Harrison Ford gives as dignified a performance as he has managed in many years. And the cinematography (by veteran Janusz Kaminski) is glorious. But the tonal shifts threaten to cause whiplash and the “improvements” made to London’s book (presumably to make it more cinematic) undermine both the thematic and narrative integrity of the tale.
The biggest shock of this new movie re-imagination is that it makes the original seem fresh and smart by comparison. Perhaps that makes this whole endeavor nothing more than TV producer Aaron Spelling’s posthumous fantasy.
The movie starts with a series of kaleidoscopic, high-energy scenes that prove to be Birds of Prey’s high point. Even in these early moments, there’s a sense that narrative isn’t going to be a big selling point for this movie and those misgivings prove to be correct.
Even the characters with the most screen time are (at best) slightly developed – there’s just enough humanity for us to be interested in whether they survive, although any emotional attachment is minimal.
Gerwig is trying for something a little different, juggling the time frame and creating a “meta” ending to make the story’s feminist themes overt and incorporate an ambiguous “twist” that some will see as clever and others may find heretical.
Jamie Foxx, compelled to take the role for personal reasons, turns in what could arguable be the best performance of a varied career. (Others might say that the distinction belongs to his work in Ray.)
It’s a big-screen cartoon and, although it may work for its target audience – video game-consuming pre-teen boys – other viewers may find the production to be lacking in anything beyond a little visual razzle-dazzle.
With Bombshell, thanks in large part to the contributions of his actors, Roach has crafted a compelling “ripped from the headlines” motion picture that unfolds like a page-turner. Unfortunately, with little room for nuance or detail, it lacks the depth necessary to make it more than a superficial dissection of what amounted to low-hanging fruit in the 2010s series of major headline sexual harassment revelations.
The movie consists of a bunch of random events and, if you pause long enough to consider things like plot and motivation (something you’re not supposed to do), it becomes evident that most of the movie doesn’t make any sense. Add to that an anti-climactic ending, scattershot editing, and too many extraneous characters and the last Star Wars movie is the most bloated and least satisfying of all the main-line adventures.
By keeping the tone from becoming too somber and generating a degree of sympathy for Jewell, Eastwood has crafted an engaging (albeit fictionalized) account of the triumph of ordinary men over the establishment.
Overall, this is a well-acted peek back in history to an era when scientific and engineering techniques currently taken for granted were in their pioneering stages, impelled forward by humanity’s insatiable desire to explore and conquer new vistas.