Paid is a film noir in the tradition of the French gangster movie. It is a story about underworld characters that have come to regret the choices they have made and now secretly long for a ...
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Paid is a film noir in the tradition of the French gangster movie. It is a story about underworld characters that have come to regret the choices they have made and now secretly long for a different and more meaningful life. It is also a love story between Paula Gireaux , a 28-year-old Parisian call girl working in Amsterdam and a hit man, Michel Angelo (30) whose hearts are touched when a six-year-old Bolivian boy abruptly enters their lives. The boy changes their fate. He gives them reason to reach for their dreams and to start a whole new life together. But, at the moment Paula and Michel decide to escape the underworld, Paula realizes that her hands are tied to a paid deal she has made with a powerful English narcotics baron, Rudi Dancer (55). The enticing offer Paula could not refuse, turns into the demon that stands in the way of her future with Michel. Eventually, Michel and Paula find their way to freedom but not without paying a high price.Written by
good acting (Murilo Benício great as always, and still gorgeous), but awful screenplay
If acting were all, this would be a great movie. Every performance by the large international cast is excellent. Unfortunately, movies also have writers and directors - in this case Dutch writer-director Laurence Lamers.
He chose to make this movie - about gangsters in Amsterdam - entirely in English, which may be part of the problem, since the dialog often sounds like it came from a John Wayne or Edward G Robinson movie. Tom Conti - one of only two native English-speakers in the cast (Corbin Bernsen is the other) is credited with "Additional Dialog Corrections", which may explain why his dialog was mostly free of such peculiarities; but the unfortunate French, Brazilian, German, Dutch, etc, cast members didn't have that native understanding of the language to help them with their dialog (Bernsen seems not to have cared, because his is just as bad), and they're the ones who more often sound like characters caught in a Star Trek space/time warp.
But dialog isn't the only flaw - the story has serious problems of its own that can't be blamed on Lamers's unfamiliarity with English. It's interesting to have violent gangsters behave in unconventional ways (and Conti is an interesting and unusual villain), but there are limits to which credulity can be stretched. That a little Bolivian boy with no noticeable charm and no connection to any other character, without saying a word except his name - Luis - would simply by his presence totally upend the lives of a dozen or so hardened criminals is just too much. That's not the only glaring incongruity, but it's the biggest.
So Paid is worth watching for the good acting and the sometimes interesting oddity of casting a French actor as an Italian who speaks English and sings in Spanish, a Brazilian actor as a Frenchman, etc (all speaking their various versions of English) - and for oddballs like me who saw Murilo Benício's astounding performance in Possible Loves (Amores Possíveis) and now are hot on the trail of his other work.
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