Redemption Blu-ray Review
In a dark alley in London two men quietly make their way down a row of large cardboard boxes. They begin to kick them over, uncovering huddled drug uses. They manhandle them for their drugs, taking them easily as no one is resisting. Until they get to the box with Joey and Isabel under it. Isabel begs Joey to not fight back but that is not in his nature. He loses the battle and runs off with one of the attackers giving chase. Climbing to the rooftop of a nearby building Joey works his way into the skylight of an abandoned apartment, losing the bad guy. Sadly Isabel is not that lucky.
A film full of the absurd, which was certainly something I didn’t expect from Steven Knight, the writer of EASTERN PROMISES, REDEMPTION is a well meaning film that can’t get out of its own way. Making his feature directing debut Knight seems to have decided on a very slow moving pace with more emphasis going on imagery then on plot. Which is a shame because the film wastes a fine performance by Jason Statham. Discovering that the owner of the apartment he’s gotten into is out of town for the next 8 months, Joey cleans himself up, wears his suits (the oldest convenient trick in films – the clothes you find are exactly your size) and spends his money, thanks to him finding an ATM card (and the PIN number) in a stack of mail. With Isabel sadly floating in the river, Joey now splits his time between Sister Cristina (Agata Buzek), who used to serve him soup when he was on the street, and his former wife Dawn (Vicky McClure). He also has periodic flashbacks to his time in Afghanistan, where his vehicle was ambushed and many of his fellow soldiers killed. Images of his retribution, including hanging one of the suspected attackers, is pretty violent. The film also makes use of drones, those unmanned planes that are often discussed on the news recently. In one scene of, I’m assuming, Joey’s hallucinations, he finds himself surrounded by drones in his bedroom, only they have taken on the form of hummingbirds. The symbolism was lost on me but I do know that the film was originally titled HUMMINGBIRD so maybe there’s something on the cutting room floor missing.
The performances are fine, given the script they have to work with. The relationship that is hinted at with Joey and the Sister is kind of creepy, especially when he makes her dinner and presents her a red dress to wear. Apparently he doesn’t find the habit very sexy. He also becomes a hood for hire, which kind of goes against the whole redemption theme alluded to at the beginning of the film. Knight’s direction is unevenly paced…one minute Joey’s kicking ass and the next he’s….well he’s really doing nothing. Which is a shame, because Statham is an actor who does his best work when he’s doing something! I would suggest Knight watch the attached trailers to two other Statham films, “The Bank Job” and “SAFE.” Either one is better than REDEMPTION.
REDEMPTION BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: The film is presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Thankfully director Knight hired the great Oscar winning cinematographer Chris Mengies (“The Killing Fields,” “The Mission”) to shoot the film. Even the dreary rainy streets of London jump off the screen here.
Audio: Presented in DTS Master Audio 5.1 I found the sound quality acceptable at best. I had to crank the volume to hear some of the quieter conversations then drop it down when the action happens.
Redemption: Behind the Scenes (4:59): A standard look at the making of the film. Ho-hum.