MEETING EVIL (2012)
Director: Chris Fisher
Writer: Chris Fisher
(Based on the novel by Thomas Berger)
Cast: Luke Wilson, Samuel L. Jackson, Leslie Bibb, Peyton List, Muse Watson, Tracie Thoms...
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA): R for violent content and language.
Runtime: 130 minutes
Reviewed by Cherie Jung
John is a down-on-his-luck real estate agent. He hasn't been able to sell anything in the down-turned economy. He's just been fired. His house is in forclosure. His bills are past due. His wife has lost all patience with him. Then along comes Ritchie, a stranger who asks John for help in getting his stalled car running again. John is reluctant to lend his assistance but is easily bullied by the stranger. One thing leads to another and the duo quickly become embroiled in a murder, crime spree, with the enigmatic Ritchie manipulating the forelorn John at every confrontation.
It appears to the local police that John is the psychotic killer, not Ritchie.
I have not read the book this movie was based on so I can only comment on the movie version. The plot had potential but was quickly spoiled for me by two things. First, the progression of John's character as the story developed. Or the lack of progression. While Luke Wilson was capable of portraying the character of John initially, he was over-shadowed by Samual L. Jackson's character, Ritchie, throughout the movie. While the character of John stood to lose a great deal from his encounter with Ritchie, in the end, he didn't lose anything. The killings were essentially flashbacks to scenes of carnage but too far removed from the actual dilemma John was facing. Could he, or would he stand up to Ritchie or just continue to wriggle around as Ritchie pulled on John's invisible puppet strings? Secondly, the ruse Ritchie repeatedly used to outwit the locals and the cops didn't work for me after the first couple of times. In order to be believable, the casting should have been done more carefully, with similar sized actors to Samuel L. Jackson's body size.
I also found the ending to be unsatisfactory. Had the film ended one and a half scenes earlier, the movie would have achieved its purpose of leaving me wondering about Ritchie's true purpose in tangling with John and the killing spree that resulted.
Samuel L. Jackson fans will likely enjoy this movie more than non-fans. I'm not sure who else might actually find the movie entertaining or worth the time it will require to view it.
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