Monday, 20 July 2015

REVIEW - LILA & EVE (CHARLES STONE III)


I don't know if a great performance can rescue a terrible film, but in as much as it is a part of that terrible film, it can at least edge it closer to greatness. Lila & Eve is a pulpy thriller that desperately wishes to be anything but; in aspiring toward profundity, it stumbles upon intelligence it hardly knows it has, but is otherwise a laughable attempt at self-delusion. The great performance here is Viola Davis', as a grieving mother who turns to vigilantism under the just suspicion that her son's murder will go neglected by the police. Davis is a smart, sensitive actor, and stresses the script's own sensitivity toward her character even as the film she's in tries to deny it. Both direction and editing show negligible concern for the natural rhythms of human interaction - scenes bolt past at a real clip, with the silences and the pregnant pauses that would inevitably characterise such exchanges entirely absent. It's plot plot plot from the very first moment, one among many unfortunate hangovers from Lila & Eve's highly apparent origins as a revenge thriller. Yet Davis is superb, even more so in light of the challenges against her in a film that shows such disregard for character development. There's a twist, by the way, and a very familiar (though not especially obvious) one - it's a smart fit for the material, but not an innovative one; it's handled relatively well enough that it merits a rare pass! Jennifer Lopez almost overcomes the cliches written into her role, while Steve Zahn does his best Robert de Niro impression, and ends up the worst thing in the movie in the process.