The One To Beat
As of this writing, two motion pictures are firmly aligned on the 2913 Oscars radar: Gravity and 12 Years a Slave. However, I would like to single out one action picture not receiving much critical support which could earn the top spot on my end of year "Best Films" list. It's called Redemption. Starring Jason Statham and directed by Steven Knight, the film presents a portrait of London akin to Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa.
Homeless man Joey (Statham) must find his way or perish. The film's title stems from a personal matter which will change not only Joey's existence but the people around him.
In 2012, Statham took a bold move, choosing to show more emotion for the dynamic action spectacle Safe. In Redemption, he continues this exploration by delivering another great performance. He represents the tortured soul in Knight's story, someone who finds a kindred spirit driven by similar experiences.
Agata Buzek plays Cristina, a nun searching for her own destiny and freedom from oppression. She's excellent in her portrayal, showing strong dramatic contrast in every scene. Their love story doesn't require a sappy music score nor does composer Dario Marianelli provide one. Also, editor Valerio Donelli understands the value of an honest cut, favouring instinct over guess work.
The blockbuster has come a long way since the 1980s. Following in the wake of prestige pictures such as Die Hard and Executive Decision, Redemption draws from avenues other than the armoury. Statham has arrived at a fresh place in his career where the possibilities for entertainment and innovation are boundless.
(Released by Roadside Attractions and rated "R" by MPAA.)