Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Hancock rocks the house

The vertiginous mood swings and abrupt tonal shifts of Hancock may too jarring, too unsettling, for moviegoers who prefer movies that are more smoothly consistent – and who may feel this apologetically all-over-the-map opus is as zig-zaggedly sloppy as one of the title character's flight patterns. But if you find yourself thinking, as I do, that this is some kind of terrific entertainment, chances are good that you'll feel that way because of, not despite, its free-wheeling, risk-taking untidiness.

Of course, lead player Will Smith deserves a fistful of kudos for his fearless performance as Hancock, a surly superhero who drinks himself into super stupors, passes out on bus-stop benches, and only reluctantly rouses himself to take flight in pursuit of bad guys. (Before you ask: No, he doesn’t wear a costume. And if you asked him about that, you’d probably wish you hadn’t.) Maybe he’s killed too many brain cells to think clearly. Or maybe he’s so bored with being bulletproof and super-strong that he must go to extremes to amuse himself. Either way, Hancock makes it very clear very early that he does whatever he damn well pleases, and to hell with the consequences, while pursuing fugitives, dousing burning buildings or, in one especially memorable scene, rescuing beached whales. If Smith weren’t around to generate at least a modicum of rooting interest in this mighty malcontent – well, it would be ridiculously easy to join Hancock's ever-expanding on-screen chorus of disapprovers.

Off-screen: Larry Ratliff has the eyes to see, the mind to discern and the heart to understand. So does Sean Axmaker, and David Denby. You can read my Houston Chronicle review here.

1 comment:

Actionman said...

Hancock is easily the best film so far of the summer and the most underrated movie of the year