The first time I saw James Mcavoy, he was short-listed as one of the character actors I know. Slowly he started to prove that he can don many a persona – from a Narnian to a tormented lover falsely accused – and when I heard that he was going to pull an assassin up his sleeve, I was doubtful. I mean, look at him! He’s a non-violent calm looking bloke, as opposed to Daniel Craig (James Bond) and Matt Damon (Jason Bourne). But in as short as one hour and fifty minutes, I became a believer.
His gun toting and bullet bending skills did not bring about this shift – I owe that to the cinematographers, good job! – but his ability to condition you to forget that he is James McAvoy. In Wanted, McAvoy plays a tormented anxiety-medicated account manager harassed by his boss, when a mysterious heavily tattooed Jolie comes to the rescue. Little did he know that his strange heartbeat, when stressed, distinguishes him as a prolific killer. Nonetheless, the journey was very convincing for the audience that we can easily shrug anything that defies physics and physiology.
Wanted is a story about assassins and good old family revenge, with a twist new genres are so fond of. Although we’ve heard this story a thousand times, Kazakhstan-born director Timur Bekmambetov assures us that this one will be nothing like we’ve seen before. There is a definite gratuitous ante of flavour to suit the taste of graphic novel aficionados. It ups everything by keeping the camera functioning in every screen shot, mingled with speed and rack. Watching bullets fly have never been so exhilarating. If anything, this violent graphic comic adaptation is viciously creative, uncompromising, and gory.
The beauty of the human body is also exploited by Jolie. Her super stylised way of ducking a bridge while on top of a speeding train is indulgent to the human eyes – talk about fluid, Pilates seems to be doing her well. The gun fights while lying on the hood of a speeding car, also showcases how invigorating outlandish can be. McAvoy is not about to let down, with his unrelenting torture to reach his potential he is gripping and at times comedic. His misery is drowned by his need to avenge his father and this will take him to a journey of abuse in the hands of his freakishly skilled comrades. Heads up to the squeamish, watching him transition from zero to hero is excruciating. His anguished character achieves this only after he is beaten to a pulp, stabbed, slashed, broken, bled, and humiliated. Bloody will be an understatement.
And oh, let’s not for forget about the indomitable Morgan Freeman. Although he doesn’t sling bullets around as much as Jolie and McAvoy, he sure has some of the best lines. Come to think of it, he can recite the alphabet or Mary Had A Little Lamb and still come off as a great actor.
The overall choreographed bullet bending and onslaught is a must see for those who crave for distinct camera shots, editing and musical score. Wanted is appropriately amped and then some… so don’t forget to hold on.