Director: Steven Soderbergh
Another week, another film in which Michael Fassbender makes an appearance. I am wondering if there has been a new law passed without my knowledge. However, giving Fassbender a run for his money in the ubiquity stakes is director Steven Soderbergh, having directed seven films in the past four years alone. Perhaps, if we harness the energy of both, we could end the world’s dependency on fossil fuels.
“Haywire” tells the story of Mallory Kane (Mixed Martial Arts star Gina Carano, making an impressive acting debut), a mercenary who finds that her employers have turned against her. Using a combination of stealth, brains and lethal force to avoid capture by criminals and the authorities, Kane thinks back to the events that have led to her predicament. As she attempts to unpeel the layers of subterfuge and intrigue, Mallory heads to a showdown with those who have turned her life upside down.
On the surface, this looks like your typical boring action film. Person gets betrayed. Kicks a lot of people in the head for 90 minutes. Film ends. But, as is typical of Soderbergh, this plays with the conventions of the genre to create a unique and intelligent film. The film takes its cue from the US thrillers of the ’70s by bringing an austere sense of realism to a story which would seem to demand an over-the-top approach. Muted colors, the use of handheld cameras, a story with plenty of shifts in time, and fight scenes that have a tangible sense of urgency all add to a complex and endlessly compelling film. There’s also a great and funky score from David Holmes.
Even the star power – with the likes of Fassbender, Michael Douglas and Ewan McGregor – seems laid back with some excellent and unshowy performances. Carano undoubtedly holds her own in a steely performance that has a quiet intensity that belies her previous profession.
A brilliant and clever film, Soderbergh once again shows his skill in blending the excesses of the Hollywood film with the subtleties of arthouse cinema.