Tuesday, May 10, 2005

engagement 1101ring10bullet111swipe ... 01silver010dollar [may 09, 2005]

That title comes from the superficially intriguing content of the opening credits of John Woo's directorial adaptation of Philip K Dick's short story Paycheck. Unfortunately, that opening credit sequence is the only guaranteed success of the film: The credits appear in white against a background of streaming text (words -- most of them names of the different objects in the envelope that Michael Jennings receives --, the name of the production studio, all interspersed with 0s and 1s). The other meritorious achievement might come from the SFX for the film. However, these effects suffer from two problems: (a) they jut out of the narrative wave and demand attention ("look at me, ain't I cool") (b) they don't assist the goings-on in the way that Spielberg manages to effortlessly achieve (see, in a related way, Minority Report). There are also lots of plugs for Pepsi, and a couple of good lines (If you show someone their future, they have no future; you take away the mystery, you take away hope) as well as some bad grammar (if I knew it wouldn't work out for you and I, before we were together, would I have done it? ... besides, some of the best things in life are total mistakes). The little nuggets in the envelope are more interesting than this flick that seems to try and be a by-the-numbers action thriller and failing to get over a subconscious desire to be a tad more cerebral than the genre might demand. And if you're awake you can even appreciate the homage to Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (the Roger Thornhill-esque aspects of Affleck's character Michael Jennings). Do yourself a favour: read the original PKD story (vastly superior), and then go catch Bullet in the Head.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.