15 November 2013 10:02 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The action may be fast as a pingball, but the high-calibre cast can't stop Ridley Scott's latest from running out of ping

Ridley Scott's violent Tex-Mex action thriller is all mouth and no trousers. But it's quite a mouth: the original screenplay by Cormac McCarthy is (for a while) seductive, elusive and allusive. It's a sub-David Mamet Esperanto of tough-guy worldliness, hinting at a world of evil. Devotees of the Coens' version of his No Country for Old Men, with its horrible garotte scene, may feel their hearts sinking with the initial mention here of a hi-tech strangulation device, introduced in the opening reel on the same principle as Chekhov's famous act-one pistol. There's a crazy-paving mosaic of cast and plot.

Michael Fassbender is a yuppie lawyer, addressed only as "counsellor" in the American style, who has evidently gleaned info and contacts from the clientele to get »

- Peter Bradshaw

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