Thursday, September 04, 2008

Wanted: Stylish No-brainer

Rating: 2.5/5.0

To say that 'Wanted' is devoid of a meaningful, coherent script would be an under-statement. To say, however, that 'Wanted' is devoid of fun and style would be inaccurate and unjust. The movie is indeed a no-brainer and takes such fantastic and bizarre liberties and an overtly fertile imagination of the script-writers, that it rattles the mind. However, while the absence of any real, plausible plot is a cause for irritation, the stylized action sequences along with the imperturbable chutpaz of its lead characters (played by McAvoy and Jolie) lends a certain cool charm to it and manages to convert, what would have been an otherwise flimsy and frivolous misnomer, into a darkly amusing and very stylish film.

As mentioned earlier, the plot is indeed frivolous and nearly non-existent, but the gist of it deals with the transformation of a tractable, docile young man 'Wesley Gibson' (James McAvoy) with a staid, stolid life into a raging bull, a skilled marksman and a willing killer.

Plot Summary: Wesley Gibson is the quintessential average modern-day employee at a huge accounting firm. His daily routine is both monotonous and boring and he has little to look forward to in his life - with a non-existing family, a disastrous love-life and an impecunious existence. He has to silently bear the torments of his menacing office boss (quite the bitch), as well as by the braggadocio of a colleague. He also suffers from acute anxiety and panic attacks, by virtue of which he loses his cool at the most minor of perturbances. His chance encounter with a mysterious woman named only as "Fox" (Angelina Jolie) leads him down a path that includes oodles of kick-ass action and some insane killing-gore that de-sensitizes him and leaves him completely detached from his previous docile life. As it turns out, Fox is working for a secret society of assasins that seems to have been existing for thousands of years. Fox rescues him from a hitman 'Cross' and takes Gibson to the clan's citadel - a textile mill, where Gibson has an encounter with Sloan (Morgan Freeman), the leader of the clan. Sloan informs Gibson that his father, an elite member of the assasin squad died on an operation and that it is his duty and fate to avenge him. This leads him to undertake intensive training that involves severe violence and physical training. He discovers that his anxiety attacks are actually a unique ability to pump astronomical levels of adrenaline into his system, that leaves him with insanely high percerptibility and dexterity. At the end of it emerges a man who just faintly resembles his past in appearance, but whose character has now undergone a kick-ass transformation.

The effectiveness of the movie lies in its ability to create stunning action sequences and the coolness of its central characters. The movie succeeds in creating a glamorized, stylistic world that the previously docile Gibson can play around in. In this sense, it seeks to give us, the audience, an impossible world in which we are coolness personified. We secretly root for and admire Mr. Gibson, as we watch his transformation and we secretly aspire for the debonair style of the film's setting. Thus, the movie creates a bond with the audience, that we are able to relate to. However, where the movie begins to falter is its willingness to take itself seriously.

Wanted, tries in many ways to be a debonair version of Fight Club and it fails miserably. While we are amused and entertained by the antics of the newly empowered 'assassin' Mr. Gibson, we are also irritated by the narcissistic nature of the secret group of assassins. The movie falls into a self-created chasm of narcissism by trying to pass itself off as a serious piece of drama, where critical decisions must be made. Movies such as these, known for its macabre and fantastic content, often shock and please us, but never do they allow self-indulgence. This movie's plot isn't half as allegorical/metaphorical as say a "Fight Club" or a "Pulp Fiction", yet it tries hard to be considered as a serious film. And alas, it fails miserably. The later half of the movie constitutes this feeble and pointless attempt at trying to masquerade as some of the classic noir dramas.

The movie does redeem itself by its last scene, which is again as tongue-in-cheek and unapologetically brutal as most of the movie. Overall, the movie is definitely worth a watch at the theatres, if only to badly yearn for a more interesting and eventful life, quite like the new Mr. Gibson. Like Mr. Gibson says: "What the f*** have you done lately?"

Wanted Links:
Wanted @ Wikipedia
Wanted @ IMDB
Wanted @ Rotten Tomatoes
Wanted @ Box Office Mojo