film review – MR AND MRS SMITH

news: film review – MR AND MRS SMITH

The film opens with the two sitting side by side in separate chairs, facing the camera, enduring a therapy session with the familiar he-said, she-said dialogue. He forgets how many years they’ve been together and she corrects him with a tight smile. It’s almost like When Harry Met Sally, but with guns!

Secrets are never good for marriage, and the Smiths have kept some whoppers from each other – she thinks he’s a contractor, he believes she works on Wall Street. After a chaotic trip down memory lane, when John met Jane amid a hailstorm of bullets in Colombia’s Bogota, Mr and Mrs Smith discover their mutual subterfuge, working for rival agencies and quickly experience the agonies of betrayal.

The difference being that, instead of throwing a plate against the wall or lobbing an ashtray at their beloved, they lock and load. Their respective employers send them after the same person, an upstart operative wannabe (Adam Brody) and in the ensuing melee, their target gets away and John and Jane find themselves in each other’s crossfire. From there, the film turns into an action-filled, nastier, ultimately sexier film.

However, there is a nagging sense that a videotape of one of their notorious beach walks would be more entertaining. Whatever it is that’s drawn Brad and Angelina together in real life, it’s definitely not the glowing, unifying experience of having collaborated on an excellent movie. There must be some explanation, after all, it couldn’t be a publicity stunt generated to help ticket sales for the big budget film that is too dopey to generate favourable word of mouth, could it? Strain your mind really hard and you may be able to sense some sort of subtle satire on married life, but the film gives you so little to go on, that looking for intelligence in the script is like searching for profundity in Bambi.

Jolie’s intensity means that she up-ends this film’s delicate balance of hard action and soft romance. In the comedy of marriage, men and women struggle to become equals. These kinds of movies see the war of the sexes end in a tie. However, all it takes is five minutes with Angelina to realise that Mrs Smith could wipe the floor with her husband. Pitt plays the fun, goofy hit man, the persona with which he is most comfortable. Good at his job, he uses his bumbling to his advantage, but he is about as inconspicuous as Brad Pitt can be in a suburban neighbourhood.

It’s a bit overloaded with big action scenes and explosions, but what’s surprising is how convincing Pitt is in the action-sequences and how well Jolie does the comedy.

There are many loose threads left hanging but they don’t matter, it’s not a movie about the plot. The characters progress through enough challenges to get to a certain point in their relationship and then it’s over. When you have no pretensions of saving the world, exposing corruption or any other standard plot, you have nothing to prove. By proving nothing, Mr and Mrs Smith deliver everything.

****-Action packed, funny, over the top and a film with two of the best looking people on the planet – what’s not to like? Check it out.