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 Foxcatcher (tbc)

Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo

image
02 The Drop (15)

Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthia...

image
03 Wild (15)

Reese Witherspoon, Gaby Hoffmann, Laura Dern

image
04 The Babadook (tbc)

Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Tiffany Lyndall-Knig...

image
05 The Riot Club (tbc)

Jessica Brown Findlay, Natalie Dormer, Sam Claflin...

Content updated: 22/09/2014 07:10

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

20,000 Days on Earth

Nick Cave and a whole host of his various celebrity friends and colleagues come together in this mock biopic documentary style film, presented as only Mr Cave can.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films