End of Watch. A+, four stars. Blown away with how unexpectedly great this was, and how much I loved it. Start with something like Miami Vice, but dial back the moody cool and swap in more humor and camaraderie. Loved, loved, loved this movie.
The Equalizer. Average, with a few bright points here and there. I love the diner scenes. They build Denzel’s character as the precise, exacting, confident type, but I like the hints of compulsive behavior beyond that. Not just the careful folding of the kitchen towel, or the tea ritual, or the perfectly crisp button-ups, tucked in. There’s the opening and closing the door, flicking the lights on and off, maybe even the car window opening and closing, rearranging the skulls. Nice little wrinkle.
Visually its a mess. It reminded me of the colorfully shifty, dizzying jumps and zooms that Tony Scott used in Man on Fire, except without the thoughtfulness and consistency with mood. Also weakly similar to that movie: there is an art to “walking away slowly from an explosion” scenes, and you have to earn it. You can’t just shove one in the middle of the movie.
I enjoyed the fight scenes. But have to mention something that drove me crazy: the Sherlock Holmes-ian superpower thing in the office brawl. I’m talking about the thing where time is paused or slowed for a moment, where we get to see how the hero analyzes and calculates all the situational details before getting in a rumble – who is where, what weapons they have, the layout of the room. I don’t mind this sort of movie cliché, or this way of making the hero look awesome. That’s fine. What made it frustrating was that the movie had already shown us those details. I assume it was done to heighten the tension beforehand. But it’s draining to show a guy sitting ready with a knife, and then show us Denzel noticing the guy has a knife. I love that stopwatch, though.
All that said: whatever Denzel has, I want it. He’s got charm coming out the ears. And Marton Csokas is awesome.