Directed by: John Maddon
Screenplay by: Hossein Amini
Run time: 95 mins
Main Characters: Mickey Rourke, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Thomas Jane, Diane Lane, and Rosario Dawson
In this screenplay, adapted from Elmore Leonard’s novel of the same name, even the A-list cast can’t save it from the destruction that a couple years of editing can do to a movie. Originally slated to begin production in 2002 under an entirely different director and cast, it was pushed aside when the Weinsteins left Miramax. Only to be picked back up several years later, finally completed in 2006. Alas, it had a limited release with negative test run results and was put through a rigorous run of re-filmings, and much editing. Leaving us with the final production released in November of 2008, it went straight to dvd.
Okay, enough background on the production of the movie. Here’s the low-down:
Rourke’s performance as Native American hit man Armand ‘The Blackbird’ Degas was probably what saved the movie. Even though he didn’t strike me as very Native American at all, his mobster attitude was well played. This was actually the first movie I’ve seen Rourke in that I actually remember his character. I will be on the lookout for others.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt played a semi-psychotic small time bad boy trying to make a name for himself, but getting nowhere. His character was at times slightly over the top verging on unbelievable, and had to be kept at bay by Rourke’s character. He had some comical moments, but over all became very annoying towards the end. Normally, I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt, he’s actually one of my favorite actors. But, with this movie, I felt like his character was just too much. It was funny at first, but then it just became redundant.
Thomas Jane and Diane Lane played a married couple going through the process of divorce, until they unwillingly witnessed Rourke and Gordon-Levitt‘s characters roughing up a real estate agent. In which case they became the new targets. They portrayed a believable relationship going through the trials of splitting up. I had no qualms with Thomas Jane’s character. He was believable as a man trying to save his wife and his marriage. Diane Lane did a decent portrayal as the wife who kept pushing her husband away, not willing to admit that she still needed him, and dealing with being chased by killers in the process.
And last, Rosario Dawson…all I can say is her character was strange. Dawson is an excellent actress and this was just a wasted role. I don’t really see where it even had much importance at all. I just really felt like her part in the movie was nothing but a glorified cameo, in the hopes of using her name to promote the movie and bring in more viewers. Not to bash her acting, Dawson took the role, made it her own, and did the best with what she was offered.
Sometimes the characters in this movie were far fetched and unrealistic, and sometimes they were just too plain and predictable. All in all, the acting was for the most part sound, and the storyline and action were entertaining. Definitely not Oscar worthy by any means, but if you’re in the mood for a little bit of needless killing and violence, then this is your movie.