by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
BLURAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)
Clive Owen as RAY KOVAL
Julia Roberts as CLAIRE STENWICK
Tom Wilkinson as HOWARD TULLY
Paul Giamatti as RICHARD GARSIK
Directed by: Tony Gilroy
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Julia Roberts stars as Claire Stenwick, an ex-CIA agent who once stole from Ray Koval (Clive Owen), an ex-MI-6 agent. Years later, their paths cross again, and they decide to work together on a long con involving private corporations. The goal is to score $40 million, and while they seem to be in love, their suspicious nature threatens to ruin their relationship as well as the heist.
WHAT I LIKED
I like a good heist movie, and I’m a huge fan of the “Oceans” movies. Back when “Duplicity” opened in the theaters, I dubbed the film “Oceans Two” because it really had that punchy heist flavor to it. However, it’s not directed by Soderbergh, and it doesn’t star George Clooney and Brad Pitt (and about a dozen others).
Still, it’s a lot of fun to watch the heist play out in this movie. It may seem silly to have two consumer product manufacturers go toe-to-toe (think a Procter & Gamble smackdown with Johnson & Johnson, and you’ll catch my meaning), but this sort of thing is very real. Corporate espionage applies to the mundane as much as it does to the high tech world.
The best part of the movie is the casting of Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson as the rival CEOs. Giamatti turns out one of his best smarmy performances this side of Pig Vomit in “Private Parts,” and Wilkinson nails the overbearing rival like an abusive father. If only the bulk of the story were about them.
That doesn’t mean that Julia Roberts and Clive Owen didn’t have chemistry. They do, and that helps. The two work well as leads in a grown-up thriller, but these aren’t their best performances.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Even though Roberts and Owen do fine jobs in this film, I just felt distracted with their stories. You are meant to care about them, at least a little, but I never found much to like about either. Sure, they’re good looking (although Roberts is looking a little worn for her age), but inviting characters they are not.
The other problem I had with this film was the shifting storyline. The timeline of the movie jumps around an awful lot, often confusing the viewer until the final reveal. Even watching the movie a second time, I found myself lost were I to look away or get distracted at the wrong moment.
Any movie released on Blu-ray is going to look as good as it can in the home video market. This transfer looks great, but the only problem is there are no major bonus features on the disc. Writer/director Tony Gilroy joins his brother, editor/co-producer John Gilroy, for a commentary track, but that’s it... unless you can find something decent on the ever-shifting content of Universal’s BD-Live Center.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Grown ups who want a heist movie masquerading as a romantic comedy.