After years and years learning the technical and narrative ins and outs of the seventh art, gobbling up feature films practically every day and having the good fortune to work analyzing them, I have learned the hard way to differentiate between enjoying during a screening and what we could call get excited about a movie. A concept that can be abstract at first, but that, I think, makes sense.
This feeling, increasingly atypical and that, honestly, I come to miss a lot, goes beyond having a great time —which is enough, everything is said—, and plunges you into a state of cinematographic infatuation that, once Once the lights in the movie theater come on, it translates into a feeling of admiration and some envy that makes you think “I wish I could do something like this one day”.
Lately this has happened to me with a handful of titles. It happened to me with ‘The Guest’, it happened to me with ‘Green Room’, it happened to me with ‘Cold in July’, and this week I experienced something very similar with ‘Assassin’s Game’; the new film by Joe Carnahan with which the Californian once again offers us accurate entertainment as the best hitman you can hireand that replaces multi-million dollar budgets with an overwhelming personality and tons of talent.
longed for freedom
Today, Joe Carnahan continues without disappointing. It doesn’t matter what you bet on survival in the fantastic ‘White Hell’, that he get serious in titles like ‘Narc’, that he bet on science fiction as he did in ‘Dies Again’ or that he dares to redraw a television classic like ‘The A-Team’ ; his look of artisan storyteller ends up imposing itself on tones, genres and licenses.
However, ‘Assassin’s Game’ manages to occupy a prominent place in his filmography by combining elements in a way that aligns, bridging the gap, with his work on ‘Hot Aces’; combining high-voltage action with great success and with a certain old spirit, a crazy and pitch-black humor and that brand-name pulp thriller. An infallible cocktail enriched by an enviable lack of complexes.
But in the midst of impossible shootouts, deaths, betrayals and double games, this kind of twist “a la Carnahan” of ‘Assault on the 13th Precinct Police Station’ —which intelligently expresses its premise of a story bottled up in a police station—, manages to captivate the most receptive viewer thanks to an unexpected element: an assortment of surprisingly caring characters and with a tremendously balanced emotional charge despite the lightness that surrounds the production.
The way they are designed on paper makes the game of empathy simple, a priori impossible, with protagonists —and antagonists!— whose moral balances are as unbalanced as their personalities. But, if in the last instance, murderers, psychopaths and policemen who are too intense, manage to put the respectable in their pocket, it is thanks to a cast dedicated in body and soul and that seems to be having a great timestarting with Frank Grillo, Gerard Butler and Alexis Louder, and ending with a hilarious Toby Huss which steals all the foci of the function.
Above all that has been exposed so far, the irrepressible verbiage of his lines of dialogue, his return to the bases of the actor several decades ago and the staging of a Carnahan in a state of grace, If something makes ‘Assassin’s Game’ so special, it is its tremendous freedom. Its status as a breath of fresh air that makes us dream of a world in which, as a common practice, a small —almost tiny— portion of the budget of the multimillionaire blockbuster on duty is cut to give it to authors who want to play and get out of the norm. .