Run Time: 125 Mins
What To Expect: One of the better movies of 2019, unpredictable, no BS
If the slick trailer for this Netflix movie left you in any doubt of who the target audience is, then the fact that the film opens with a Metallica number, and ends with another Metallica number should leave you in no doubt. Kind of this site’s readership. It’s a big heist movie with a big cast, directed by J.C. Chandor, director of the understated manly movie All Is Lost.
Pedro Pascal, Garrett Hedlund, Charlie Hunnam and Oscar Isaac are all ex special forces, trying to force a living in various dangerous and monotonous underpaid jobs. Their former leader is Ben Affleck, probably in the worst shape of any of them trying to ‘run two households’ (read: divorce, with the ex living like a queen off his sweat) and being the worst estate agent ever. One day, Oscar Isaac gets the band back together with a job that could see them legally net 1/4 of 75 million owned by a South American drugs kingpin, if they apprehend him. Isaac gets other ideas, such as screwing their CIA handlers over and taking the whole loot for themselves. Noting that he’d been shot five times for his country yet still is living in near squalor, Affleck accedes to the plan.
There is good pacing and structure in this film. I’d thought we’d spend 90 minutes leading up to and planning a heist. That didn’t happen, the heist happens earlier and the remainder of the movie takes us through the shit show that follows it. It’s unpredictable in that way, even if the very end and how they send off the money is a bit forced. Unpredictable is good, especially with a cast as strong as this.
Unsurprisingly Affleck has the best role and leaves the best impression; once in a generation actor, Ben Affleck, especially when he’s plugged into something that is clearly a good project, like this. Other characters though are underwritten and a bit flat. We don’t know nearly as much about Pascal or Hunnam’s characters… Hunnam’s performance and his accent once again seem a bit off to me, like in a lot of his roles.
Anyway, the other big selling point of this film is that it’s very well directed. Great cinematography… for instance we see the lush beauty of South America in real time, not some cheap green screen con job (such as the same vegetation in a movie like Kong). This is important for a platform like Netflix in my opinion, they’re challenging cinema and it may have been tempting to hire an ensemble and cut corners by filming South America inside a building, but they’ve done things properly here. The film is also free of shaking cam bullshit, with no hatchet editing either. I loved the heist in this film and the helicopter sequence that followed.
A good movie, with no romantic subplots. It’s all business. Most will like this one a lot.