Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #350 The Taking of Pelham 123

In Uncategorized on September 8, 2011 at 7:24 AM

Movie #350 The Taking of Pelham 123

(2009, US, d. Tony Scott)

I usually say this with most Tony Scott films but as far as the visuals are concerned, if you’ve seen one, you’ve really seen them all. His most recent directorial effort was a film with Denzel Washington and Chris Pine called Unstoppable and it pretty much looks the exact same as this film. So do films like Domino, Man on Fire, and Deja Vu. Another clear similarity these films have with one another is through the casting of everyman Denzel Washington. One of the best character actors working today, I’ve always thought Mr. Washington played the Everyman to a tee. Here he is MTA employee Walter Garber (a reference to actor Walter Mathau, who played the same role in the 1974 version of the film), a regular man forced to stop a terrible act of terrorism led by a leader named Ryder (an actually sometimes scary, but mostly one-dimensional John Travolta). The film is frenetic and chaotic, especially when told through the lens of a Scott film, but these are all compliments for the film. It is meant to captivate the audience and hold them at the edge of their seats and it does that. Tony Scott’s other great talent is knowing exactly when to end a film. It ends exactly when you would want it to and doesn’t push the viewer’s patience in any way. The Taking of Pelham  123 is a film that is easy to criticize. Though it tends to hold suspense well, there is no heart to the film and no passion in any of the characters and their emotions. For me, the film read well, but there were moments where I reconsidered the quality in the film, due to the jarring and ultrafast motion of the visuals, which can easily segregate an audience and their response to a film. I liked it, but again, that’s just me.

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