This is a line.
On one side of this line is a hard-hitting movie about two friends, one who wants to be a cop and another who becomes one. And how their paths slowly diverge until they are on opposite sides of a loaded gun. And a serial rapist and kidnapper who stands between them and drives the action. It is devoid of flab, features good acting and realistic dialogue and is absolutely riveting.Now, on the other side is a bloated mess of a movie involving two actors whose heavily accented dialogue delivery detracts from the authenticity of most scenes they are in. And a serial rapist and kidnapper whose actions speak louder than his acting. And much kidnapping and rape, never shown (thankfully), yet hinted at in so many ways that the movie feels at times exploitative. And dialogue that is so clunky, you feel like taking the writer out and shooting him in the kneecaps. And overused camera angles that sometimes detract from the storytelling.
Okay, you see that line? You see what’s on both sides on it? Now listen carefully:
You are on the wrong side of that line.
To your credit, you did get some things right. The movie has a good plot that attains serious momentum in the second half. It has some scenes that are written so well, they almost belong to some other movie. Like one where a distraught father pleads for help from the cops to figure out how to use a feature on his phone. Or one where the hero realizes that his casual approach to his job may have cost someone his life — you made that point so beautifully without actually verbalizing it. Nice work!
The shot composition and camera work is something I noticed throughout the movie. However, I don’t necessarily mean this in a good way. Like the way the aforementioned scene is shot so that the viewer is a participant in the action rather than an observer – fantastic. Or another scene shot entirely at foot level, simply to underline one character’s fear of being caught doing something wrong. These scenes work because of how they are shot. However, these tricks are used so often in the rest of the movie without much reason that I figure it’s a case of a stopped watch telling the right time twice in a day.
And then there are all those scenes that are designed for dramatic effect rather than with any sense of realism. A fight with a bunch of goons in a hospital, where each of them approaches the hero one at a time, even after the first couple of guys got injured trying to take him on. A badly done song featuring the lead pair when just the look in her eyes and a little snatch of music in the background would’ve sufficed. And don’t even get me started on the fistfight between two characters with guns. Seriously, dude, WTF?
On the whole, this is a movie that could have been wonderful. You missed that mark by a wide margin. Pity.
You got some writing skills. I won’t deny that. But what you lack is the discipline to keep it taut. Develop that, and you’ll be a force to reckon with.
And please, for the love of God, get someone else to direct or learn the art well enough to do it yourself.