Saturday, May 10, 2024


Redbelt unreels like a breath of fresh air. A movie with character depth, moral wrong turns, dialogue that both rings true to the environment while adhering to Mametspeak. Games are played, rules are broken. David Mamet makes films that while perhaps predictable (his situations often revolve around con games) strive for intelligence. Yes it's a breath of fresh cinema and not just considering the competition although it helps to live in a reality dictated by haves and have-nots.
The usual Mamet players like Joe Mantegna and Ricky Jay as smarmy people mix and match with well cast actors like Chiwetel Ejiofor and Alice Braga as a couple all of a sudden in debt over their head. Tim Allen pops in playing a really rude type of celebrity, you want to see him bust more Bill Murray moves like the one in Redbelt. Ditto Emily Mortimer as a neurotic lawyer who in retrospect causes a chain of events that escalate in intensity.
Ejiofor runs a martial arts academy but can't afford to pay his employees much less replace the plate glass window that Mortimer just accidentally broke. There's the linear plot with Ejiofor eventually competing in a match to win much needed funds but also a non linear plot that asks the value of intellectual property and at what point an idea can be copyrighted and registered. In this case it's three marbles, two white and one black that are used to determine handicaps during matches. There's also a stirring theatrical spine of honor that aligns the scenes together. The fight sequences lend credence to the truth of Redbelt and include bar fights, stadium sparring and teacher student confrontation.


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