Thursday, December 19, 2013

Film Review: Redemption (2012)

Redemption (or Hummingbird) (Review)
United States/United Kingdom/2012
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...there is a lack of focus, but it is not a film-breaking issue."

Joseph Smith (Jason Statham), a former Special Forces veteran who went AWOL, is a homeless alcoholic in London. One night, he and a young lady, Isabel, are attacked leading Joseph to find refuge in a temporarily vacant home...

Redemption then follows Joseph as he uses this man's belongings to better himself -- to redeem himself. He cleans himself up, he finds an honest job, and he searches for Isabel, who now works as a prostitute. However, Joseph finds himself in a downward spiral when he becomes a gangster; even further downward when Isabel is found brutally murdered and dumped in a river. Also, Joseph has a troubling relationship with a confused nun. By the end, Joseph finds a different form of redemption that one may not expect -- a great ending.

Redemption isn't an all-out action movie with great martial arts or boxing as you may expect from a Jason Statham-leading film. Instead, Redemption is a dark drama-thriller hybrid with humane themes and only a handful of action sequences. Although I enjoy the story, unfortunately, it's not very consistent or focused. Many of the situations and characters we are introduced to are not fully developed. We meet Isabel, but we never really know her or understand her significance. Therefore, and this also occurs with the Nun-love subplot, it never really hones into one problem. The story is ultimately effective, but it could've been extremely effective with better focus.

Jason Statham delivers a great performance as Joseph -- an unexpectedly wide-ranged performance with genuine emotion. The rest of the cast is equally great. This is one of those moments where Jason Statham isn't playing Jason Statham. The cinematography and camerawork are great, very easy on the eyes while developing a dark tone. The few fight scenes are greatly choreographed -- fans of Statham will not be disappointed in quality, but may be in the quantity. Steven Knight's direction is superb, but the writing is inconsistent and lacked focused -- a superb story is there, it's simply underdeveloped.

Overall, Redemption (or Hummingbird) is a great gritty drama with a handful of great action sequences and thrills -- there is a lack of focus, but it is not a film-breaking issue. There are moments of depression, sadness, reality, but, more importantly, there are also moments of inspiration and redemption.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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