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Wrath of Man

Director Guy Richie has made a career out of shady villains. ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ debuted his flair for stylised violence laced with rapid quips. For several decades this formula has worked, with a few left-field movies like ‘Aladdin’ to keep fans on their toes. ‘Wrath of Man’ reunites him with star Jason Statham, with whom he has previously worked. Although still using the same Richie recipe, ‘Wrath of Man’ shows a slightly different flavour than usual with both men equipping themselves admirably.

H (Jason Statham) is a cold, mysterious stranger working for a cash truck company. Moving hundreds of millions of dollars around Los Angeles every week, his job heavily relies on his skills. When his son is murdered, H goes on a mission of vengeance, using his job as a tool for revenge. Cutting a bloody path of rage, H’s steely resolve pushes him and others to the brink.

‘Wrath of Man’ is as deceptive as its central character. As with H, you’re never quite sure what direction he or the movie will go in remaining consistently intrigued. The story’s non-linear narrative observes the same events from different perspectives. This gradually unravels questions the viewer may have to H’s motivations. Playing like an action packed mystery thriller, ‘Wrath of Man’ doesn’t pull any punches with violence and exploring the peculiar code of honour among thieves.

‘Wrath of Man’ benefits from a solid cast. Whilst hardly the world’s greatest actor, Statham is perfectly suited as H, a man of few words and fewer emotions. Statham conveys H’s silent rage well without stretching his limited acting abilities. The action choreography, frenetic cinematography and the overall seedy atmosphere works in creating the surrounds into which the audience is thrust.

Guy Richie has had some cinematic clunkers, although ‘Wrath of Man’ isn’t one of them. It heavily relies on his usual bag of tricks with a few new twists. Although Statham’s film hit rate can be all over the place, Richie mostly hits his marks with films like his latest worth seeing and to observe what he comes up with next.

Rating out of 10: 7

CURRENTLY SCREENING IN CINEMAS.

Nomadland

‘Nomadland’ recently won a slew of awards including the 2021 Best Picture Oscar. That may mean nothing to a jaded few whilst others have hailed it due to its themes and performances. Living a nomadic existence, whether by accident or design, draws fascination for some. The idea may feel very tempting as a way of escaping the increasingly frenetic pace in which the world lives. ‘Nomadland’ shows a different side to this notion as its reluctant wanderers searchi for answers.

Following the economic collapse of her town, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs up her belongings and travels the American West in a van. Wanting to break free of everyday society, she roams the land exploring life. She meets other nomads such as Dave (David Strathairn) and Linda (Linda May). They change Fern’s outlook and alter her future in ways she couldn’t have imagined.

Directing from her own script, Chloe Zhao crafts an interesting essay of a different lifestyle. Creating a new life from the remnants of the old, the nomads in her story have various reasons for doing so. Not all are economic, with emotional and physical scars guiding the restless spirits away from their troubles. This aspect makes ‘Nomadland’ engrossing viewing. Unfortunately the screenplay meanders into other directions taking away from the film’s power. ‘Nomadland’ doesn’t quite have the courage of its convictions in seeing the story through to a logical conclusion.

The biggest issue ‘Nomadland’ faces is how its main character is presented. Despite McDormand giving yet another solid performance, her character is difficult to connect with. Her stand-offish demeanour makes it hard to feel much sympathy. Coupled with several slow patches and occasionally unfocussed narrative, ‘Nomadland’ is less than it should be. A plus is the cinematography which perfectly captures the vast landscape as the wild, dusty vistas envelop those determined to forge another path.

Despite its structural flaws, ‘Nomadland’ becomes fascinating when examining the nomad’s unique world. It almost makes a persuasive case for discarding modern life and drifting into calmer waters. Given the amount of awards won, it has resonated with many who desire a sea-change with a difference.

Rating out of 10: 6

CURRENTLY STREAMING ON DISNEY +