The Equalizer

the-equalizer
DIR: Antoine Fuqua  • WRI: Richard Wenk • PRO: Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Denzel Washington • DOP: Mauro Fiore • ED: John Refoua • DES: Naomi Shohan • MUS: Harry Gregson-Williams • CAST: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo

The Equalizer is in essence a reboot of the 1980s television show of the same time. The story follows McCall (not to be confused with McClane). McCall is a man with a mysterious government-tainted past who uses his unique set of skills to help those who could not escape the clutches of danger themselves. This movie reboot is significantly darker than its predecessor and Denzel Washington works hard to reinvent a much beloved character as his own.

Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) makes a strained attempt to move on from a mysterious past but can’t help but intervene when he uncovers a young woman Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz) under the control of Russian gangsters. McCall vows to help her in whatever way he can -thus unleashing a protective fury that would probably make Liam Neeson blush

The Equalizer certainly doesn’t feel like your average TV cop show reboot and feels more like a welcome addition to the Bourne saga as we witness McCall’s inability to shake off a not-so-distant pass when faced with the peril of others. It is slightly jarring as we are so used to the comedic timing of a witty ex-cop John McClane archetype, that here Washington plays a somewhat introverted, more pensive and less charismatic character which takes the film from an average action thriller to a suspenseful character-driven narrative.

Personally speaking, I am notoriously squeamish and whilst The Equalizer is expectedly gory and explosive in parts, it only occasionally feels excessive as the viewer is brought straight back into the heart of the story through its fully developed three-dimensional characters. The downside to this being the fact that we are expecting an all-out action offensive, which does unfortunately mean that the switch to character-driven dramatic thriller makes the film seem overly long in parts.

Washington gives a good performance here as we have come to expect, but Chloe Grace Moretz steals the show in a role intended for someone much older. Her talent far belies her age as she strays far away from previous roles here. Moretz has already managed to avoid teen typecasting and has shown her strengths in a variety of roles this year, solidifying her status as one of today’s brightest young actresses.

Whilst The Equalizer is far from an inspired tale and may not stay with you for years to come, it certainly defies expectation. Once you’ve got yourself set up ready for a traditional fun brainless action movie, you might be surprised to find yourself sucked in with this suspenseful and engaging thriller with characters you realize you don’t really want to see blown up.

If that’s not a good endorsement for an action movie, I don’t know what is.

 

Ciara  O’Brien

16 (See IFCO for details)

131 minutes

The Equalizer is released 26th September 2014

The Equalizer – Official Website

 

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We Love… Trash – Reeker

 

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

There are nights when you look through your DVD collection and none of your favourite films float your boat  – what you need is some serious Trash –  the black sheep of your collection; something so bad that makes you feel good. Warning: to appreciate these films booze is recommended. And so over the next couple of weeks the Film Ireland collection of filmaholics shed their dignity, hide their shame and open their bins to reveal their trashiest films in the latest installment of…

We Love…

Trash

Reeker

(Dave Payne)

‘… what I love to hate about this movie is the simple fact that they are being haunted by what I like to call ‘the smelly ghost fog’ … ’

Ciara Lianne O’Brien

I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I am quite a lover of trashy TV, if it involves people falling over, having outlandish weddings, or being ill-equipped to raise their impending child; I’m guaranteed to love it and tune in week after week. When we move to film, something has changed in the general consensus and somehow the worst of the worst trashy movies we can imagine are the ones we will happily queue up for special screenings of. Whilst we would rarely admit to what we actually watched on television last night, there is a certain pride that comes with our trashy movie loves. The beautiful thing about it is that our fondness for trashy film transcends genre and almost everyone has a new one to add to your ‘must-watch’ list. One of my own personal favourites is the 2005 horror miss Reeker.

Reeker follows a group of strangers inexplicably trapped in an apparently spooky desert oasis. If it wasn’t enough that they are plagued by visions of death, they also must escape a decaying creature that preys on them, hoping to kill them in the most violent of ways. What makes this movie a guilty pleasure trashy film love for me is not the awkward cinematography, the stunted dialogue, or the convenience of having a blind man with a strong nose around while being haunted by something that you can’t see but you can certainly smell, what I love to hate about this movie is the simple fact that they are being haunted by what I like to call ‘the smelly ghost fog’. We see only glimpses of the wispy creature which plagues our plucky protagonists, but we gather that it smells god-awful. I can only hope that the idea was pitched as ‘smelly ghost fog’.

At times Reeker fancies itself as the new Saw, with an onslaught of unlikely and horrifying murders, but it seems unsure of whether or not to throw itself entirely into the newly emerging ‘torture-porn’ genre and, as a result throws a twist in at the end in order to hyphenate its generic status to ‘horror-mystery’. When Saw first emerged, it was the violence which shocked audiences, but there was a certain intelligence to the layout of the film which, like Silence of the Lambs made it even more frightening. Whilst Reeker pulled off the torture-porn violence, it is lacking in that intelligence and elicits more giggles than screams. The twist towards the end is guaranteed to surprise some viewers, but as a lover of the genre, it became glaringly obvious that the entire movie is built around the premise of this twist, which points out major conveniences in the story which I would have been happier without. Whereas I love the strong-nosed blind man chasing the smelly ghost, the twist adds purpose and removes some charm for me.

There is a massive upside to all this mockery, when doing some research for this article I happened upon; No Man’s Land: The Rise of Reeker. That’s right, there’s a prequel and I couldn’t be more excited. Needless to say I’ll be curling up on the couch tonight; I have a hot date with a Smelly Ghost Fog.

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