Thursday, May 05, 2005

Man On Fire (2004)

"Now you wait here, in the centre of the blaze..." "Are you drunk? oh right..."

Genre: Action Crime Drama Thriller (USA, UK, Mexico)

Starring: Denzel Washington (Fallen; Training Day), Dakota Fanning (In The Realms Of The Unreal; War Of The Worlds)

Directed By: Tony Scott (True Romance; Top Gun)

Overview: A down on his luck drunk hires himself out as bodyguard to a wealthy Mexican family, given the task of guarding a young girl.

Acting: This Dakota Fanning, holy impressive. She narrated In the Realms of the Unreal, and her voice was perfect for that eerie little film, but it's quite obvious that she's got more talent that half of Hollywood, that's right Keanu, look out. And in this movie, Denzel's subtle character spoke volumes, until it shot out of its shell. Amaaaazing.
Rating: 8

The movie starts with a few interesting effects, and as it develops, the effects become more plentiful and the filters get harsher, in perfect unison with the darkening mood of the film. This is awesome. Great shots of Mexico City's rich quarters juxtaposed with helicopter shots of the slums. This was definitely well thought out.
Rating: 9

Script: The writing was intelligent and the characters were really well defined by the lines they spoke. The reactions are appropriate, nothing illogical, the plot is explained just enough without forcefeeding us. Great stuff.

Rating: 8

The plot does this thing that sets up a predictability of flow. We all know how it's going to end and what's going to take place. Then all of a sudden, a twist that you couldn't imagine. It was art from beginning to end. And finally another predictable conclusion is set up, and AGAIN is shattered and replaced by a change in mood and direction. Not your happy little rescue plot, definitely. See this!
Rating: 9

The movie is all mood. Subtitles that streak across the screen as they speak, sometimes translating, sometimes adding weight to the spoken English. Like The Pillow Book, the subtitles are more than just words to be read, it's part of the movie. Those camera effects and the harsh cinematography also lend weight. As for the score, they even pulled subtle overdubs of harsh grief tunes over happy melodies. Honestly, truly mindblowing.
Rating: 9

"Yo, What up Dakota Dawg?" "Not much, How about yo negro?"

Overall Rating: 86% (Searing Hot!)

Aftertaste: This movie, like Minority Report, was a completely underrated, under-the-radar kind of film. Maybe it's that Denzel has been making those "too Hollywood" productions, like the ill-reputed Manchurian Candidate, but I swear I've never heard anything from anyone about this. I recommend this to anyone who likes the darkness of Se7en, mixed with the black-hearted vengeance of The Crow. Seriously, if you like these themes, this film will definitely not let you down. It's a great movie, and memorable to me.