Review Date: April 10, 2002
Director: Roger Michell
Writer: Chap Taylor, Michael Tolkin
Producers: Scott Rudin
Samuel L. Jackson
What I like about movies like this (which is basically a combination of TIN MEN and FALLING DOWN times twelve!) is that, if done right, the audience really connects to the people within. They understand where they're coming from, and they too, appreciate many of their very same frustrations. In this case, both the script and the actors come off as entirely believable and it isn't long before you're rooting for...well, both guys actually! And that's another thing, much like in CRIMSON TIDE, in which both of the lead characters had opposing points of view, each of which seemed valid, this film pits two people going through their own separate issues up against one another, and it isn't long before tit leads to tat, and you can't really define the line between who's "right" and who's "wrong" anymore. Credit goes to director Roger Michell for creating a frantic atmosphere as well, with plenty of camera movements (although I did get a little sea-sick at one point) and close-ups to accentuate the characters' burgeoning aggravation. And then you've got the two lead actors. Ben Affleck, who I've personally enjoyed in most films, comes through as a man who is suddenly faced with a major life decision, while at the same time, dealing with this "nut" who is toying with him. He does his usual "Affleck" here, but there's a lot more to him in the movie as well, and I'm happy to report that much of "Ben" shows up too, pulling me into his zone during several key scenes (one specifically involved his reaction to the "school incident"-I won't say more). And then there's Samuel L. Jackson. Aaaaaah, you gotta love this man! Film after film, he consistently manages to control your eyes through the screen, and I don't think there was one second during this movie, that I thought about turning away. And even though he's playing more of a "regular guy" here, he still managed to draw me in with his magnetism, his powerful demeanor and his superb acting. Kudos to both men for delivering the goods and for making the film that much stronger. The supporting cast also added muscle to the mix, including William Hurt, Sydney Pollack and a very smarmy Dylan Baker.
In the end, the film is going to thrill you, it's going to entertain you, it's going to make you think and it should lead to a few interesting conversations on your way home (maybe even with yourself). Yes! I'm happy because this week has been a pretty crappy "movie week" for me thus far, but this puppy brought me right back into the thick of things. Good, solid entertainment for adults who like to have something to chew on while enjoying their bubble-gum.