Monday, January 19, 2009
And it shouldn't have been. RIGHTEOUS KILL (ZERO STARS) is the worst film of 2008. Worse than THE HAPPENING, even. And there was no reason for it. The film didn't have to be a masterpiece; merely solid would have been acceptable. But no. RIGHTEOUS KILL is truly uninspired in every single department. Pacino and DeNiro should be embarrassed with themselves (but they aren't...) and director John Avnet should never be allowed to direct a major motion picture again (though, astoundingly, it looks like he will). Screenwriter Russell Gewirtz loses any good-will he earned with his terrific script for the caper-flick INSIDE MAN with this piece of garbage. RIGHTEOUS KILL was probably the first script he ever wrote as everything in it is a mess; the structure is poorly conceived, the dialogue is beyond cliche, and the "twist" is telegraphed so early in the plot that there is absolutely zero suspense generated by anything in the narrative. The plot, such as it is, is hackneyed beyond any sense of recognition: there's a killer bumping off the scum of society and all fingers point to a cop. Pacino and DeNiro are asleep at the wheel with their performances; they look tired, bored, and fat. This film is the very definition of "grab the money and run," as evidenced by its producers, the kings of "shit-as-cinema," Avi Lerner, Danny Dimbort, and Boaz Davidson. Just go to the IMDB and look at their resume; it's not worth the time to type up. And this is not to say that I didn't expect a piece of trash; I fully did. When the film came out last fall, it was eviscerated by the critics, yet opened solidly on the backs of its aging stars, and then sunk like a stone from the box office charts. Avnet, a hack if there ever was one, should stick to television where he knows best (he worked on the fantastic but short-lived show BOOMTOWN), because in features, he's lost (88 MINUTES, the other [but unseen by me] Pacino travesty from '08, RED CORNER, UP CLOSE & PERSONAL). The movie, which was shot in Connecticut doubling for NYC and shows it, looks tacky and sloppy around the edges. The filmmakers don't even have the conviction to disrobe their gorgeous female star, Carla Gugino, during her many sex scenes (and she's an actress who isn't afraid of nudity). I had to at least rent RIGHTEOUS KILL because of the two legendary actors involved, but this is a faaaar cry from the glory days of HEAT. Atrocious dialogue, ham-fisted direction, trite plotting, and lazy performances. It's the sort of film you can watch while folding your laundry and re-organizing your closet, two activities I engaged in while taking in this festering turd. What else do I really need to say other than it's the worst of the worst of the year?