September 21, 2006
When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I didn’t think I’d ever see it. The story didn’t seem like the kind I tend to enjoy. But, when a friend of mine offered to give me some free tickets I figured it was worth seeing for free, and it’s a good thing I did. This way I can tell you about how terrible the movie is, and hopefully save you some cash.
The budget for the film was $55 million. A fairly small budget by Hollywood standards, but in the same range as the last three films I saw: The Covenant ($20 million), Snakes on a Plane ($36 million), World Trade Center ($65 million). I liked all of those films, but I didn’t like this one, and I think it really comes down to how the budget was spent.
Two places the producers clearly did not spend their budget was on cinematography or editing. In no fewer than four scenes I saw the head of a boom mic bouncing along the top of the screen, and in one scene I saw the mic and its boom in their entirety. This isn’t like a car in Lord of the Rings. This is just shoddy movie-making.
Another place they clearly did not spend their money was writing. I’m sure that the book this movie was based on was a fine novel. I know there was a real story about Huey Long, whom this story is loosely about. Somehow, though, the writers for this film failed to caputre any real plot. None. None at all.
I think where they spent almost all their money was on casting. The movie had an amazing cast: Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Kate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo, Sean Penn, and James Gandolfini. Those are some big names, and I’m sure they all had nice fat paychecks for their performances. The performances were even decent, although Penn summoned memories of Snatch with his thick, unintelligible accent.
So, if you want to play spot-the-mic, or want to see if you can find the plot, go see this movie. But, if you want to enjoy the two hours you’ll spend watching it, go do something else.