Shakespeare’s Hamlet might comment that something is not rotten, but lacking in the National Film Board of Canada’s documentary of the Stratford Festival of Canada. In a brief 83 minutes, director John N. Smith’s documentary is like a sampler of chocolates.
Here’s a movie that’s drenched in mood and has a tricky, multiple-story narrative structure that occasionally overlaps itself like a Möbius strip. It’s a clever device that lends an air of mystery and depth to the stories it tells — with John Turturro and Matthew McConaughey.
In lesser hands, this film could have been just another summer potboiler. But director Doug Liman (Go) distills rather than merely boils down Robert Ludlum’s story; Matt Damon and company keep things steadfastly real, even as thrilling chases and battles test the suspension of disbelief.
With a fair amount of lively war porn, John Woo’s film isn’t the story of the military’s World War II use of Navajo Marines as purveyors of a code based on their native tongue, one too complex for the Japanese to figure out. Rather, it’s an old-fashioned B movie in which a compromised hero finds redemption.
The second film written and directed by Finn Taylor (Dream with the Fishes) starts promisingly, with interesting camera work and casting choices. But there's just not enough of sleazy, Vegas-cool Jason Priestly, an actor gushing with talent, versatility and a great comedic sense.