Tag Archives: Bridget Moynahan

The Recruit (2003, Roger Donaldson)

There’s a very interesting throwaway line in The Recruit. During the traitor’s confession, there’s an implication the betrayal occurred following the CIA ignoring information they could have used to prevent 9/11. Like everything related to 9/11, it’s all implied (this one is less obvious than the others), but it’s definitely there. Given the film seems like a fairytale “young CIA” movie–the “Beverly Hills 90210” approach to it–it implies there was once a more mature film here (are CIA training procedures a matter of public record? I’m pretty sure not).

The top billed Al Pacino is doing one of his standard wizened older (not old) man roles here. He yells a little. His eyes occasionally gleam, reminding of better roles. What’s bothersome about Pacino’s paycheck roles (which he mostly does now, just like De Niro), is he’s still likable (something De Niro never had). I resent myself for enjoying his performance.

Colin Farrell is doing a leading man role–at times it’s impossible not to think of Tom Cruise in The Firm–and he’s solid. Sometimes his job is just to stare intently, other times he does actually act. He and Pacino work well together but, even the Recruit is her best performance I’ve seen, Farrell doesn’t really get anything to work with from Bridget Moynahan. But at least her performance wasn’t making me nauseous like usual.

When the movie’s decent, it fits Donaldson would be making it. When it’s not, he’s way too good for it.

1/4

CREDITS

Directed by Roger Donaldson; written by Roger Towne, Kurt Wimmer and Mitch Glazer; director of photography, Stuart Dryburgh; edited by David Rosenbloom; music by Klaus Badelt; production designer, Andrew McAlpine; produced by Roger Birnbaum, Jeff Apple and Gary Barber; released by Touchstone Pictures.

Starring Al Pacino (Walter Burke), Colin Farrell (James Douglas Clayton), Bridget Moynahan (Layla Moore), Gabriel Macht (Zack), Kenneth Mitchell (Alan) and Mike Realba (Ronnie Gibson).


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Lord of War (2005, Andrew Niccol)

Lord of War fails on quite a few levels–I suppose some of the direction is interesting and some of the puns are funny–but it still surprised me when it attempted to be civic-minded in the end. I should have seen it coming, but I was a little distracted by the end. The last scene and one of the first scenes are pretty much it for actual scenes in Lord of War. The present action takes place over nineteen years so most of the storytelling is done in summary or half-scene. A more imaginative director would have had Cage narrate it to the camera throughout, but instead we just get to hear him tell the story instead. Lord of War breaks that cardinal rule of voiceover narration–without Cage’s narration, the film would not make any sense. It would be a loose collection of scenes tied together. The viewer might not even know he was an arms dealer.

I was going to delay the flailing, but I think I’ll end the post on a positive note. Where to start. How about the names… Cage and Jared Leto (Leto plays his brother) play Ukrainian immigrants with Ukrainian names–except when Cage calls Leto “V” (for Vitaly), because “V” just sounds cool, doesn’t it? Actually, the reason for the Ukrainian heritage is for a later event–Cage plays a composite of five arms dealers, so calling it factual is a bit of a stretch. As the arms dealer, Cage is occasionally appealing, but he isn’t operating with any depth. The screenplay is shallow (Niccol made Gattaca, which is deep, so he seems to have burnt-out right away). The dialogue–when it’s not trying to be funny, of course–is bad. Jared Leto still acts with his hair. A flop to the right means his angry, a flop to the left means addicted to cocaine. Ethan Hawke has a crew cut (playing an inexplicably authorized Interpol agent) so he doesn’t get any acting help from his hair. He’s real bad. I mean, it’s a tossup who’s worst in this film, between Leto, Hawke, Bridget Moynahan as the wife or Ian Holm. Moynahan is terrible in a funny way–it’s funny hear her say her lines. It’s absurdly amusing, but poor Holm. Holm is so bad–and so visibly bad, Niccol does nothing but put him out there to embarrass himself–he’s so bad, you’d think he’d won an Oscar in the early 1980s either as Indian independence leader or as composer who had it in for Mozart. He’s awful.

It’s a cheap film too. Niccol’s got a lot CG-aided shots (the opening credits are a bullet going from manufacture to use and it looks like Pixar did it) and they’re cheap and glossy. They look fake, so maybe Niccol’s trying bring films back to the old days when the audience was meant to be aware they were watching a false reality–and I like that kind of thinking and I like those movies–but I don’t think he was going for it.

It rips off Goodfellas. The helicopter from Goodfellas. There’s something really sleazy about ripping Goodfellas.

Now for the good part. Eamonn Walker plays a Liberian warlord. He’s great. This guy ought to be in everything. He should be the new Superman. He’s great.

He almost makes the film worth watching.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Written and directed by Andrew Niccol; director of photography, Amir Mokri; edited by Zach Staenberg; music by Antonio Pinto; production designer, Jean Vincent Puzos; produced by Philippe Rousselet, Niccol, Nicolas Cage, Norman Golightly, Andy Grosch and Chris Roberts; released by Lions Gate Films.

Starring Nicolas Cage (Yuri Orlov), Jared Leto (Vitali Orlov), Bridget Moynahan (Ava Fontaine), Ian Holm (Simeon Weisz), Eamonn Walker (Baptiste Senior), Sammi Rotibi (Baptiste Junior) and Ethan Hawke (Valentine).