Friday, May 16, 2008
2008 drama by writer/director David Mamet, whose done some of my very favorite flicks ever like State and Main, The Untouchables and The Spanish Prisoner, and this one certainly falls right in with his best work. Redbelt is about a period in the life of David Terry, a man who runs a traditional, Brazilian-style Jiu-Jitsu academy in South Los Angeles. He is a purist, who thinks things like fight videos and competitions "weaken" the art. Instead, Terry teaches people like cops, bodyguards and soldiers to, as he puts it, "prevail." For him, this is the whole point of it all...to prevail, to beat the odds stacked against you. He has two mantras "there's always an escape, find the escape" and "insist on the move." What he means is, there's always a way to prevail and if you see an opportunity, insist on realizing it. These lessons come in handy as the odds certainly start stacking against him during the period in which we get to be a part of his life. He is a pure, honor-driven man in LA, a town that could give a crap about honor and purity and when he sees this first hand, he must figure out how to prevail. It's a great movie. The performances are great, the cinematography is great and the tone is especially great. It's like a slow, steady rhythm. It feels wholly realistic from the very first moment. There's no catchy soundtrack, no fancy camera works or effects, just real people, dealing with real problems. The best part of this movie, besides the tone, is the performance of Chiwetel Ejiofor and I hope this performance gives him alot of attention, that he certainly deserves. He's been good before, in some pretty big movies, like American Gangster, but for some reason doesn't get much talk. Well he's once again great here and I hope he gets some attention from this and more jobs. If you want to see him at his best, then check out Dirty Pretty Things, a great movie that features an absolutely fantastic performance by Ejiofor. So, long story short, Redbelt is a great flick, with a great message, and is certainly worth your time. Hopefully, it leads you to more flicks made by Mamet and some starring Ejiofor.