Sunday, 28 September 2014

REVIEW - THE EQUALISER (ANTOINE FUQUA)


The Equaliser is a nasty thriller that has no comprehension of how nasty it is. Indeed, Antoine Fuqua works from Richard Wenk's screenplay as though it were a guidebook on how to be a good American - the result is the very definition of brutish jingoism, dollied up in the guise of a righteous morality tale. Audiences will buy anything with Denzel Washington in the lead. The most callous of all of The Equaliser's flaws is its hypocritical insistence on the nature of a good man, supposedly being one who defends the interests of those close to him at all costs. Washington's former Black Ops officer sees wrong and rights it with a great many more wrongs, defending himself and the simpering souls with whom he associates with vengeance so violent and so remorseless it surely cannot be accepted in earnest. The Equaliser is a film that celebrates pointless, gratuitous viciousness. Supporting characters are largely either thugs or imbeciles, and all stereotypes; Wenk's script situates them here to complete the picture - they fit the mould demanded by the genre's regulations - but has no novel, nor intelligent, nor even expected use for them. They're pallid, pathetic decoration, dissolving in the face of the monolithic barbarity being hard-peddled at the movie's rotten core. By and large, it is a catalogue of horrible violence, the whole film composed in crescendo toward the next episode of bloodletting, those episodes relished with an adrenaline-pumping glee. Again, in earnest, this is hard to stomach, a bit like snuff porn only without any nudity. Washington plays off his charisma alone, choosing to take the easy road rather than develop his role any further than the character description states. Marton Csokas' portrayal of his antagonist is such a calamitous misfire that one wonders who's the greater monster: Csokas or his character?