For two-thirds of the film, Blunt is great. Then she more or less disappears in a strange point-of-view shift, presumably at the request of the director. And while I’m used to Villeneuve introducing twists (see Incendies, Prisoners and Enemy) this effective sidelining of the – to that point – main character had me feeling quite deflated that yet another female role had been downgraded. It left me with the feeling that Blunt’s talent was being criminally underused and summarily dispensed with once her usefulness was complete.
And yet, reflecting on this just an hour or so later, I realise that this is exactly what happened to her character in the story. The film isn’t named for Blunt’s character Macer; its translation is ‘hitman’ so the clue is there all along. Now I’m wondering if Villeneuve didn’t go far enough and should have just dropped her altogether for the third act (controversial?).
But while I’m sitting here now pondering how far I can forgive this manipulation for being a reflection of the storyline, I certainly can’t forgive the manipulative storyline of the Mexican cop. I can’t really comment further without entering spoiler territory.
But yay for Benicio del Toro. I often find him simply too much, too mad dog, too unpredictable. But he was just perfect here. Yay too for the score, which was also perfect for the visuals. And there are some great images – perhaps the overhead vistas were overused on occasion, but the night-view shots were something else.
This film has moved up a star for me in the last 24 hours precisely because it doesn’t tie up the ends. The ends will never be tied. More Villeneuve, please.