Friday, 3 October 2008

Red Belt Review

Such is the potty mouthed nature of Red Belts screenwriter/director that he's managed to be the inspiration for a joke. It goes like this. A businessman passes a begger and tells him '"Neither a borrower, nor a lender be" - that's William Shakespeare'. The Beggar replies '"Fuck You!" - thats David Mamet'. Now I didn't say it was the funniest joke in the world but it sums up one particular Mametism. Other Mametisms such as regular people being shat on and incredible performances are in spades.

Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Mike Terry a martial arts teacher who is not only the most noble guy in the world but also the nicest, most unselfish and quite importantly for a fight movie, the hardest man in the world. When he saves the life of Tim Allen (yes thats right Home Improvement's Tim Allen) in a bar fight his life changes from the quiet, poor, but noble existence into one that brushes a little too close to a Hollywood lifestyle.

This being Mamet the dangling carrot of bogus happiness is quickly taken away and the people being shat on that I spoke of earlier is turned up to full. The shitters this time are the entertainment industry, from pay-per-view fighting to the filmmakers of Hollywood. At times the film reads like Bambi Vs Godzilla writ large. Which can only be a good thing.

There are faults, however. Plotholes seem to abound toward the end including some huge leaps of faith on the part of the audience and Mamet still can't write women that aren't fucked up or duplicious but as a Never Back Down for people with half a brain Red Belt works just fine. As for Chewies performance I'd be more than happy to see him in a tux come Awards season next year.

No comments: