Hummingbird (aka Redemption) review: pity poor Jason Statham
Some of it is hilariously awful, and some is just plain awful. But Statham’s attempt to be taken seriously as an actor is honest, at least.
I’m “biast” (pro):
have been hoping to see more serious work from Jason Statham
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
Poor ol’ Stath. He’s trying to be taken more seriously as an actor. His attempt here is honest, and I respect him for it, but he’s gonna have to choose better scripts… and maybe better directors, too. Could be that on paper, Hummingbird (aka Redemption in the U.S.) looked more propitious: it’s from the same guy who wrote Dirty Pretty Things and Eastern Promises, after all, both of which turned out brilliant in the hands of, respectively, directors Stephen Frears and David Cronenberg. But screenwriter Steven Knight is here making his feature debut as director (though he has also directed some British TV), which may make this a teaching case for exploring the impact, for good or ill, that a director has on a film; spoiler: Knight’s work as director here does not improve upon his script. On the other hand, there’s some hilariously awful stuff in the script that it’s hard to imagine even the greatest ever director improving… and some just plain awful stuff that should simply be stricken from any script by anybody from here on without some very special dispensation that guarantees it’s treated in a smart way. Such as the repulsive “woman sacrificed for a man’s spiritual journey” trope, as happens here when homeless Afghan war vet Joey Jones (Jason Statham: The Expendables 2) vows to get his life in order after his street friend Isabel (Victoria Bewick) is forced into prostitution by London gangsters. Joey’s other friend here? Cristina (Agata Buzek). Who is a nun. While we wait to learn which woman will be offered up so that Joey’s soul may be redeemed — will it be the virgin, or the whore? — Joey enjoys the good life in the luxury flat he lucked into (by breaking in to, by pure dumb luck), the rich occupant not due to return for many months; among the pile of mail is a brand-new ATM card and accompanying PIN, allowing Joey to get back on his feet. Or someone else’s feet. But really, he’s gonna go straight, honestly… by working as muscle for a Chinese mobster (Benedict Wong: Prometheus). It’s all intended to be terribly solemn and terribly tragic, I think — like how Joey hallucinates a flock of hummingbirds when his PTSD kicks in, for reasons unexplained and inexplicable, except Art. But it’s all absolutely ridiculous and histrionic.