Review: Pain & Gain (2013)

Pain and Gain

Leaving the ludicrously successful world of sentient robotic beings destroying the world bit-by-bit (otherwise known as Transformers), director Michael Bay lends his hand to dark satire Pain & Gain, the bizarrely true story of a mid-90s plot that saw three bodybuilders extort and blackmail their way to success. It’s regrettable, then, that what is, at times, a well performed and deliciously dark deconstruction of the American Dream, quickly becomes a distasteful and hard-featured botch job thanks to Bay’s inability to be anything but over-the-top and overambitious.  Continue reading “Review: Pain & Gain (2013)”

Review: Man On A Ledge (2012)

Man On A Ledge is, well, apart from being one of the worst titled films of the past few years, a relatively by-the-numbers, cluttered fare that director Asger Leth imparts in a passable, yet ultimately bland, attempt to breathe new life into the tepid thriller genre.

Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), an ex-cop and criminal at large, books himself into a fancy suite at the Roosevelt Hotel, New York. Rather than basking in his luxurious surroundings, he instead chooses to climb out onto the window ledge Continue reading “Review: Man On A Ledge (2012)”

Review: The Way Back (2010)

Peter Weir’s latest is a long-gestating film adaptation of Slavomir Rawicz’s The Long Walk: The True Story Of A Trek To Freedom.

The film centres a Polish lieutenant (Jim Sturgess) tortured by the Russian secret police and sent to a Siberian gulag on trumped-up charges who, along with several other falsely incarcerated men, travels 4,000 by foot to freedom.

Weir’s adaptation is a captivating film, using a tale of survival to explore deep, meaningful themes of existence and morality.

The cinematic vision compliments these moral explorations, the rough terrain symbolising the harshness of human existence and the trials we must face throughout our lives.

Sturgess proves his worth as the Polish leader, while Ed Harris and Colin Farrell each provide canny turns as criminals seeking redemption and worthwhile meaning.

Saoirse Ronan, in a walk-on part as 14-year-old Polish girl , who brings out the compassionate side of each character before succumbing to the torturous landscapes.

The main downfall is the distance kept between viewer and character. We are kept at arms length throughout the film, preventing one from becoming entirely engaged and emotionally involved with the hardship unravelling on screen.

The Way Back is a riveting and visually beautiful film that makes you question your own morality, but it’s overly long running time and poor character development results in it failing to achieve it’s full potential.