Wrath of Man

Wrath of Man ★★★½

Wrath of Man is just that: an angry violent film about an angry and violent man. Guy Ritchie is taking this subject very seriously as none of the typical Ritchie humor is in this screenplay. Granted, he's probably been reigned in by the co-writers, but even with the violence, this seems to be a subdued Ritchie.

Speaking of subdued, here's Jason Statham! The central character in the film, Statham is his usual strong, silent type. There is not an ounce of humanity in this character, except in the few scenes where he's being a father. Statham plays Patrick Hill, nicknamed "H" by his co-workers at Fortico Security, where he has just been hired. But H is not who he appears to be, as the plot will reveal. He has a secret that he's keeping from Fortico, and Ritchie and co-writers reveal everything via time jumps. Five Months Earlier....Three Weeks Later....but none of it is confusing and helps construct the narrative in a logical manner while keeping the suspense built around H.

As mentioned, Ritchie sprinkles a modest amount of humor here and replaces funny with darkness and violence. The supporting characters here are paper thin and, eventually as we learn, fully disposable. The story switches gears about halfway through and focuses on a different set of characters from H and the Fortico team. We are introduced to a gang of criminals who appear to be all ex-military, bored out of their minds and planning heists for money and to break out of their mundane family lives. Scott Eastwood plays Jan, the one member of this group that stands out, for obvious reasons as far as the plot is concerned, but also because he is the only one of them with a cocky swagger. Ritchie finds it necessary to tell their side of the story, maybe to give the plot more depth, since two hours devoted to Statham's mission may be too much time for something that is thin on paper.

I enjoyed this turn by Ritchie and Statham. Maybe it's the simple-mindedness of it all. Wrath of Man is a heist film. It's also a revenge story. The violence is pure Ritchie violence, even if the story lacks characterization and doesn't care which one of these paper-thin people get picked off by bullets. It's full of testosterone without a shred of emotion, but Statham carries the weight and Ritchie provides solid pacing and thrills. Wrath of Man is one of the better action-oriented films so far this year.

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