Monday, 1 August 2011

Film Review: Blitz

Sergeant Tom Brant (Statham) is the plod's 'unorthodox' arm of the law. When a crazed lunatic calling himself 'The Blitz' (Gillen) begins killing coppers, Brant and gay detective Porter Nash (Considine) must use unconventional methods to capture him before more die.

To put it bluntly, Blitz is shit. The dialogue is cheesy, there are plot holes galore, and the characters are so rigid that it's difficult to watch without wincing. It features a completely superfluous side-story arc involving a drug-addicted officer (Ashton) which is so needless and melodramatic that it detracts from the film at large and threatens to usurp the main plot. However, Blitz has maybe two things going for it. First, it has incredibly slick cinematography, adding an essence of gritty realism to the streets of London. Second, it is well paced, which almost makes the rest of it tolerable in that you need not spend too much time contemplating the bullshit just thrown at you.

There are no real character explorations; Sergeant Brant for example is an arsehole just because he's an arsehole. While there may be a glint in Statham's eye that he's enjoying the absurdity of everything, the ultimate impression is that rather than taking the role seriously he's just having a bit of fun. As far as Statham's violent reptoire goes Blitz actually seems to subdue his violence skills, reduced to only a few scenes of bar-brawl type fisticuffs. His by the book partner, Considine's Nash, is gay, thus naturally suffers abuse from his colleagues at the station, and Zawe Ashton is terribly cast as PC Elizabeth Falls, a wholly unbelievable character who bears similarity to a plank of wood. Gillen's cop killer Barry Weiss seems to be the only one taking it all seriously, displaying shades of the Dark Knight's Joker. However, his character's motivations are weak and doesn't do anything fundamentally new with the psychotic criminal role.

Blitz almost succeeds as a reasonable throwaway romp, but it suffers from sitting on the fence. Indeed, it is never entirely sure what it wants to be; sometimes passing serious, damning indictments on the police and acting as a social commentary, other times becoming a melodramatic farce. You'll get what you expect in a stoic hardnut like Statham doing what he does best - sort of - but Blitz is ultimately unedifying, lacking any conviction as to its purpose.