MOVIE REVIEW – After The Gentlemen, Guy Ritchie explores American crime with Wrath of Man. Is the new collaboration between the director and Jason Statham worth a look? Check out our review…
Is Guy Ritchie on his way to becoming the most prolific director of the decade? A little over a year after The Gentlemen, the filmmaker is back with a new feature film that is set to smash the box office. Called An Angry Man, it follows the adventures of a British security guy who has just been hired by an American company. But as he barely passes the entrance tests, he demonstrates incredible shooting skills during a robbery. Everyone is now wondering who he is and where he came from.
With its premise of keeping the identity and intentions of its main character secret, Guy Ritchie’s new film has a strong storyline. Against the backdrop of California crime, Angry Man tells a dark tale of revenge through the prism of a mute and disturbing character whom nothing seems to affect.
As is often the case with the rest of his filmography, the filmmaker and screenwriter have fun with time. He twists it, distorts it and mishandles it to disconcert the viewer. This is what he had already done in The Gentlemen and Snatch. But here, he adopts a more classic path, cutting his plot into several chapters, presented in a chaotic order. If the result is probably less impactful than the rest of his work, it is nonetheless a nice way to gain dramatic intensity.
Despite a somewhat hackneyed backdrop, the strength of Guy Ritchie’s film lies in the way the pieces of the puzzle fit together in a coherent and entertaining way. Nevertheless, it can be criticised for sometimes taking the easy way out, especially in the resolution of its plot. An Angry Man would have deserved a more grandiloquent and much less conventional ending.
Guy Ritchie is no longer having fun
What emerges from this viewing, after two hours of fights and shoot-outs, is that Guy Ritchie doesn’t seem to be enjoying himself as much as he did before. Where Snatch, The Gentlemen and Scams, Crime and Botany took the approach of deconstructing gangster films to approach them with a welcome humorous touch and an innate sense of repartee,
An Angry Man perhaps takes itself a little too seriously. It’s less fun, less punchy, and the dialogue is much less enjoyable. The English humour, which is undoubtedly one of the strengths of Guy Ritchie’s cinema, is absent. Too bad, we console ourselves with the filmmaker’s taste for frantic editing and framing. As for the photography, Alan Stewart (Aladdin and The Gentlemen) once again works miracles. He conveys the darkness of the character with great accuracy thanks to the striking chiaroscuro scenes.
For Jason Statham, silence is golden
Jason Statham, quiet and charismatic, demonstrates his talents in the lead role. With a muscular and intense performance, the British actor almost manages to make us forget his recent forays into the Fast and Furious saga or even The Expendables. But after all, under Guy Ritchie’s direction, one is rarely disappointed.
Nevertheless, he is not always accompanied by actors of his calibre. Scott Eastwood, for example, struggles to convince us with his portrayal of a caricatured antagonist, as deep as a whiskey glass. The same can be said of the entire cast of characters, whose scripted roles are immense, but whose depth is ultimately rather anecdotal.
Last but not least, the music by Chris Benstead. After the sublime score for The Gentlemen, the composer returns to blow our minds with the film’s original music. Squeaky, raucous and sometimes thunderous, Benstead’s work once again accurately underlines the dramatic intensity of the scenes. It’s great art.