Wrath of Man

Wrath of Man ★★★½

I think the extravagantly complicated back-and-forth-and-back chain of chronological fuckery that constitutes the plot could have been streamlined at no particular cost to the gloomy fatalistic energy of the piece; it could have even have been streamlined while leaving plenty of fuckery to puzzle out. Other than that, color me genuinely surprised at how much of this I liked, particularly after an opening act that heavily relies on brittle laddish dialogue that's just petulant and nasty without being witty. Ritchie hasn't really mined this territory before: a heavy, morbid crime thriller full of doomy moral consequence and, well, as much wrath as a film of that title would need to deliver. Jason Statham hasn't been this good since The Bank Job, trading in his "jolly Cockney cranky grandpa" vibe for a truly menacing, exhausted rage at the world. I'm not going to be in a hurry to put it on again - the reward for dealing with how hard it is to follow is that it's nihilistic - but the pulverising force of the action and the way that it all feels grounded in the world without losing its flash and dazzle make me feel pretty comfortable anointing this Ritchie's best since Snatch all the way back when.

Edited: so much for fighting grade inflation (see comments). After writing a full review, I found that there was absolutely nothing about anything I wrote that said "this is only three stars", so up it gets bumped.

(Full review at Alternate Ending)