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Here's a tough one again. On the one hand I want to say that this is a great movie but on the other but on the other, not everything is working out that well and the movie is definitely not without its weaknesses.

Let's start of with the positive and most obvious thing; The acting is really what makes this movie definitely worth seeing. Christian Bale is truly excellent and his performance alone is worth the price of admission. But of course this movie has far more many great actors in it. Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard, Willem Dafoe, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, they all make appearances and most of them are great in this movie as well.

It also truly is more of an 'actors type of movie' meaning that the emphasis of the movie is on the actors and their characters rather than just the events and story of the movie. That also is part of the problem I was having with this movie but at the same time, it yet also makes the movie worthwhile. The actors simply don't disappoint and make this movie a perfectly watchable- and certainly also an above average one to watch.

It's also being the type of movie that's going for a more raw and gritty, realistic sort of approach. This means that things are a bit slow and drawn out at times but the good news is that the movie is a great one to look at. It has a great visual style and atmosphere to it but here is my biggest problem with the movie; It looks like a raw and gritty movie, it has the right sort of story for a realistic and gritty movie but yet it never feels or works out as a truly raw or very realistic movie.

I think it's all due to it that the movie doesn't get you involved with things. It's a clinical movie, that's actually well written but the story isn't ever doing enough emotionally. It's actually hard to get behind the characters because you just don't know enough about them in the first place and they are not all developed as equally strong, despite the fine performances by the cast. It even seems as if the movie deliberately isn't always telling- and explaining everything to you, no doubt in an attempt to let things come across more realistically but it wasn't really working for me. Or at least not at all times.

It's also one of those movies in which once one thing goes wrong for its main character, everything starts to go wrong. It's a, what I like to call, worst case scenario type of movie, which does make things feel a bit too forced and emotionally manipulative at parts and it even makes the movie somewhat predictable. The movie certainly isn't featuring any real surprises in it but I wouldn't go as far as saying that this is a too clich├ęd and far too predictable movie as well. Simple fact remains that the movie remains a perfectly fine one to watch, all throughout, despite of all my complaints.

Another one of my complaints is that it was disappointing to see how the movie picked up some seemingly and potentially interesting story lines but decided to drop and abandon some of them after a short while again. So some story lines are actually going absolutely nowhere, which also does make some of the characters totally redundant, which feels like a waste of some of its actors as well.

So really, this is a far from perfect movie that still at the same time remains a perfectly watchable one, mostly due to the performances by its fine cast!

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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