Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Haywire" (2012) - Movie Review

Only Steven Soderbergh can get Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas to star alongside retired mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano and in the meantime get few of them to be ass kicked by Carano as well. “Haywire” is nothing but a pure thriller, Soberbergh style. Though I expected little bit more of a novel treatment from the man.

The film is a short, tight and precise thriller that goes on without brakes. Gina Carano appears to sharpen her eyes with a devilish knife that scorches nothing but clarity of certain authority over her opponent. She can either simply bring them down hard and raw or bring them down hard and raw and kill. We see her beat the hell out of Channing Tatum’s Aaron and in series of events you will see her beat the people to pulp whenever they are in her way.

From such a great director even the silliest of plot would bloom into a visual extravaganza. Either it becomes a certainty of laying out a character for the film to associate to its central character as in his previous “The Informant” or become a complex of behavioural analysis in presentation and simple things in “The Girlfriend Experience. Here “Haywire” while having the unique quality for a thriller does not get that fulfilling feel of watching a Steven Soderbergh experiment.

Despite that complaint, Gina Carano’s Mallory Kane crashes through the screen with presence and then puts down the men responsible for being trapped and cornered. She of course owes an obligation to the audience and to Scott (Michael Angarano) whose car she is riding to getaway on to explain the details of the misfortune she was put into the private sector contract business. We learn her boss Kenneth (Ewan McGregor), Aaron of course and the Barcelona job. We hear the unknown motivation for Kenneth’s machination to put her to ground. In those stories we see her working her magic through stunts, immense running, sword like speech and execution.

Soderbergh has been the modern wave director breaking convention in ways one could have never even anticipated. He takes on experimental movie making and projects that bring in actors who are not actors and actors whom we cannot imagine playing these kind of roles. Look at “The Informant” wherein he got comedians Patton Oswalt, Joel McHale and Tom Papa to play serious characters and more importantly how they excelled in those roles. Then he brought porn star Sasha Grey to be part of a thorough exemplary film making of depicting human connection and physical relation towards the opposite sex.

And how can I forget “Bubble” the most off beat independent film one can find with people who have never acted to give another subtle presentation of human relationship and instincts. In “Haywire” that is one of the reason we are in wonder to see these stars come by and portray quite simplistic characters. I think I was expecting more out of this oddity than a tight bound thriller. In fact I was able to see one small revelation to be unnecessary which is Mallory’s dad (Bill Paxton) is in on her ploy when Kenneth arrives at his place. The following scene could have done plenty well on its own without knowing that. I believe the fact of that standing out loud and clear made teeny tiny disappointed.

So “Haywire” is not the best of Soderbergh’s film but as his several other not so great films is a thoroughly entertaining one. The actors have wonderful time playing these characters and clearly participating in the hand to hand combat Carano engages them. Gina Carano is undeterred in this role of Mallory which does not resemble Lisbeth nor the regular array of femme fatale. She does her stunts and the camera swerves and angles in directions that for a regular eye goes unnoticeable but carries a presence of this director. Despite my qualms I love the fact that Soderbergh can get these stars and mainly bring in unexpected talents from unrelated sources to his screen and make them bring their best. For that and the non-stop no mess thriller, “Haywire” kicks, punches, claws and get you engaged to leave the hall happily with a smirk.

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