TMG Scale 8.0
Starring Russell Crowe. Elizabeth Banks…and our old friend, Brian Dennehy. Even Liam Neeson has a great bit part.
What thrilled TMG the most about this film was seeing Brian Dennehy back on the screen. And I do mean seeing, as it was almost funny how he appeared three times without saying even a word. It was just that great Dennehy sigh and raised eyebrows that gets you.
When you are as big a Russell Crowe fan as TMG is, it is hard to be very objective. Admittedly, this film had all the elements of just another “prison film,” the likes of which we have been copiously served lately. You didn’t miss Stone or Conviction this year did you? Plot: Spouse is wrongly imprisoned and you will risk it all to set them free. Readers Digest will even save more ink on movie reviews this year.
Russell Crowe plays husband John Brennan to his convicted wife Lara, played masterfully by Elizabeth Banks. When the trial is over, your wife is innocent, the appeals exhausted, how far would you go to seek justice for your loved one? Great films really make you think. [If you really want to stretch how far you might go to save your family. Listen to TMG and Joy Lynn explore Unthinkable and rent it this week.] The arrest scene alone in this film raises huge issues. TMG is a an ardent supporter of the police. However, there is never justification or excuse for the police to use a parade of force to arrest when a simple and courteous request will work just fine.
Despite huge and obvious gaps or plot holes, this movie delivered. The opening scene was just priceless, especially if you have ever been at a dinner with three attractive and competitive women who all are vying for the same thing. It set the tone for the screenplay. One ends up dead in the parking lot . Another is accused. The drumbeat starts. Russell Crowe is plotting and fighting with maps and charts. Perhaps this movie is nothing more than a really great episode of NCIS or CSI Las Vegas. But what’s wrong with that?
Some stuff was over the top. Would any city really lock down the entire town, put stops at all major highways, stop all subways for one woman escapee from County jail.? Hardly. But it’s Hollywood and it was great fun to watch it all unfold.
Note: This film was set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. No special reason for it. This is the second big hit in a week based in Pennsylvania. Funny that Unstoppable was based upon events in Ohio, but the screenplay was switched to Pennsylvania. I bet my next drink with Clint Eastwood the reason is that Pennsylvania provided some smart incentives. Other states need to wake up and realize being “movie production friendly” is just good business. New Mexico has rolled out the red carpet to the movie industry. Apple even got both an iphone and a Macbook plug worked into this film. Advertising works. Wise up state legislators!