and sometimes poetry

Faster (2010) | Review by Mark Leidner

Some movies feel like they are written by people who enrolled in community college for all the right reasons, but left because they found the coursework too challenging.  On a Monday night in the middle of winter, me and Hannah were the only two people in the theater. While it certainly snowed bad cinema on the inside, a light dusting of real snow swept out of the cold, black vault of heaven on the outside, lending the night as a whole an eerie cultural-meteorological symmetry. Today also happened to be my second day of therapy. It wasn’t nearly as emotional as the first. And I still haven’t cried all day. The valleys of depression are strange and deceptive, even as they reveal the true folds of reality. Before the movie began Hannah asked if I remembered the first bad movie we’d been to. It took a second, but then it came to me, the John Cusak star-vehicle / disaster epic 2012.  That was almost a year ago, I reflected. And it struck me. So much has happened to me in that year. So many strange and beautiful adventures with different people, old and new, friends and family, strangers and lovers; so many disappointments, triumphs, tears shed, and laughter shared. And as Faster began I started to feel that my life has not been a waste, but a great blessing. It’s so easy to trick yourself when you’re sad into thinking that everything has led up to this, to this sadness, so therefore everything has failed. But you don’t see that the sadness is temporary, and is in its own way the necessary, thorned doorway into the next thing. Which might be brilliant.

When the previews end and the popcorn is already half gone, the movie opens as it closes. With Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson doing something invariably invincible in “gritty 1970’s” light. Billy Bob Thornton plays the emotionally unstable, dirty junkie cop tracking “The Rock” Johnson down. If nothing else Thornton’s casting proves Nicholas Cage actually turns work down… sometimes. There is also another, younger, over-actor in this movie who plays a glamorous assassin. In several scenes Shannon from LOST can be seen looking on in breathless, actingless beauty as he does sit-ups and polishes weaponry.  There is an artificial pain plastered on his face, as if this poor man’s Jake Gyllenhaal’s only emote-able emotion  is the anxiety of looking so much like, yet no tactually being, Jake Gyllenhaal. Do anybody kill The Rock in Faster? No. Nobody kill The Rock in Faster. Nobody shoot  faster ‘n The Rock shoot. Cops stupid. Rock not able to be killed, caught, or re-killed in Faster. My favorite scene was where the black Christian minister with a murderous past knelt before Dwayne Johnson and sang John the Revelator and The Rock pulled the trigger but missed on purpose as the minister seized and clutched his Bible to his chest, scion of our tortured hero’s unexpected mercy. Maybe there is a God after all. Now get down on your knees and pray to Hollywood.

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