Thursday, October 25, 2007
The Hire (BMW Film Series, 2001)
A series of 8 short films produced for the internet mainly as a marketing tool, showing off different performance aspects of various BMW automobiles. Each of the films star Clive Owen as the mysterious BMW driver, and each is directed by a different director well known director.
Ambush (John Frankenheimer, 2001)
Clive Owen must rescue an old diamond smuggling passenger from a group of criminals in this suspenseless car chase sequence which is basically just a fancy overlong car commercial.
Chosen (Ang Lee, 2001)
Overall the story is pretty shallow as Owen rescues an Asian child chosen for a strange ritual, but Ang Lee provides something unique in his car chase scene. The score works wonderfully as the cars almost perform a ballet dance of sorts. The final shot foreshadows Lee's future work on The Hulk, as the child gives the driver an Incredible Hulk band aid as a gift.
The Follow (Kar Wai Wong, 2001)
Forest Whitaker, Mickey Rourke and the most gorgeous woman on earth, Adriana Lima join Clive Owen in Kar Wai Wong's rendition. Wong makes this film his own with his signature style including voice over narration, gorgeous photography, and familiar shot selection and editing patterns.
Star (Guy Ritchie, 2001)
Embarrassingly bad, from the acting of Madonna and her manager, to the broad comic style, terrible dialogue, and empty story. Another really expensive, and really cheesey car commercial.
Powder Keg (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2001)
Easily the best of the series, Iñárritu manages to shed the focus of the car, and really hone in on his character and their emotions. Not to mention the subject matter contains much more substance than the others as we follow the driver as he attempts to help a war photographer cross the border with incriminating photos of a mass execution before a terrorist group can intercept them. The cinematography is very gritty and documentary like and serves to enhance the realism.
Hostage (John, Woo, 2002)
John Woo's career has thrived in the action genre, so it comes as no surprise that his style works so well in this short format.
Ticker (Joe Carnahan, 2002)
Clive Owen escorts Don Cheadle and a mysterious case. The nonlinear narrative keeps things interesting, and the reveal at the end is solid.
Beat the Devil (Tony Scott, 2002)
Aside from our hero Clive Owen, the cast includes the late great James Brown as the passenger wanting to renegotiate his contract with the devil played by Gary Oldman. Danny Trejo and Marilyn Manson also make brief appearances. I appreciate the editing tactics, but in the end the subtitles, flash cuts, jumps, split screens, etc. are all just meant to distract us from the incoherent story.