Russell and his younger brother Rodney live in the economically-depressed Rust Belt, and have always dreamed of escaping and finding better lives. But when a cruel twist of fate lands Russell in prison, his brother becomes involved with one of the most violent and ruthless crime rings in the Northeast - a mistake that will cost him everything. Once released, Russell must choose between his own freedom, or risk it all to seek justice for his brother. Written by
The fine cast assembled for this film makes me wonder what they saw in the script. Was it a matter of one actor signing on, and others wanting to work with him (I say him because the only female in the film is Zoe Saldana, in a one-dimensional and thankless role). Was it that the director used to be an actor and knows all these people? Was it because he had success with Crazy Heart?
Other reviews basically already touch on the problems here: it means nothing. I wanted to like the film, but I walked out of the theater not knowing what I had just seen (the ending is confusing, ridiculous, and poorly done). The film takes itself far too seriously to get away with just being entertaining, and when you don't have a clue what the whole point of the movie was, that's a bad thing. Things happen in the film without really coming together and create a cohesive narrative where you feel that there's any growth or direction. Perhaps that's the intent, but any theme or themes were underdeveloped and not apparent. I find the comparisons to Deerhunter insulting, personally.
The actors do a fine job, although I feel there is some miscasting in the movie. Would Forest Whitaker really be able to attract Zoe Saldana? Nothing in the movie gave me any reason to think they had a believable relationship. Frankly, nothing in the film convinced me that Saldana would even stay in a town like Braddock. Bale is good, as is Affleck and Harrelson, but I didn't really connect with anyone except Affleck's character.
Definitely a missed opportunity and a disappointment.
143 of 226 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?