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A bad film, or a film about badness?
on 18 December 2015
Firstly, i have to say that there should be a rating for "I don't know if I liked it or not." That is the immediate reaction elicited by this film. In provoking a troublesome confusion, however, I think it has achieved its purpose, If you want Hollywood simplicity, the victory of good over evil, or just a good old fashioned neat resolution, look elsewhere - or prepare to be disappointed.
Here's the thing, though (and I'll try not to completely spoil it if you're reading this before watching): the viewer is left to contemplate the the unresolved situation of the protagonist. He is probably, to coin a phrase, a dead man walking. Perhaps, though, he is not. Not in the sense that his imminent death is inevitable, but that he believes it to be the case. Furthermore, he has lost all that he valued and is left walking alone in a horrible that is partly of his own creation; which is pretty much what the bad guy on the end of the phone tells him when he begs for help. Perhaps this is his fate; to spend his days fearing a retributional death that is not coming and in doing so, forfeiting any real life?
The message is probably as complex, or as simple as you wish to make it, like life and the human condition. On the one hand you might invite yourself to consider the complexities of illegal markets in the 21st century and the spider's web of victims that suffer because the spiders of this world always want more money, On the other hand you can simply accept that bad stuff happens if you get involved in dealing drugs. All very Shakespearian, in a way, except with guns, cars and diamond wearing cheetahs instead of iambic pentameter and choreographed swordplay.
Nobody complains that Banqo's ghost is never seen to take satisfaction from Macbeth's demise, or that Gloucester's cruel eye gauging is forgiven once King Lear's madness finally gets him to see sense, but people seem to expect this film to resolve all the problems it poses. I suspect, though, that the whole point was to highlight the problems to which nobody has yet found a solution. Perhaps that is why it is a tough film to like, but does that make it a bad film, or just a film about badness?