And so, I present to you my first film review. Keep in mind, I know nothing about the technical aspects of film making (which is why I didn’t like the Master I suspect), I’m just a fan of movies of all kinds.
Now, I’m not going to bury the lead here. I loved this movie. I loved this movie before I ever sat down in the theatre. I saw a cardboard stand up ad while walking through my local Cineplex. Images of Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, and Colin Farrell went through my pupils, down my ocular nerve, and hit my brain and stimulated my pleasure center. Like a robot who had suddenly discovered the ability to love, I shouted “I want to see that movie so much!!!”
The wife and I went to a free screening last night put on by Vice magazine. We’re real movers and shakers, the wife and I. By which I mean, I sign up for contests for the free screenings put on by the marketing departments of movie studios in which people who read film and entertainment blogs can see this movie for free and take to the Twitterverse (or their blogs as the case may be) to rave about the movie if they like it and hopefully keep their mouths shut if they don’t.
So what’s this movie about? Well, there’s a ton of surprises that I don’t want to give away so here’s the base level plot. Colin Farrell is an alcoholic screenwriter. Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken are business partners. What business you ask? Well Mr. Nosey, it’s the dog kidnapping business if you must know. They take dogs from people when they aren’t looking and return them a few days later to collect a reward. Seems like a pretty good racket right?
Well one day, they steal the wrong dog. They steal the dog of a mafia crime boss played by Woody Harrelson. You know he’s a bad dude because he’s got a scorpion tattooed on the side of his neck. He has a soft side underneath his gruff and violent exterior. He loves his little Shitzu more than anything and he’ll stop at nothing to get her back. This kidnapping sets off a whole chain of events and things get way out of hand. You and me, we’re just along for the ride.
So that’s the story, but what is this movie about? Truthfully, it’s about friendship. It’s about best friends who just want to see each other succeed and will push each other to the limit to get there. That’s really the long and short of it and it’s incredibly effective. We spend the whole movie thinking that Sam Rockwell’s character is a complete wackjob. We’re not wrong either. He’s definitely an eccentric to say the least. But through it all, he knows what he’s doing and his motivation is actually pretty pure for a con-man. He’s doing it all for Colin Farrell.
This movie has whip smart dialogue and it never really drags. It takes twists and turns, some of which you could predict, but there’s still a ton of surprises. It’s a powerhouse cast and everyone turns in really great performances. Some might call Sam Rockwell a bit cartoonish, but it works for me and it ultimately works for the character. Christopher Walken is Christopher Walken and he’s never going to play any character in any other way. But who cares!? We love him anyway. Woody Harrelson and Colin Farell are great as always. The big surprise award goes to Tom Waits, who plays a small, but integral role that I don’t want to give away here and turns in a great performance as well.
As we were leaving the theatre, some mustachioed hipster behind us said something to the effect of “I guess this guy never heard of Quentin Tarantino”. It’s true, this movie smacks of Tarantino in the dialogue and the style and the extreme violence, but it doesn’t feel stolen. It feels like an homage of the highest order. You know what they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
In summation, you could find a lot worse ways to spend 2 hours this weekend. You could be some sort of murderer or maybe you write “White Power” pamphlets. If I may be so bold, maybe you should take a break from such abhorrent behaviors and go see this movie instead.