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Wanted

September 12, 2010

Wanted (2008)
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Actors: James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Angelina Jolie

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Synopsis: A frustrated office worker (James McAvoy) is recruited to join a band of specially-talented assassins.

Review: What an ugly and distasteful movie this is. Conceived for the lowest common demographic of juvenile males supposedly wowed by fast cars, dramatic explosions, pneumatic babes, graphic violence, and just generally a masturbatory aesthetic – even on those terms, it fails. First, the film is utterly derivative and unoriginal – the techno-fetishism was done much more thoughtfully and coherently in The Matrix, and the corporate/social satire was covered a good distance more perceptively in Fight Club. Even in its less aspirational guise as a simple piece of action hokum it flags, lacking the core cogency and narrative logic that even the most basic of scripts should provide. What proves particularly ironic, and summates the film’s total lack of originality, is that despite the car-wreck of a plot, there is still the most egregious of father-son subplots tagged on to the end – whether through brazen laziness, or a last-ditch attempt to affect pathos – it’s a laughable development. Even more saliently, this film has at its core a fundamentally soulless edge. In its misguided bent for an uncompromisingly visceral experience, it has affected a militaristic, almost fascistic air, in depicting a world completely without ethics, but also one without any semblance of grace or magnificence. (July 2008)

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