Fri 26 Jul 2013
Here is one action movie that succeeds in a very original manner to say more about the America of today (or of a few years ago) than many other ‘serious’, ‘social’, ‘politically-engaged’ film. It does it so in a very Tarantinesque manner, but it’s Tarantino violent and milieu films with a twist. Or more than a twist.
Apparently director Andrew Dominik made just another gangster story. We can locate exactly when it takes place, as the soundtrack mixes music with speeches from the final weeks of the 2008 presidential campaign. A couple of low level losers gangsters rob an illegal poker house, which is owned by the mob. The reprisals will not be late into showing up because crime is a business and there are several levels this business is operated. One of the greatest qualities of this film is to catch the characters that populate the different layers of the crime industry and bring them to screen (with the help of a well selected and directed cast) in a very credible manner – from the drug-addicted burglars in rags to the smooth business-like manipulators at the higher levels who do not look too different from the corporate America managers, certainly not when they sip their Martinis.
This is maybe the last great role of James Gandolfini (I did not see yet ‘Zero Dark Thirty’) and he has a couple of poignant scenes with Brad Pitt, fighting overweight, bad health and a feeling of mid-life lack of achievement which may stay as one of the last memories we are left from him. We will also be left with the memory of the final replica which puts the story in the context of a country which is run as a violent and uncompromising business. Certainly just one of the meanings of America today.