I’m not a guy that’s driven to review movies. Generally speaking, I figure that my taste and my opinion don’t matter much to other folks when it comes to cinema; and when you consider that I’ve lived in LA for the better part of the last decade yet still regularly fail to identify celebrities when they’re sitting at the next table in a restaurant there are certainly loads of people better qualified than I to provide general cinematic criticism.
[YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0iuOdp_Riw&autoplay=0 320 320]
So why this film? It isn’t the special effects. They’re only average. The dialog is decent but by no means exceptional. The score is very good – perhaps a bit too noticeable at times but well chosen and interesting. The casting is good – the characters seem to fit the roles and vice-versa. The plot is definitely clever and the pace is reasonable. Hancock is smarter than your typical comedy too. There’s an emotional undercurrent in this movie that makes it much more interesting than your run of the mill summer comedy.
So why, given that what I’ve written above seems to indicate that this movie is perhaps just slightly better than average would I offer a sincere recommendation to you to see this movie – even if it is the sole move you see at a theatre all summer?
There’s a simple reason, really. Will Smith. Make no mistake about it. Will’s potrayal of this lonely, conflicted, non-communicative super hero is an acting tour de force plain and simple. If this moview were of a more dramatic rather than comic bent Smith would be on everyone’s list for an Academy Award. As it stands, in spite of the problems presented by giving the best actor nod to a lead in a comedy, he still might get the Oscar. He’s that good.
Smith is so good in fact that I realized while I was watching the film that I was seeing a truly great actor at the peak of his skills. His scowl, his puzzled expression, the waft of his hand under a barrage of critism, his look of puzzlement when he’s complemented instead of derided – the small gestures, the pursed lips, the furled brow- they simply work and make this film so much greater than the sum of all of its other parts.
I’ve always enjoyed Will Smith. His easy, engaging, accessible humor and the fun, avant garde roles he selects have kept him within striking distance of my favorite actors and films for years but with this role he makes the leap from near the head of the line to far beyond it.
This is a movie well worth seeing in the theatre. It’s a film that you can enjoy with friends or with your kids. It’s lighhearted and silly but deep enough that you get to see what a master craftsman does with a role that requires extreme overacting yet subtle, nuanced acting in the same role at the same time. Few people could pull off such a task yet Smith does so brilliantly.
It’s so good I’ve already seen it twice and it was even better the second time. As I said at the beginning of this post, I don’t make a habit of reviewing films or even making reccommendations to friends – but then again, I rarely see a movie where I was so impressed by an individual actor as I am with Smith in Hancock. Hopefully, those of you that take my advice and see this movie will enjoy it asuch as I did. Either way, please let me know what you think in the comments.