Monday, April 16, 2012
KILL THE IRISHMAN
I'm a little tired of the fascination with brutally violent men (and in some cases women), or with films about them anyway. This one's a tad more realistic than something like THE BOONDOCK SAINTS but it's still over the top at times, at least in it's seemingly awed response to the protagonist's supposed "fearlessness" (which may have been real, but ultimately the root of that kind of that kind of violent behavior is often unexamined deep set fear).
The movie was made by a screenwriter (DIE HARD I think he wrote or co-wrote), Jonathan Hensleigh, whose other two movies include one called THE PUNISHER, so he obviously is drawn to the kind of violence the movie displays. Some would say violence only a sociopath (or psychotic) could enact. Ray Stevenson in what I assume is his first real lead is a big broad shouldered man who gives a decent performance, though decent I guess would be the wrong adjective for his character, at least for me.
But the flick is full of amazing cameos and small roles by actors like Christopher Walken, Vincent D'Onofrio, Val Kilmer, Paul Sorvino, Tony Lo Bianco, etc. Most of them do their usual terrific jobs, though Kilmer seems to be wasted and he has one of the biggest parts which he doesn't seem to know what to do with, and I found pretty much unbelievable. The best acting in the whole movie for my taste was a small role as one of the lead's sidekicks, "Billy," played by Marcus Thomas. He nailed it I thought.
There's a lot of faux "Oirish" business that I also found a little embarrassing. the lead character is supposed to be a big reader, like a closet intellectual (who seems to enjoy beating people's faces to pulp with his fists or a board or bat etc.) yet he talks about Irish history like someone uneducated about it. I may be being a little harsh because he does get the general outline correct at times. Maybe that's just a quibble from a print junkie like me, but the bigger issue is the glorification of crime and violence and self-righteous self-glorification.
I've been guilty of the latter myself, so I ain't pointing a finger out of my own self-righteousness. I'd just like to see a movie get this stuff really right, the nasty selfish sociopath behavior without any aura of specialness but instead the banality and stupidity of it all.