LOVE, when it is expressed, can be one of the purest and strongest emotions. At least that is what it can be depending on the person. When an individual falls in love they can find themselves smiling for no apparent reason or getting giddy with excitement in anticipation of being with the source of their love. Some people love going to the circus; they get to experience a range of emotions from the varied acts on display. Other people get in touch with their sense of love when they are able to hike up a mountain trail then sit out on the edge of a precipice. Another thing love can do is steer you away from your daily routines and venture into new territory, exploring the ways 2 people can blend their individual lives into a shared common one. HOWEVER when a person sacrifices their other emotions and rational thoughts to focus strictly on love, they then have entered the land of the extremes. In this place a person scrutinizes every action, comment and reaction from the focus of their love. In turn they react in an extreme way to the point of becoming obsessive. I was in a relationship some time ago where things started out in an easy way for us. We seemed compatible and had similar tastes in things. As the weeks went by little things started cropping up that I found odd. For example a delay in us getting together due to a prior commitment I had would produce a passive aggressive response in an attempt to make me feel guilty, hoping I would change my plans. This was a red flag for me and a cause of concern. Maybe if my ego was inflated I would have enjoyed the attention and their need to be with me; instead, it caused a disconcerting feeling inside of me. My instincts turned out to be correct. I was being turned into this desired object that they needed to feel fulfilled and complete in their life. Obsession can be a lethal road for one to travel on. FRANK, played by Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals, Midnight Special), was falling deeper in love with Lola, played by Imogen Poots (Green Room, Need for Speed), to the point where even warning signs could not influence him. This film festival nominated drama also starred Justin Long (Drag Me to Hell, Accepted) as Keith and Michael Nyqvist (John Wick, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) as Alan. It was interesting to see Michael playing a romantic lead. He is an excellent actor and in this crime mystery he was good, but I have to tell you I felt he was not the best choice for the role. The intensity he has displayed in previous movies did not translate well in this one. Set in Las Vegas and Paris, I was initially interested with the story line and thought the acting was good throughout the film. One of the reasons why I did not feel totally connected to the story was the lack of back story or depth with the Frank and Lola characters. I could see what the writer was trying to do but it did not take me where I needed to be to truly get into the story. I love movies but I did not love watching this one much.
It can cut across all age groups. I am not saying it is right nor am I condoning it, even though I have done it myself. If you never acted it out there is a good possibility you have seen someone else do it. Maybe at the beach you saw two little ones building sand castles. I do not know what the attraction is but after the castles were done, one of the little ones kicked the other castle. In turn, the one with the broken castle ran over to the remaining castle and stomped on it. Through my school years I saw so many examples of revenge that sadly it was pretty much the norm. In my day revenge consisted of putting glue on a student’s seat or starting a rumor about them. With the access of the internet we have been exposed to various kinds of revenge and cyberbullying. I remember an incident where I worked at a company that had a boss who was a horrible person. Trust me when I say he was not a nice man; so keeping that in mind, I am going to tell you something that I am embarrassed to reveal. At work one day, late in the afternoon, I went to the restroom. Standing at the urinal I heard a faint cry for help. Looking over by the stalls I caught a glimpse of my boss’ shoes peeking under the only closed door. I pretended I did not hear anything and shut the lights off as I walked out of the bathroom. Back when that happened I knew it was wrong but it felt so good. REVENGE was the only reason ex-hitman John Wick, played by Keanu Reeves (The Matrix franchise, Devil’s Advocate), came out of retirement. This action thriller had a no-nonsense, take no prisoners approach that was beautifully executed by first time directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski. Interesting side note, the two directors were both stuntmen, which explained the focus on physical contact in this movie and I was impressed by it. The fights played out like live video games with precision choreographed movements. Keanu was well suited for this role with its sparse dialog that he delivered in the proper framework, whether it was sadness or sarcasm. Without giving away anything I thought the writers did a brilliant job on what was the motivation that pushed John back into his former line of work. Operating just as well were the actors Michael Nyqvist (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo franchise, Disconnect) as Viggo Tarasov, Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones-TV, The Other Boleyn Girl) as Iosef Tarasov and William Dafoe (Out of the Furnance, The Hunter) as Marcus. This film knew exactly what it wanted to achieve and succeeded. I have to tell you I did not know revenge would be so much fun to watch. There were many scenes that had blood and violence in them.
3 1/4 stars