Thursday, July 18, 2013

3 Short Paragraphs: Redemption

2013, Steven Knight (writer, Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises) -- download

Redemption (in the US) or perhaps Hummingbird (in England) or perhaps even Crazy Joey (France) is the directorial debut of screenwriter Steven Knight, known for Dirty Pretty Things and Eastern Promises. This just seems right to me, as both the movies dealt with an exposure to violence and the place of immigrants in an urban society. That might be smelting the characteristics down too easily, but let me say, all three feel like his movies. And that is a good thing, meaning the directors of the other two felt respectful enough to retain the tone he had written.

This movie, when read off the back of a video box, is your typical Statham vehicle. Joey is an ex-special forces, sorry, Royal Marine who is suffering PTSD from his tour in Afghanistan. He is living on the street, preyed on by thugs. "Don't hurt them!" cries his girlfriend Isabel. Instead Joey takes a terrible beating and while escaping, falls (literally) into the expensive flat of Damon, who is out of country for the season. Joey takes the opportunity, and yes it is an opportunity of theft, to clean himself up living in the flat, wearing Damon's clothes and driving his car. And a cleaner Joey is an employable Joey but still a violent Joey thus he ends up working for chinese gangsters, all the while trying to avenge the murder of Isabel. But Sister Cristina, who tends to the homeless in the area, believes he can ultimately redeem himself, fully.

For the first time, in a very long time, I sat watching a movie utterly undistracted. I cannot say for sure why it sucked me in, but it did. It was as if they took a character that Jason Statham plays so well (I often wonder what Statham would have been like if he carried on with the type of character from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), the violent very skilled warrior with a dark past, and just played out the other aspects of his personality. Oh, the violence is there but what drew me in were his quiet interactions with the nun Cristina, their budding "romance", if you can call it that, but definitely a respect & support that grew between the two. While there is an attempt at redemption, the summer plays itself out for both characters and leaves them more or less who they already were, but with a bit of self-revelation.