Today: May 28, 2024

Blackhat

A big dollop of form over function, Blackhat exhibits the usual lovely digital visuals we’ve come to expect from Michael Mann of late and some decent suspense and tension for what is essentially a computer-hacker thriller with the odd bit of action.

Despite glimpses of some nice technical innovations, different format cameras being used in different scenarios, there is sadly nothing groundbreaking or original enough to offset the lethargic and dated storytelling.

And it is that word that defines Blackhat: dated. Whether because Mann is a director from another era and his films simply feel outmoded in 2015 or whether this one is just a dud, it doesn’t really matter – the result is the same. When you’ve got films, over the past year alone, such as Boyhood and Birdman pushing the envelope of what’s possible with cinema then a beige political thriller with trademark touches from the 90s just isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Mann can do a shout-out and final showdown better than anyone, just watch Heat if you need reminding, but is that alone enough to keep afloat a heavily sagging script and dead-weight cast? The answer for Blackhat is, sadly, no. In no small part because of the sub-standard acting from both leads Chris Hemsworth and Wei Tang; their chemistry is purely physical, cemented by a painfully unnecessary and formulaic sex scene, with the dramatic and emotional scenes being left distinctly hollow as a result.

Even the gimmicky special effects employed to give some energy and dynamism to the inherently dull technological aspects of the plot (he’s a hacker, they need him to use his hacker skills to hack some computer hackery stuff) is tired and unimpressive. Oh, and it’s about four hours long, which doesn’t help.

All in all, a flat flop; Hemsworth showing his limited range in struggling to step up to the level required to open a serious film. Probably stick to the hammer guy, Chris, you’re good at that. Mann definitely still has something to offer but maybe we’ll need to wait for his second coming, a la Mr Scorcese.

Blackhat is a film that could have been made ten years ago but probably shouldn’t have been made at all. Never mind, eh.

Previous Story

Playing It Cool

Next Story

Selma

Latest from Blog

Memory

Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

Abashiri Prison I-III

Constructed in the late nineteenth century to house political prisoners, Japan’s infamous Abashiri Prison served as the inspiration for a popular and prolific run of yakuza movies released between 1965 and 1972. In Abashiri Prison,

The Beach Boys

2024 sees the 50th anniversary of The Beach Boys’ chart-topping compilation album Endless Summer that threw the fading band back into the limelight. Whilst this double LP release was a big financial

The Valiant Ones

The Valiant Ones was King Hu’s last, great masterpiece. Indeed it’s arguably his last true wuxia film — but what a magnificent beast it is. Directed by the celebrated master of the

Enter the Clones of Bruce Unboxing

There have been so many books, documentaries, and even biopics of the immeasurably pioneering martial arts icon Bruce Lee. His life and work have been studied intensely, and his influence remains felt

BackBeat Unboxing

This month saw underrated Beatle-biopic BackBeat make its Blu-ray debut from Fabulous Films, surely delighting the band’s collectors and completists. Telling the story of the Beatles’ first bassist – the so-called ‘lost
Go toTop

Don't Miss

Men in Black Are Back

Directed by F. Gary Gray (Fast & Furious) and set

Avengers: Endgame

By now many of us will have seen it. Many