THRILLER; 1hr 43min
STARRING: Joel Kinnaman, Harold Torres, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Scott Mescudi
Night terror: Kinnaman
Not a syllable is spoken in this densely conducted venge-fest from director John Woo (Face/Off ). For one thing, the antihero at the centre of the ceaseless action (For All Mankind ’s Kinnaman as Brian Godluck) has lost his ability to speak after being shot in the throat by a psycho (Torres). Then, too, pace is filmic currency for Woo, who, through a lattice of flashbacks from screenwriter Robert Archer Lynn, briskly pieces Brian’s piteous backstory together while getting down to his extremely mean business.
Not that there’s a lot of story to piece: after his seven-year-old son (Anthony Giulietti) is killed on Christmas Eve by a rogue bullet in a drive-by gang shooting in the garden of his Los Palomas family home, Brian, in his pursuit of the thugs responsible, also cops a bullet that renders him mute and thirsting for an evening of the score. The scorch of fury is his new reason for being, laying waste to his relationship with his heartbroken wife (Sandino Moreno). Hell-bent Brian can’t afford to either allow that that to stop him or to let the detective on the case (Mescudi, aka Kid Cudi) to do his job unaided. Over 12 months he trains like the maniac he now is, honing his shooting, knifing and driving skills with the deranged objective of lives for a life.
It’s a tall order for Kinnaman to wordlessly sell Brian as a sweetheart in a handful of expository scenes (and sell Brian he must, or why would we care), before descending into full-bore badassery. He keeps his act together with the stripped-down purpose of a sawn-off shotgun, pushing through a roar of engines and staccato hellfire, despite Brian being physically sick over how far he is prepared to go. And when killing is your currency, how far will always be too far. Say no more.