John and Jane Smith are a normal married couple, living a normal life in a normal suburb, working normal jobs...well, if you can call secretly being assassins "normal". But neither Jane nor John knows about their spouse's secret, until they are surprised to find each other as targets! But on their quest to kill each other, they learn a lot more about each other than they ever did in five (or six) years of marriage. Written by
John has a set of cuts on his face that cross each other after he and his wife fight in the house. Over the next few scenes the cuts continually change. The final pattern of the cuts is very different from the way they started. See more »
[at the marriage counselor's]
OK, I'll go first. Um... Let me say, uh, we don't really need to be here. See, we've been married for five years.
Five, six years.
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Movies, like books, can't be judged by the packaging. When it came out in '05, the reviews were above average, but didn't appear to ring everybody's chimes so I avoided seeing it.
Buying the DVD seemed like a safe bet when it came out. It had lots of action and two marquee stars. But having been burned buying movies I hadn't seen - Sideways, Lost In Translation (O.K., not burned but a bit disappointed) - I passed. I'd wait till it dropped below $10.
Time passed and now it's on T.V. I happened to be flipping channels when I stumbled on its opening scene at the marriage councilor. Right away I was hooked. It had the marriage milieu nailed in a few minutes, like Orson Welles in Citizen Kane: the awkward questions and answers, the poorly disguised discomfort, the seething resentment.
It got even better with the banality of home life: the glaring silences, the perfunctory politeness, the stilted discourse, the hidden frustration, ennui, equivocation, avoidance, and interior decorating conflicts. Maybe you actually have to be married to appreciate how true the representation was.
Then the plot twists that accentuated the facade. More twists. Don't let your guard down for an instant, or you may get killed! The subtle, pleading moments. Like when Jane hangs up on him in the car. Additional twists and action all the way into a grand finale with scads of bullets, bombs, etc.
Is the true love of shared experience beyond the banality of everyday life realized? Well, you have to see the movie.
Yes, the plot is complicated, and sometimes doesn't make sense, like marriage, but on closer inspection reveals hidden reservoirs of true feeling and connection.
I guess I had overlooked a great film, just like John and Jane had overlooked each other.
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