Honestly, one of the original draws for this movie was the idea of Viola Davis working alongside Jennifer Lopez. For while J. Lo has shown, through Enough, among other movies, she isn’t just another entertainment figure turned actress, it is rather difficult to picture her in the same movie as Mrs. Davis. Add in the idea they are both mothers looking for vengeance, meaning Mrs. Davis not playing a straight up victim, and this was video on demand, well, of course, I took some time out to see it. Now, whether it was worth it? Well, see below.
Characters & Story
Lila (Viola Davis) is a woman on edge. Just recently she lost her son to a drive-by, and despite going to a support meeting on a regular basis, she is just not getting better. Though when a woman named Eve (Jennifer Lopez) begins speaking the same pain Lila is and isn’t looking for solace as much as she is justice, she slowly begins to feel better. Especially because Eve is all Lila doesn’t really have the courage to be, at first. Lila doesn’t have the ability to face her son’s attackers, nor the people involved. Yet Eve, someone who also lost a child, has all the adrenaline needed to not only confront people but shoot them down.
Leading us down a long bloody road where the search for answers turns Lila and Eve into a vigilante group. One which, mind you, doesn’t go unnoticed. For with two detectives, Det. Holliston (Shea Wingham) and Det. Skaketti (Andre Royo), both following each slew of murders they commit, it seems our dynamic duo are just one slip up from either being arrested or joining their kids in the next life.
If there is one thing I loved about this movie, it was Mrs. Davis not playing someone whose strength was her vulnerability. For sometimes I feel that Davis takes on roles in which her characters struggle to survive or cope, is the main thing she can give to us. Something which, initially, is strongly representative of Lila, for as we see the damage of her losing her son, you see this strength in her come from the fact she still has one boy to raise, but the damaged character just seems all too familiar if you follow Mrs. Davis’ work.
However, once the privilege of seeing her take control of her life comes in, that is what sets this role apart from the many others she has had. For while, initially, Eve is portrayed as the one with the mouth, who takes the initiative, and can be as cold-blooded as her child’s killer, there is something about when Lila steps into that role which is a little bit shocking but much more satisfying. If only because, while I have never lost a child, I can imagine how debilitating it could be, and watching someone like Viola Davis, someone who seems shy, quiet in conversation, but stern in opinion, actually bring that stern and confident side to a character like this, I won’t say it is refreshing, but it certainly will keep your attention.
While both Lopez and Davis play well together and put on excellent performances, unfortunately, they are within a story which doesn’t feel new or fresh. For while I don’t know of too many mothers getting vengeance stories, at the same time the would-be plot twist of the film seems fairly obvious early on. Plus, as you realize more and more that perhaps Lila and Eve are going to be treated as invincible, and will get their own happy ending, rather than perhaps a bittersweet one, it begins to take away from their journey. For having a mother, two mothers I mean, who are supposed to feel helpless, take down one gangster after another, and it not lead to any major deaths? I honestly find impossible. For while I’m no gang aficionado, considering how high up the totem pole Lila goes, the fact that she didn’t ultimately end up shot up was quite surprising.
Overall: TV Viewing
In films, the best have a talented cast and excellent script. As for this movie? Well, it has talented actors and a script which is lackluster. However, Mrs. Davis and Ms. Lopez take the intrigue which comes from their names, as well as them being associated with each other, and do their best to elevate the script the best they can. Thus leading to a film worth labeling “TV Viewing” for while it is entertaining, it doesn’t fully draw you into the emotions of the characters, nor present a revenge plot which will get you jumping and shouting at the screen.
“If you stay inside, and keep it all in […] it festers. You got to do something about your feelings.”
— Lila and Eve