Mikey (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and Rose (Dame Helen Mirren) are professional assassins. They are also lovers, and once upon a time, Rose also knew Mikey's father. During an elaborate hit job for a malicious gangster, Rose fails to kill the main target, the gangster's pregnant girlfriend. Instead, she delivers her baby and convinces Mikey to help her protect them both. As Rose weakens from cancer, Mikey becomes breadwinner for this unusual family. But tranquility will not last.Written by
Peter Brandt Nielsen
Shadowboxer Mr. Black's Grade: B Starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Mirren.
First-time director Lee Daniels, producer of two challenging projects, Monster's Ball and The Woodsman tries his hand behind the lens. Mirren plays a female assassin who is diagnosed with cancer, and decides to carry out a final killing assisted by Gooding.
Shadowboxer certainly is a dark film - think Prizzi's Honor but with a very different tone - but Helen Mirren handles this 'unique' relationship with tenderness and dignity. I thought the ending wasn't terribly suspenseful, and it should have been. I kept trying picture how a different, and more experienced director would handle it. A number of crew members were there for the Q/A, including the director. Heck, even a PA came in from Philly (you keener!) Wes Bentley was scheduled to co-star but dropped out.
His role was filled by Cuba Gooding Jr., who succeeded in erasing Snow Dogs from my memory. He is very good here, playing it straight and very cold. In the Q/A afterwards he talked about the differences between doing comedy and drama. He said that he is pursuing roles that allow humor to come from the actions of the character - like in this film - and not obvious comedy. He enjoyed the laughter that his character got from the crowd at the screening, when his character was reacting to situations within the plot and not 'trying' to be funny.
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