Wrath of Man

Wrath of Man ★★★★½

83

Wrath of Man is Jason Statham and Guy Ritchie at the top of their game, but it doesn't feel quite like a game they've played before. Sure, the narrative is overtly familiar, a revenge story mixed with the tactical violence of a bank heist movie, but the structure effortlessly maneuvers through tired dramatic beats. It brings the viewer to unique perspectives of scenarios we may have already seen, and much of the tension is not from the action itself, although it's still hard-hitting, bruising stuff, but the unfolding psychology of Statham's H: a man who begins as a blank slate, a mere cover for a harrowing history. He provides a great performance here. It may not all be fully successful - the poetic chapter break titles are weirdly unnecessary, and some of the dialogue doesn't quite land - but Guy Ritchie does his best to strip out anything extraneous. He takes a barebones premise and reorganizes it to just the right temperature. Some may be disappointed that this doesn't fit the typical Ritchie mold, but I found it invigorating. Shades of S. Craig Zahler, The Limey, even Jules Dassin. It figures that it was adapted from Le Convoyeur, from 2006. It doesn't really have an American crime feel, although the LA setting is beautifully explored. This is tightly-wound genre filmmaking above all, with ravishing costuming and production design, and a two-hour run-time that flies by.

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