A young man promises to get out the drug game for his girlfriend but ends up back in so he can save her life.
Review (with Spoilers)
Geran (Ben Kingsley) | Juliette (Felicity Jones) | Casey (Nicholas Hoult) | Hagen (Anthony Hopkins)
Just for her, he walked away from a lucrative job. One which was, albeit, dealing drugs for the zany Geran, but dealing drugs in Germany’s club scene? What could be easier? But Juliette had been down that road before and didn’t want to revisit. So, because of that, Casey quits that job and just lives off his love for her.
Fast forward a few months and so it is revealed Juliette has health problems. Health problems the country won’t cover her for due to her status and in America, where she and Casey are from, the cost is $200,000 which neither have. So, against her wishes, Casey returns to the life he left behind. Though he is only in it for one last score.
Hoult and Jones Have Chemistry
Similar to Borealis, you find yourself seeing a perfectly good plot ruined by going over the top. For when Hoult and Jones look at each other, it makes you wish this was a romantic movie about them together. And while, I’ll admit, him getting back into the drug game isn’t the worse idea to pay for her treatment, the problem is who the drug lords are that he is dealing with.
While no one can argue that Kingsley doesn’t pick diverse roles, the problem is there is such a huge chasm between his worst and his best. For every Hugo, The Wackness, and House of Sand and Frog there is The Love Guru, The Dictator and being associated with a film like Exodus: Gods and Kings. And while sometimes an actor can be the silver lining, the saving grace, of a bad or even decent film, somehow Kingsley finds a way to either be the best of the best or worse of the worse. In this film, he practically revisits his Iron Man 3 persona and makes it just a bit more of a comical gangster. Which, to me, is starting to seem like a fantasy of Kingsley. To be this rough and tough guy rather than someone who seems approachable, likable, and etc.
In this film, though, especially in scenes when he plays off of Anthony Hopkins, it does make you wonder if he never won an Oscar before could he honestly win now? I mean, it isn’t like he hasn’t had a good movie in years, but honestly, it does seem at times he chooses his roles like Samuel L. Jackson. The first thing considered is, what’s the pay? Afterwards, how much work I gotta do? Then, who’s in it? If those all get decent enough answers, who cares about the role, the script, or the movie. Perhaps it is just about consistently having work.
On The Fence
It Had Potential
Separate Geran out of the movie and focus just on Hagen and you got yourself a decent romance/ gangster film. If only because Hopkins, while he goes off the rails and has manic moments sometimes, he has this believable persona of being a gangster. Unlike Kingsley, he isn’t overly reliant on guns and intimidating henchmen to make a point. It is in the way he talks, the way he looks, the way he moves which makes him seem like a menacing figure. To the point you wish it was for him Casey worked for and this, perhaps, was handled in a sort of Martin Scorsese kind of way. Where there wasn’t all these car chases and gun fights in the middle of subways. Instead, it relied on wits and the arrogance of youth vs. the experience of an elder. Anything better than what was given.
Overall: Mixed (Home Viewing)
When a movie gets pushed back a multitude of times, usually it is a red flag. However, being that Hoult is one of those actors who a person can’t help but find themselves loyal to, here I was watching another one of his movies which test my loyalty. For even though he isn’t bad in it, or the film in general, it seems like another film which wants to be mainstream, or a possible sleeper hit, so bad it tries too hard. For while Hopkins fits his role as a gangster, arguably Hoult doesn’t seem geared for this type of action movie and Kingsley needs to deal with the fact he can be stoic and be menacing thanks to that, but as a gansgter, especially these borderline comical ones? He needs to just stop and read his script.