Length 1h 41
Director Eric Blakeney
About A seemingly calm and collected DEA agent is a nervous wreck on the inside. As he struggles to demolish a cartel, an incident lands him in the psychiatrist’s chair and, consequently, in group therapy.
- The thing that really makes this film work, is the relationships Liam Neeson’s Charlie makes during his undercover work. I say that loosely given that I’m not sure Charlie is ever playing anything other than himself.
He has obvious chemistry with Sandra Bullock, but the best relationship by far is the one between Neeson and Oliver Platt. Oh my god, the final act, you will feel for both of them. You’ll understand the decisions they each make.
- Speaking of Oliver Platt, he’s incredible in this. I’m not so sure I’ve seen him in a “bad guy” role before and it really worked. To then have the film unpick the character and discover the root of his unhappiness. If you gave me a film just about Fulvio and Charlie, I’d have been very happy.
- I was happily surprised to discover Mitch Pileggi had a much larger role in this than I anticipated. While the start of the film may have you thinking he’s in a type-cast role, but no one in this film is who they really seem.
I must admit though, I had my suspicions, Pileggi himself speaks of his Italian heritage in interviews, so he feels like a bit of a red herring given the involvement of the Mafia. I reveal this, not to be a spoilsport, but because I can’t let this review sit without taking about the reveal. Not the one to the audience, but the reveal to Charlie. There’s a way that Pileggi can set his face whenever he’s in the position of a bad guy (Son’s of Anarchy, Shocker and Supernatural spring to mind) and it works well here.
- It’s a bit wacky. Like, you really do have to roll with it and remember that it was a product of the 2000s; the same era that brought us Mulholland Drive, Get Shorty and Analyze This. If you can stick with it until it really gets going, there’s a payoff.
- For an Irishman, Liam Neeson’s accent in this is appalling. It’s so unbelievably inconsistent that I’m certain the line about him being Irish was put in during reshoots.
- The plot threads are just not quite all there. It’s almost two or three very different movies in one. There’s attempts to connect the elements but they don’t all quite marry up the way that would lift this film up a little more.
The biggest problem for me, is how little Sandra Bullock’s character is integrated into the rest of the narrative. There’s even a clear set up that goes nowhere.
You know, it wasn’t the best film in the world. I wanted three different movies out of it. I wanted a Neeson/Platt movie, a Neeson/ Bullock movie and I wanted a movie just with the group therapy guys. Instead, I got this bag of Revels when I really just wanted the Maltesers out of it.