REVIEW: Good direction from Ritchie makes ‘Wrath of Man’ work

Many revenge movies are straightforward in their approach, so any time a good director can come along with some flair to elevate things, it’s a plus.

That’s the case here with “Wrath of Man.”

The film centers on Patrick Hill (Jason Statham) who simply goes by “H.” Appearing to be just an everyman, H begins working for an armored vehicle company, mainly under the supervision of a man whose nickname is Bullet (Holt McCallany).

His first several days there are routine, but one day a truck he’s in is stopped by a gang of thieves. It’s no problem for H, though, who takes out the criminals with great skill and precision. It soon comes to light that H is working at the company for a specific reason and has revenge on his mind.

“Wrath of Man” isn’t the most original take on the revenge concept but Guy Ritchie’s style really shines through here. As both writer and director, Ritchie succeeds in crafting a fast paced action picture with a well told story.

Rather than putting the story on a linear track, Ritchie offers a chaptered tale that utilizes flashbacks where viewers meet new characters. The chaptered model works quite well, with each section unraveling just a bit of information, allowing a smooth transition into the next segment.

Statham is really at his best when he’s able to play the quiet, brooding and brutal character, which is why he fits quite well here. His character is a walk softly and carry a big stick type with a cold demeanor, and Statham knows exactly how to play it.

wrath of man blog
Courtesy United Artists, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Miramax.

The role Statham is in is that of a protagonist, but as the film goes on, it’s uncovered that he’s not exactly a good guy. In fact, no one in the movie is really a good person. However, what’s notable here is that all of the characters are interesting, which makes the film engaging.

From the people working at the armored truck company to other Los Angeles criminals introduced later on, everyone has motivations and agendas. These may not be the most in depth characters put to screen, but they are compelling enough to hold one’s interest, even if you’re not exactly rooting for them.

“Wrath of Man” has other things going for it, too. Ritchie and cinematographer Alan Stewart made a fine looking picture here, with several good shots and well filmed action sequences. Ritchie’s ability to put together a battle scene involving shootouts certainly helps, too.

Credit also has to go toward the music in “Wrath of Man.” The score by Chris Benstead is powerful, enhancing every scene.

“Wrath of Man” doesn’t earn points for originality and one wishes the dialogue was maybe a bit more clever, but this is overall a good entry for the action thriller genre. 3.75 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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