, and very clever with its cuts, while CARTER goes "Fuck it!" and crashes through every window. It's a real love, hate, or be impressed by what they're doing and not liking it very much, experience.

I don't think it entirely works. The nature of the CARTER's breathless filmmaking creates a numbing effect, and robs the film of any suspense because it's so hectic, BUT I still find it awe-inspiring because Jun Byung-Gil goes for absolute broke. He overstuffs the running time with enough climaxes for six movies: There's a gunfight between a bunch of cars, a brawl on the back of a truck, and the hilarious final fight that jumps between a train and duelling helicopters. None of it is believable, but I don't think that's the point. It's like an action fans fever dream somehow realized on-screen - and that's where its beauty lies. This isn't for mass consumption, but for the truly demented that demand more... More... MORE!

If the choices are the competent $200 million dollar theatrics of the dull THE GREY MAN or the gonzo anything-goes CARTER, I will chose the later any day of the week.