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Movie Breakdown: Blackhat (Noah)

January 15, 2015


People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

There are two reasons why Blackhat is a difficult movie to pre-assess. One, Michael Mann is a legit, classic-making American director. This is the guy who made Heat, The Insider, Manhunter, Last of the Mohicans, and Ali. Oh sure, there’s a couple Public Enemies floating around in there, but c’mon, this guy is the real deal. But, he’s decided to make a film about cybercrime (a notoriously boring subject) with Six Packs McThorson as his cyber-hacker. So … let’s be honest, it’s going to be awful.

The Reality:

Michael Mann is, undoubtedly, a great director and every director has to have one really, really bad film, and Blackhat is Michael Mann’s very, very bad film. Don’t let this film trick you, ’cause it will. It starts as a really boring procedural “thriller” about a multinational group of cops and criminals (Chris Hemsworth as super prison-hacker Ryan Hathaway is particularly badly cast) searching for a super-hacker who’s trying to, uh, do stuff for some reasons. This two-thirds of the film is just awful. It’s confusing and boring (which shouldn’t be surprising as watching people type things and talk about code is always boring) and there are so many characters without any names or backstories that when quite literally (spoiler alert) all of them die at one point, you don’t know any of their names or what they were doing in the film. That said, when all of the characters meet gruesome deaths, the film, now just starring Thor, picks up a bit, and becomes, well, a heist movie. There’s much less coding, a lot more cars crashing and violent knife deaths, and overall, it’s a pretty entertaining cable flick you wouldn’t mind stumbling across at 5:30 in the morning after a four day coke and hooker binge. Again, though, don’t let the film’s almost entertaining ending let you leave the theater thinking this is a good film, because it isn’t. This is a badly written film, with cardboard characters (though I will say Viola Davis’ Barrett is a pleasure in her brief screen time). A film that is so unbelievably boring, that every action has to be forced into feeling exciting by the presence of throbbing, thriller music. A film so badly written that if you can tell me the name of two-thirds of the characters on screen at any given time, hell, you should write a movie. It’ll probably get made in Hollywood. A film so plotted that the big, bad super-hacker they break out of prison because of his ungodly skills at computers ends up making a shiv out of a screwdriver and saving the day with that. Fuck computers bro, lets just stab each other. I wonder if Michael Mann is slipping into his Ridley Scott phase. Or maybe he had a dream when he was a child that one day he would make a movie where the Odinson played a nerd and this, this is the consummation of that dream. Or maybe this is just a shit movie and you shouldn’t see it and we can all hope the next Mann flick is another gem.

The Lesson:

If you grind down a screwdriver and rubberband it to your forearm, it’s a potent and deadly weapon.

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