Redbelt (15)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarNo StarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner25/09/2008

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 99 mins

This Mametian thriller is worth watching for a terrific performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor, but it's hard to engage with the story and it loses its way in the final act.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by David Mamet, Redbelt stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Terry, a Jiu-Jitsu instructor who has always steered clear of the prize-fighting circuit, believing that "Competition weakens the fighter". Instead, he runs a self-defence studio with his wife Sondra (Alice Braga), where he teaches his students to control their emotions and encourages them to apply the same skills to their everyday lives.

However, an accident involving an off-duty cop (Max Martini) and a jumpy lawyer (Emily Mortimer) sparks off a series of events that lands an already financially-strapped Terry in a lot of debt. So when he's approached by a movie star (Tim Allen) and a sleazy producer (Joe Mantegna) with an offer to fight professionally, he realises that his only way out is to step into the ring.

The Good
Chiwetel Ejiofor is rapidly becoming one of Britain's best actors and if we're not careful, Hollywood is going to steal him from us. He gives a typically brilliant performance here, anchoring the film and keeping a cool head, even when there's chaos all around him.

There's also strong support from Braga, Mortimer and the usual cast of Mamet regulars (Mantegna, Rebecca Pidgeon and Ricky Jay as a tricksy fight promoter), while Tim Allen plays it darker than usual as troubled movie star Chet Frank.

The Bad
Unfortunately, having set everything in motion for a fight-based finale, it turns out that Mamet's not actually interested in that element of the story at all. As a result, the climax is both confusing and disappointing – there's something going on all right but the script gives you no clue as to what it might be and you're left wondering if it's not just Mamet indulging in Mametian macho bullshit.

Worth seeing?
Redbelt is worth seeing for Ejiofor's performance, but the script fails to engage and the end result is disappointing.

Film Trailer

Redbelt (15)
Redbelt has been reviewed by 1 users
image
01 20,000 Days on Earth (15)

Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue, Warren Ellis, Ray Winsto...

image
02 Guardians of the Galaxy (tbc)

Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel

image
03 I Am Divine (15)

Ricki Lake, John Waters, Divine

image
04 Pudsey The Dog: The Movie (U)

David Walliams, Olivia Colman

image
05 Love Me Till Monday (15)

Georgia Maguire, Sarah-Jayne Butler, Chris Leveaux...

Content updated: 28/07/2014 07:15

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Love Me Till Monday (15)

Georgia Maguire stars as a young woman disillusioned with the new world of work and the lack of Mr Right in her life.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films

Hot Tickets

Film 4 Summer ScreenFilm 4 Summer Screen

Taking over the big screen at Somerset House again for August 2014, the Film 4 Summer Screen series brings a variety of classics and brand new films to audiences in the capital.