Sunday, 24 January 2010
REVIEW: The Boys Are Back
Right. As I think I've mentioned before on this site, mediocre films are truly the hardest thing to review, because they don't fill you with the bile that say, a Transformers movie would, but obviously you don't like them either, and thus your apathy towards it bleeds onto the page and every word you type is just to fill that much more space. Because I think I have truly nothing of value to say about The Boys Are Back. I'm sure the further we go down I'll throw in a couple of devil's advocate compliments, and I can point out how average it is of course. Its middle of the road to its core. From its passable, occasionally literate but always slightly awkward dialogue to its meandering script, that doesn't really go anywhere after its initial, plot driving tragedy.
Which could have been handled with more nuance to be honest. Clive Owen has a sick-ass Australian farmhouse with a beautiful wife and genetically deigned cute kid. Then his wife goes and dies, and he's left to be a single father. And while this journey is cliched on screen, it might have been better to see then what the movie actually did, which was to turn Owen into a saint too near the beginning and half-hearted family tension drove the rest of the movie. Owen is quite good I guess, but he's always better in British, as his American accent is something that leaves a lot to be desired. He plays it as stiff-lipped as is possible with the material. The kids are OK, but their performances feel a little manufactured. The film does make use of some breathtaking Australian scenery, and director Scott Hicks handles the whole thing with a visual smoothness. But I always knew where it was going, and I was always underwhelmed. Soft, under-cooked and other words that describe something that isn't done to the point that it should be. To use a word I use far too often, meh.
Avoid, unless you really do enjoy being made to feel passive and uninvolved.