When does a movie that’s nothing but shooting and swearing cease being a simple genre goof and become wearying nihilism? There’s certainly the set-up for a satisfyingly brutal Ten Little Indians style tale in co-writer/director Ben Wheatley’s action crime thriller which finds a 1970s arms deal in an abandoned warehouse going sideways and turning into a guns-blazing mess. The cast brings in some fun talent—Sharlto Copley optimizing his over-the-top qualities as a cowardly weapons dealer, Armie Hammer as a foppish middleman, Sam Riley as a hapless heroin addict, Cillian Murphy as a taciturn Irish Republican Army fighter—and the potential mystery of who double-crossed them all. But there’s not nearly enough personality to go around with this bunch of characters, leaving little to the proceedings but watching the various creative and unpleasant ways in which they are wounded and eventually killed. It’s kinda cool for a while, but lacking that burst of humanity and/or tart dialogue that can elevate similar scenarios from the likes of Quentin Tarantino or Martin McDonagh. All that remains is brutality, and there comes a point when it’s just not funny anymore.
Director: Ben Wheatley
Producer: Andy Starke, Martin Scorsese, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Reno Antoniades, David Kosse, Sam Lavender, Ben Roberts, Lizzie Francke, Danny Perkins and Dan MacRae
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Jack Reynor, Babou Ceesay, Enzo Cilenti, Sam Riley, Michael Smiley, Noah Taylor, Tom, Mark Monero and Patrick Bergin