Sunday, 20 June 2010

Review: Wild Target

Year: 2010
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Screenplay: Lucinda Coxon
Starring: Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Martin Freeman, Gregor Fisher, Rupert Everett

Remakes eh? Who'd want them? Horrible aren't they? Well to some they are god awful things that are destroying the very fabric of cinema, along with 3-D, bad CGI, and of course Brett Ratner. Some of the things I've said have placed some shit streaks on the massive trousers of the medium. Remakes however, have been with us from the very beginning and while the frequency has been ramped up to almost ludicrous amounts, they are really nothing new.

It also seems that the generic outrage that many (including myself to a degree) have over remakes depends on the success of the original feature. So while many have expressed their fury over more "known" films...other remakes such as Insomnia (a remake of a 1997 Norwegian original) and now Wild Target; a remake of a lesser known 1993 french feature, get away with being replicas. So while larger projects have to fight against fanboys before they're even released, other are allowed to slip under the radar. Case in point: This remake version of Wild Target was considered "one of a kind" by imdb user jamiemarks-1.

While not one of a kind, Wild Target is an amusing piece. Jonathan Lynn (Clue) juggles the films dark undercurrents and continental feel, with breezy performances and a light touch. The film has it's flaws, but unlike the MacGruber and Death at a Funeral, this film not only kept it's tone and sense of place but kept me entertained throughout.

What struck me first was the Ealing-esuqe quality the film had. The humor had a certain charm to it that lightly reminded me of such entries as Kind Hearts and Coronets or The Ladykillers. It's timing is no way as strong as the classics of old. Hell, the storytelling doesn't even come close to the sharpness (it takes some predictable turns), however, the film had a similar old school vibe that I just really got on with. I found it hard not to smile at a stiff lipped Bill Nighy, having a crisis of conscience. He just does it so well.

Same goes for Emily Blunt whose sass and sex appeal inject an energy sorely missing from the last endeavor I saw her in (The Wolfman). It's this energy that finds me enjoying her much more in these smaller films than the larger affair. It seems clear to me that with something like Wild Target Blunt is allowed to be more infectious with her character. Where in the wolfman, her role could have been filled by any brunette with an English accent, here she manages to slowly give an irritating character a decent amount of warmth. I'm sure the fact that she's gorgeous in this may have helped things, but in all honesty, looks aside, I did get on with her performance. I also didn't mind Rupert Grint doing his Ron Wesley thing. His turn isn't a stretch but it's one that reminded me why I considered him to be the strongest out of the Hogwarts trio.

It's the likability of the three leads that kept me going throughout Wild Target. It's their performances that allowed me to see past the frustrating editing which hack away at certain aspects of the story in exchange for quicker pacing. They also allowed me to forget the lack of a solid conclusion that really effects the last act of the film, once again down to the bloody editing effecting the narrative of the movie. But as a small British film Wild Target does what it need to do to pass away a good 90 minutes. It didn't overreach and did enough to make me grin on a sunny afternoon.