I’ve been watching a LOT of movies lately. Maybe it’s the cold weather keeping me in the house, maybe it’s because I’m working from home more often, maybe it’s because I’ve caught up on my Summer viewing. I’m not sure, and you’re not that concerned.With unlimited PVR space and the 30,000 channel pack, there’s a lot of films that I’ll record for later, and some i’ll even watch.
At any rate, a fews days back, I watched Wanted for the second time. I remember my first impression of the movie was that it was just okay. The whole bullet-curving thing was weird, and Morgan Freeman didn’t quite fit, and it was all a bit gaudy and eye roll worthy. Yet something made me give it a second look. And I’m glad I did.
“Wanted” is a 2008 film, based on a comic book of the same name. I haven’t read the comic yet, so I’ll keep my comments confined to the film itself. It’s the story of Wesley Gibson, a meek, wimpy cubicle-bound shell of a man, who is pushed around by everyone and everything in his life. That is, until he meets a group of powerful assassins who inform him that his father was one of them, and that he has inherited a fortune, and his father’s strange bullet bending and time slowing powers.
This movie is a freaking work of art. Not a classical, go to a museum and stand around with a bunch of other “art” fans so that you can say you did later work of art. More of a “I have no idea what the hell that thing is, but man, it’s really something” kind of work of art.
I once read a review of the band U2, that went something like this: “If U2 weren’t half as full of shit as they are, they wouldn’t be half the band they are.” Wanted belongs to this same school of thought. It’s unapologetic about it’s madness. It’s chock full of absolutely impossible events, framed and filmed beautifully. It’s in your face about it’s “Oh come on, that’s ridiculous” moments. In one of the early scenes, Wesley picks up an ergonomic keyboard, and lays it into the face of his “best friend”, who has been nailing Wesley’s shrew of a girlfriend. We see a tooth fly out of his mouth, and the keyboard explodes, sending the keys flying toward the screen, as time slows down, the tooth joins them, and they spell out “Fuck You”.
Again, either you’re on board for this, or you’re reaching for the remote to turn the damn thing off. Do so at your peril. If you don’t watch the rest, how will you experience the greatest on screen usage of exploding rats in cinema history? Hmmmm? The film was directed by Timur Bekmambetov, whose work you’ve seen, well, only if you’re a fan of Russian horror flicks. He’s working on the sequel to Wanted right now, and in 2012, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
The plot ambles forward, with our hero discovering his powers, and training to use them.I won’t spoil anything here, but let’s just say that the plot isn’t really why you’re here. It’s really an excuse to take us from one bizarre stunt piece to the next. And there are many, and they are fantastic, in every sense of the word.
I haven’t even mentioned Angelina Jolie yet. She’s here, playing a strangely aloof assassin. We’re meant to think that her and our hero are a match for one another, and that they’ll fall madly in love. Except that the film never really gives us that impression. Jolie is busy looking hot and untouchable, so we don’t get any heat between the two.
Morgan Freeman, as mentioned earlier, is the head of the secret assassin/weaving guild (don’t ask…). Freeman is a great actor, but he also seems out of place in this movie. I’m not sure if that’s we’re used to seeing him as a kindly old mentor, or that, like Jolie, his acting instructions seemed to be “be standoffish whenever possible”, but I never really get the impression that he fits here.
On the whole, you’ll either love this, or hate it. But give it a shot. Check your cynicism at the door, and try to appreciate the gusto this movie throws itself at you with.
- There are a few places in the film where James McAvoy’s English accent comes out, oddly.
-If you watch closely in the opening scene where Wesley’s girlfriend is nailing his best friend on Wesley’s Ikea kitchen table, her blue shirt instantly blips from being on to being in a heap behind her. (Don’t you wish you could do that?). The same shirt appears later in the movie. It must be her good shirt.