The Mexican (2001)

Director: Gore Verbinski

Writer: J.H. Wyman (Screenplay)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, James Gandolfini, J.K. Simmons, Bob Balaban, Sherman Augustus, Michael Cerveris, Gene Hackman

 

Plot: A man tries to transport an ancient gun called The Mexican, believed to carry a curse, back across the border, while his girlfriend pressures him to give up his criminal ways.


Tagline – love with the safety off

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Adventure Film

 

Story: The Mexican starts when small time crook Jerry (Pitt) is forced to head to Mexico to collect a gun for mob boss Bernie Nayman (Balaban), only this mission goes wrong when he loses the gun and is let stranded in Mexico trying to locate it.

With the bosses not happy that he has failed they send Winston Baldry (Gandolfini) kidnap his ex-girlfriend Samantha (Roberts) to locate him and the missing gun known as the Mexican.

 

Thoughts on The Mexican

 

Characters – Jerry is a small-time crook that has been in the debt of crime boss for years, with his latest and seemingly last chance sees him travelling to Mexico to locate a famous pistol. He has a short attention span which has gotten him trouble before and this is no different, he needs to clean up his own mess before finding himself wanted by the crime bosses. Samantha is Jerry’s ex-girlfriend that gets forced in work with a hitman to locate Jerry against her wishes, she just wants a normal life instead of being part of the crime world. Winston is the hitman that forces Samantha to help him locate Jerry, while learning to expression his own feelings. Arnold Margolese is the man that has been left in jail thanks to Jerry’s sloppy mistakes, he is making Jerry make up the time he is lost.

PerformancesBrad Pitt does bring us a wonderful comic character that plays into the cool persona that he had at the time, Brad mixes both the styles together to make his performance standout. Julia Roberts showed that she was a powerhouse in film during the 2000s, she brings everything to this performance to make her a supportive character. James Gandolfini brings us a twist on the hitman role which is against everything we have seen him play before. Gene Hackman might only have a smaller role, but he makes the most of his screen time.

StoryThe story here follows a clumsy crook who is sent to Mexico in search for a gun for his boss, the gun has a history which many different people want, which drags his girlfriend into the mix as they get caught up in a bigger chase for the gun, letting the two put aside their differences and finding out how they really feel about each other. This story is one that has plenty of twists and turns along the way, like any interesting crime adventure film, we see how Jerry always manages to get himself into more trouble no matter what and how Samantha is always going to be the one that puts him back on the right path. We have a lot of details that are added to create the characters which keeps the film flowing with more information as each scene unfolds.

Adventure/Comedy/CrimeThe adventure side of this film takes Jerry to Mexico where he never feels comfortable or look like he should be there, the crime world shows us just how man people would be after the legendary weapon that the bumbling criminal is set to get. The comedy in the film comes from the actions of Jerry which always make him look out of place.

SettingsThe film shows us how the shady looking street around Mexico which shows just how out of place Jerry looks.


Scene of the Movie –
Leroy changes a tyre.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It could sometimes have too many different subplots going on within the world.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun adventure that shows just how entertaining a crime comedy can be with its multiple different branches.

 

Overall: Fun filled adventure.

Rating

 

 

Killing Them Softly (2012)

Director: Andrew Dominik

Writer: Andrew Dominik (Screenplay) George V Higgins (Novel)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta

 

Plot: Jackie Cogan is an enforcer hired to restore order after three dumb guys rob a Mob protected card game, causing the local criminal economy to collapse.


Tagline – In America you’re on your own

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow & Uninspiring

 

Story: Killing Them Softly starts when Frankie (McNairy) and Russell (Mendelsohn) rob Markie’s (Liotta) mob protected card game, putting a bounty on themselves. With the men not happy with this incident, they hire Jackie (Pitt) to clean up the mess, he enjoys killing his victims, softly, with his Driver (Jenkins) filling in the information about the hit he will need to take out, while the  man Jackie wanted to help with the job, Mickey (Gandolfini) isn’t the man he used to know.

 

Thoughts on Killing Them Softly

 

Characters – Jackie is a hitman assigned to clean up a mod owned robbery, he has his own ways to get the job done which will see him slowly calculated kill his targets, but he will get the job done smoothly. Frankie is one of the thieves that commits the robbery, he has bought in his own friend to help with the latest job, he must try to stay low while he waits for the bounty to go away. Russell is the loose cannon that is bought in by Frankie, he isn’t liked by the boss, but is given the chance to help with the job. Mickey is the former hitman that just isn’t the man he once was, he can’t be seen in public which doesn’t help with his job. Driver fills in the information for Jackie, he shows him where the job could be done too. Markie is the host of the poker game who sees the money stolen, knowing what it will mean for him.

PerformancesBrad Pitt is the highlight of this film, which isn’t saying too much, he does keep the cool persona we know him for through the film, but isn’t as incredible as we could have seen from him. The supporting cast all struggle in this film without getting any moments that will make us want to support their characters.

StoryThe story follows a hitman hired to clean up a gangster robbery but unsuspecting thieves, only for him to see the people are not the same as they once were. This story goes at a slow pace which just doesn’t ever get going before ending without seemingly finishing. We have too many characters being introduced to enjoy this film which just seems to be a lot of talking and never hitting the criminal world style that you would be expecting from the gangster underworld.

CrimeThe criminal side of this film just seems to follow different people in the criminal world, they are at different levels and are force to be against each other.

SettingsThe film is set in a city which is filled with the chances to be a criminal without making any location feel iconic.


Scene of the Movie –
Frankie drive.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too much pointless talking.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow non-moving crime thriller that just drags along even with Brad Pitt trying his best to make something of nothing.

 

Overall: Slow and dull.

Rating

 

 

Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud

Writer: Becky Johnston (Screenplay) Heinrich Harrer (Book)

Starring: Brad Pitt, David Thewlis, BD Wong, Mako, Danny Denzongpa, Victor Wong

 

Plot: True story of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountain climber who became friends with the Dalai Lama at the time of China’s takeover of Tibet.


Tagline – At the end of the world his real journey began.

Runtime: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Drags Along

 

Story: Seven Years in Tibet starts when Austrian mountain climber Heinrich Harrer (Pitt) heads to India to climb in the Himalayas, he doesn’t get on with his team with leader Peter Aufschnaiter (Thewlis) forcing him to return, which does see him taken a prisoner of war.

Escaping from the prison camp, Heinrich and Peter head into the Himalayas before reaching Tibet, where he befriends the young Dalai Lama which sees a unique friendship started between the two.

 

Thoughts on Seven Years in Tibet

 

Characters – Heinrich Harrer is an explorer from Austria, he heads out for his next quest in the Himalayas to avoid the war heading to his country, he leave his pregnant wife behind him, but his nature isn’t to be friendly with anybody else on his team, he must learn to work as a team when the team are captured, and the escape sees him travelling around the Himalayas. Peter is the guide on the quest, which sees him being the one that does end up becoming the only friend for Heinrich, the two do their mission across Asia to the religious city. Ngawang is one of the Dalai Lama’s advisors, he wants to use the friendship to his advantage. Kungo is the man that welcomes the outsiders into the city, The young Dalai Lama is interested in Heinrich, being somebody with outside knowledge, he wants to keep him around.

PerformancesBrad Pitt really does struggle in the leading role, his accent is all over the place and for a charismatic explorer he doesn’t drag you into his performance. David Thewlis is solid enough in his role which is where he is always an actor to turn to. The rest of the cast have a mix of experience and screen time which just doesn’t let them effect the story.

StoryThe story tells us the events that led to Austrian explorer becoming friends with the Dalai Lama during World War II and the Chinese invasion of Tibet. It does show a different in culture, how the Dalai Lama was willing to gain knowledge from people outside of his village even at a young age. We do get a lot of jumping in time, with very little happening in places, which doesn’t help the flow of the story, which is meant to be a big moment in history. The narration from Brad Pitt doesn’t help too, because it sounds like he is just mumbling the lines which are meant to fill in the gaps.

Adventure/Biopic/WarThe adventure shows the incredible will to survive that Heinrich has, the ability to adapt to each situation which will take him across Asia. This plays out in the biopic side of the film, showing us just how the event of his story unfolded. The film is most set during the war, be it the second world war or the Chinese invasion of Tibet.

SettingsThe film does use the authentic locations for the events of the film, it shows the harsh reality certain locations are for Heinrich.


Scene of the Movie –
The meetings with the Dalai Lama.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pacing is slow for no reason.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow paced biopic that could show us a real moment of history, only it ends up not giving us enough to care about.

 

Overall: Disappointing a slow biopic.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – A – Allied (2016)

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: Steven Knight (Screenplay)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris

 

Plot: In 1942, a Canadian intelligence officer in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war.


Tagline – Deception is an art. Truth is a test. Is love a lie?

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks the Suspense

 

Story: Allied starts as Canadian Intelligence Officer Max Vatan (Pitt) lands in Morocco to work with French Resistance Fighter Marianna Beausejour (Cotillard) as they pretend to be married as they complete their mission. The two fall in love for real and return to London to get married against the his superior Frank Heslop (Harris) opinion.

After a year of marriage Heslop comes to Max believing Marianna is indeed a spy, this leaves Max questioning, which side of the story to believe and what is the truth.

 

Thoughts on Allied

 

Characters – Max Vatan is Canadian intelligence working in Africa, highly skilled he can blend into his environment, but he does fall in love with his undercover wife. When he gets informed she could well be a spy, his life is turned upside down with doubts about what is the truth. Marianna is the French resistance fighter working with the Canadian Max as his fake wife, but she also falls in love with Max and returns to start a family with him. We don’t learn too much apart from that she is a loving wife and mother though.

PerformancesBrad Pitt is good for the opening mission, you believe his every decision, but when he becomes the family man, he just doesn’t reach the levels you know he can. Marion Cotillard is good without being her breath-taking best in this role.

StoryThe story here follows love and spies during World War II, we see how two people from different sides of the war fall in love and they must decide which side of the war they are supporting. This film doesn’t become as intense as it could be because seeing it from both sides could have heighted the experience and by the end it just doesn’t feel like it reaches the levels it should.

Action/Romance/WarThe action during the film is tame with very little being used or looking overly real. The romance doesn’t feel whirlwind like you think it should be either, but the war side comes off strong as we see how the tension between the sides cause most of the issues in the lives.

SettingsThe settings look authentic for the time, which does work well for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just fizzles out in the second half of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a war romance film that just never reaches the levels it should do, it just seems to go on and becomes one of the average films that you forget by the end.

 

Overall: Average and disappointing.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – S – Snatch (2000)

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie (Screenplay)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Jason Statham, Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Farina, Vinnie Jones, Alan Ford, Lennie James, Ewen Bremner

 

Plot: Unscrupulous boxing promoters, violent bookmakers, a Russian gangster, incompetent amateur robbers, and supposedly Jewish jewelers fight to track down a priceless stolen diamond.


Tagline – Stealing stones is hazardous.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gangster Wonderland

 

Story: Snatch starts as we meet Turkish (Statham) an underground boxing promoter who is on the biggest business with Brick Top (Ford), but when he loses his fighter to gypsy Mickey O’Neil (Pitt), he must work on a new deal to get Mickey to enter the fight.

When the fight doesn’t go as planned Turkish must make amends for the mistake, putting him where he never wants to be in debt to Brick Top, while we follow the gangsters in this world as they get themselves into a string of trouble.

 

Thoughts on Snatch

 

Characters – We have plenty of characters in this film, Turkish is our narrator telling us everything going on, he is a boxing promotor that gets himself in the bad books of the head gangster in the city. Mickey O’Neil is a gypsy that just so happens to be an amateur boxer that ruins the plans of Turkish. Brick Top is the gangster running the city, he keeps everyone in fear and promises to feed anyone that crosses him to his pigs.

PerformancesJason Statham broke out with this role, he had done a couple of supporting roles, but this made him the star we know he is today. Brad Pitt gives us a performance we didn’t see coming from him as he showed us he can bring us a supporting role that wants to break away from the Hollywood main stream. Alan Ford seems to enjoy playing the villainous gangster role too not holding back in anyway.

StoryThe story follows the many different members of the crime world on a serious of miss-adventures during a week long time, this takes us through robbers, thieves, gypsy and gamblers that are all trying to pull something off as things are unfolding. I will say at times it does feel like one too many things are going on, but they do all come full circle by the end of the film. as for gangster style movies this story is one of the more enjoyable without taking itself too seriously.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy comes from things that do go wrong for the characters, with the dog having a squeaky toy instead of a bark is funny. The crime side of the film comes from every character that is from different places in the crime world.

SettingsThe settings keep us seeing everything coming from the different locations you would expect to see gangster films to take place.


Scene of the Movie –
The dog and the toy.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There is one too many stories to keep up with at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good gangster film that doesn’t want to take itself too seriously, which helps bring the colourful characters to life.

 

Overall: Enjoyable throughout.

Rating