‘Wrath of Man’ is a Jason Statham movie directed by Guy Ritchie, a revenge thriller wearing the clothes of a heist thriller. The movie is more or less a remake of the 2004 French film Cash Truck (Le Convoyeur), and its cast is a dreamy assortment of dependably engaging character stalwarts (Eddie Marsan, Holt McCallany, Andy García, Jeffrey Donovan) with a few against-type additions (Josh Hartnett, Raúl Castillo, comedian Rob Delaney), a worthwhile Scott Eastwood — and, even a little Post Malone. The movie is filled with tough, sometimes violent men: gangsters and former combat veterans, mostly, with a smattering of security guards and cops. Ritchie and co-screenwriters Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies suggest that H could belong to any of those groups, or might be something else entirely. The film lets a couple of major characters suspect the same thing, and then a couple more, until it becomes a regular topic of discussion at Fortico, along with jokes about somebody on the team being an inside man for armored car robbers.
There's a touch of Clint Eastwood's hero-as-horror-movie-stalker characters in the film’s presentation of H—the ones that gave the mayhem in "Dirty Harry," "High Plains Drifter," and "Pale Rider" a bitter aftertaste. He's never really happy unless he's torturing or killing somebody that he thinks deserves to suffer pain, but even then, he doesn't seem happy. He seems driven by a code and a sense of duty rather than by the raw emotions he ought to be feeling, based on what we come to know about him.
More so than any other Ritchie film, you feel the presence of Evil in this one, in the capital-E, mythological or biblical sense, soul-rotting, and innocence-killing, not "bad guy do bad things while laughing." It's not a horror film, but it's horror-film adjacent. There's even a shot from the point-of-view of a man in riot gear on a killing spree, his labored breathing amplified by Plexiglas and rubber. You could show "Wrath of Man" as part of a double feature with Ritchie's "Revolver." In one, Statham plays a morally compromised character whose endangered soul might still be saved. In the other, he plays a man who's so far past that point that the affront that triggers his rampage plays less as an inexplicable catastrophe than as karmic payback for the toxic energy he’s pumped into the world.
The film unfolds in chapters. Each one circle back to the opening scene and adds to our understanding of that central event. The flashback construction of the film becomes a bit cumbersome, but withholding key information from the opening of the film proves to be an effective way to build the suspense. One person’s convoluted screenplay is another person’s clever narrative. The overall structure of the film worked for me.
Perhaps the most surprising and satisfying element of the film is the soundtrack. Christopher Benstead, who made his composer debut in Ritchie’s 2019 film The Gentlemen, has reversed decades of the director’s high-octane soundtracks. Gone are the standard assortment of electric guitars and college radio station hits; in their place is Benstead’s simple cello theme repeated throughout the film. Unsurprisingly, this stripped-down soundtrack serves as the perfect counterpoint for Ritchie’s direction, adding an element of the funereal to even the most visceral action sequence.
Wrath of Man may not be a crime classic, but it’s a cut way above the average VOD crime thrillers that hit streaming services every Friday. It has big ambitions, and it fulfills many of them. It gives me confidence that Guy Ritchie is still going to deliver his masterpiece one of these days. If you’re a fan of the crime genre, you don’t want to miss this one. The completeness and sureness of the movie’s aesthetic is a joy to behold, even when the images capture human beings doing savage things. You don’t root for anyone in this film. They are criminals engaged in contests of will. But the film is not a value-neutral exercise. There is an undertone of lament to a lot of the violent action. Every character made their bed and must lie about it. More often than not, it’s a deathbed.
Final Score – [7.5/10]
Reviewed by – Ritika Kispotta
Follow her @KispottaRitika on Twitter (https://twitter.com/KispottaRitika)
Bringing Pop Culture News from Every Realm, Get All the Latest Movie, TV News, Reviews & Trailers
Got Any questions? Drop an email to [email protected]