Friday, October 24, 2008

Back in the Saddle

So I've returned to my post at DVD Verdict, offering detailed DVD and Blu-Ray reviews for your reading pleasure.  Posted yesterday was my take on American Gangster, while in the coming weeks you can look forward to reviews of The Perfect Holiday, This Christmas, and the documentary Family Name.  Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

There's always an escape - Movie Review: Redbelt

David Mamet - he of dialogue in iambic pentameter and double crosses so slick they could lubricate your kneecap - approaches the traditional fight film in a non-traditional way with Redbelt.  Protagonist Mike Terry is a martial arts master for whom honour and respect are paramount, but when he gets mixed up with an aging movie star and a bi-polar lawyer, he finds that the messy state of the world is the ultimate test of that honour.

The brilliance in this film is that it follows all of the traditional tropes of the fight film - specifically the reluctant fighter ultimately choosing to battle the antagonist for the prize  - yet in a completely original manner.  Without giving too much away, Terry has no intention of fighting for anything but self defense, yet he inadvertently gets drawn into training for and executing the battle anyway, winning a prize he didn't even know he was after.

Acting is great across the board, and Robert Elswit's cinematography, as per usual, is sumptuous (see  Michael Clayton and There Will Be Blood, two films he shot last year, for more proof).  This is a thinking man's fight picture, totally engrossing and unencumbered by Hollywood gloss.