From the director of... Shakespeare in Love? Seriously? No, it's not that old football dude, it's a different John Madden, and he's attempting to shed his Shakespeare cred and get into Coen brothers territory with this Elmore Leonard-adapted tale of what happens at the intersection of Real Estate Boulevard and Low Life Parkway in Killshot. Unfortunately, the story dies a death of a thousand paper cuts... maybe about five or six hundred, to be fair. Logic is not as rigorously applied here as it is in Coen brothers films and commercials.
Yes, 2008 was a busy year for Mickey Rourke. There was this movie and an appearance in a Bret Easton Ellis movie, in addition to his big Oscar push for The Wrestler. So if you're willing to buy him here as a Native American, it might help a little. Then we've got Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a lowlife criminal ruled by his impulses. His girlfriend is played by Rosario Dawson, and I'm assuming the role is a little less thankless than her role in Pluto Nash. Their relationship reminded me a bit of Samuel L. Jackson and Bridget Fonda in Jackie Brown.
To turn this into a veritable Love Pentagon, there's the estranged Colsons, played by Diane Lane and Thomas Jane... hey! That rhymes! No wonder their marriage is on the rocks! They run afoul of the undynamic duo of Rourke and Gordon-Levitt when Gordon-Levitt's extortion scheme goes from half-baked to completely deflated, like the Stooges' cake in An Ache in Every Stake... sorry, I tried to keep these Three Stooges references mutually exclusive and separated from regular film interviews, but it's tough in this case.
And so, the bad guys spend the rest of the movie trying to get rid of the witnesses. To skip ahead a bit, and ... SPOILER ALERT... the beleaguered Colsons end up going into the Witness Protection program. There's a false resolution to the Colsons' troubles, so they end up coming out of the Witness Protection program. Somehow, it doesn't feel right, and I blame this on GoodFellas. The Hills didn't just come out of Witness Protection. It was the end of the movie, and they were pretty much in there for life. Sure, Henry had trouble adjusting to it all, but still.
There's a couple good moments here, like Lionel Adam's last scene, and when... SPOILER ALERT... Wayne Colson tries to win back Carmen with some smooth talk on their porch at the end of the movie. Then, he notices the dead body lying on the floor in the kitchen, and he smoothly changes his tactics. Really, aren't all courtships like this? Admit it, girls. Ultimately, however, I prefer my movies to be half-ass logically consistent. First the mob wants to kill Mickey Rourke's character, then they help him out. C'mon, guys, don't be incompetent like Fat Tony on The Simpsons. Also, I forget when it happened, but I suddenly found myself rooting against Blackbird and his would-be protegé and replacement/surrogate kid brother Gordon-Levitt and, like Joe Pesci in 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, I didn't care about their goals so much, let alone if they were completed or not.
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan