Friday, September 23, 2016

ASHBY (2015)

Written & Directed By: Tony McNamara 
Cinematography By: Christopher Baffa 
Editor: Mathew Friedman 

Cast: Nat Wolff, Mickey Rourke, Sarah Silverman, Emma Roberts, Kevin Dunn, John Enos III, Michael Lerner, Zachary Knighton, Steve Coulter

High-school student Ed Wallis enters into a friendship with his neighbor, Ashby, a retired CIA assassin who only has a few months left to live.

The film comes across as a bunch of ideas. That haven't been fully thought through and then just comes together at the end. That seem to try to latch onto each cliche that they can, the. Try to pass it off as a quirk.

As the film seems transparent in It's every intention and scene. Maybe it is it’s more high concept idea that feels more like it would be at home in the 80’s. As if it was made in the 90’s seems like it would have been more action oriented.

This is a film that has the characters have a bunch of quirks, but rarely gives any explanation of them. For instance it should be just a regular coming of age story. That seems too simple so they decide to jazz the film up by having it involve a hit man at the twilight of his years. Who needs someone to drive him around and of course it be a friendless new boy in town. Who is his neighbor and is needed to teach him necessary life lessons.

Now all of this could have been revealed slowly to have more of an impact, but instead is immediately introduced to give the film a revenge retribution side story and give the film some action and violence that stays minor.

Also for a film that deals with cause and effect. Only one character seems to really get punished throughout. As all the characters who are against the teen do ghastly things but never get a comeuppance. Not asking for death but something.

Just as the romance for him corns way too easily and seems more set-up then natural. Just as the strange demeanor of the character, he falls for seems dreamed up by a screenwriter then approach by anything believable.

The film offers some shocks to the system or tries to that again feel like they are trying too hard. Rather then letting it come off as natural and essential to he story.

Mickey Rourke turns in a fine performance and is one of the only few things that make the movie come alive. He is given a pretty basic role, but makes the most of it. Making the character more engaging. Even though he does have a distracting wardrobe. That doesn't seem to work if his character is supposed to be more low key and incognito. He actually deserves better than this film, but at least it is a film that focuses and mainly spends time with his character. So that we feel comfortable just hanging with him as his distressed character still has swagger of cool.

This is another disappointing film in which Emma Roberts plays in. Though I don't blame her as she seems to always get cast in these type of films and given the same basic characteristics. That she plays well, but are becoming used to from her.

Nat Wolff is good int he film as he always seems to bury the lie. Between more a good comedic relief, naive but fun or slowly breaking down and using humor to mask the inner pain. He does what he is asked, but for how interesting his character could be comes off rather bland.

Though Sarah Silverman playing his mother is hilarious and delicious as she has both a ordinary sexiness and a complex character who you can understand and yes actually comes off a true and natural. The film at least has her at the center of the films most jarring and surprising scene. That works, but would have either been good in a better film or even if the film kept up that humor and tone for the rest of the film. As that scene has life that becomes apparent the rest of the film Lacks.

As the film has no overall excitement. It keeps a poker place and acts like it is building towards something that never actually comes.

Even Michael Lerner has more of a cameo In the film and it really doesn't amount to much except sets the films ending up and as you watch his tan is more distracting then anything else going on in the scene.


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