Tag Archives: Ewan McGregor

Haywire (2011)

I miss Steven Soderbergh. I wish the talented director of Out Of Sight, Magic Mike and Behind The Candelabra hadn’t retired. Still I recently got to see his 2011 action-thriller Haywire, can this briefly fill the void I’ve been missing?

Mallory (Gina Carano) works for a private company on ‘operations’, where her last case was rescuing a hostage. However all is not as it seems and soon after Mallory is running for her life with her former colleagues and the police after her. 

The opening scene is great as we’re introduced to Mallory and her colleague Aaron (Channing Tatum) at a small diner in upstate New York, which features a brutal and unexpected fight scene before going back in time to see how they ended up like this. From then on Haywire is an intreaging, fun, action film with also a nice amount of humour which helps break up the complicated plot and take a breather from the adrenaline packed fight scenes.

It’s great to see a strong female as the lead character in an action film. Steven Soderbergh built the role of Mallory around Carano who had never acted before, instead she was a mixed martial artist fighter. As expected the fight scenes are the high point in this film with Carano doing all her own stunts. Although she is not the most expresive actress she handles the role well and is strongly supported by her more experience cast members (most of whom she proceeds to beat up). Michael Fassbender in particular is great as a British operative and Bill Paxton has fun as Mallory’s protective dad. Only Ewan McGregor as Mallory’s boss and ex husband feels a bit out of place in the film, maybe because its hard to imagine tough cookie Mallory falling for such a slimeball.

However there are some downsides to this film that can’t be overlooked. The plot is overly complicated and confusing, I found it difficult to keep up at times and remember what the hell is going on and who is who and what they were doing. There is also moments of extream stupidity by the villians of the piece  and considering they are all meant to be intellegant people you wonder how they got their high powered jobs in the first place.

Although not perfect, Haywire is a fun film and reminds you of how versatile a director Soderbergh is,  jumping into different genres and coming up with something interesting and entertaining. It’s a shame we won’t be seeing any new movies from him, but if you’re a fan of Soderbergh and like action films, then give Haywire and Carano a chance. Just don’t expect to understand the plot.

Rating 3.5/5-too overly complicated for its own good but the fight scenes are ace.

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The Impossible (2012)

I was not sure I would ever see this movie. My gut reaction when I initially saw the trailer for this was “it’s too soon!”. I wasn’t sure if Hollywood could take this real life situation of the 2004 tsunami and not turn it into a crass disaster movie. However even I had to admit that the special effects of the tsunami were  impressive and the reviews I read were mostly positive so I decided to give it a go, and I’m glad I did.

The Bennet family are spending Christmas in Thailand when the tsunami hits their beach hotel and they are separated from each other. They must try to survive the tsunami and find each other amid the devastation left in its wake. The film is based on the true story of the Belon family.

I was crying practically during the whole film. I think this was mostly to do with the fact it’s  based on true events and ones that only happened nine years ago. The scenes that probably made me cry the most were the small moments in the film. A little boy stroking Maria Bennet’s (Naomi Watts) hair, a group of local Thai women giving Maria a top after her clothes are torn, a man  allowing Henry (Ewan McGregor) to use his phone even though he’s saving the power to find his own missing family.

Director J.A Bayona has done a fantastic job with this film, more sensitively handled than I expected  The scenes of the tsunami are breathtakingly horrific and the injuries sustained by the characters are not glossed over. Maria hasn’t been given a Hollywood gloss-she looks appropriately terrible with her cuts and injuries shown in gruesome detail. However the film doesn’t come across as sensationalism or exploiting what has happened. It was also good that the film made a point of showing the local Thai people who went in to help families and individuals after the tsunami hit.

It still bothers me that the family, who are Spanish, have been changed to a British one. But at least the film has gathered actors who handle the roles sensitively and the acting is top class, as you would expect from Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts (fully deserving her best actress nomination). Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergast are exceptionally good as the Bennet’s three young sons. Special praise has to go to Tom Holland who plays their eldest son Lucas, and was breaking my heart throughout the entire film. I have a feeling he’ll be someone to look out for in the future.

Rating 4/5- A harrowing but breathtaking film filled with wonderful performances.

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