Who’s In It: Alan Rickman, Bryan Greenberg, Eliza Dushku, Shawn Hatosy, Mary Steenburgen
The Basics: A Nobel Prize-winner’s son is kidnapped. Problem is that Dad’s a jerk and won’t pay the ransom. That’s the simple outline. The other details—and they are many and convoluted—will crush you with the weight of a hundred meaningless anvils, but not before you’re led on a pointless exercise in smirky, indie-film obnoxiousness and empty style.
What’s The Deal: One of my least favorite tricks in the world of independent film is when a cool cast is assembled to lure you, the steadfast movie nerd, into the theater. You go for the people in the cast you think are cool and even if the movie isn’t very good you’re happy you saw the actor you like. “Faith” nerds out there will be like, “Oh Eliza Dushku. She’d never lead me astray.” (Same goes for you Alan Rickman-philes.) But you know what? She didn’t write this thing. Or direct it. And she can’t save it. And you’ve been led astray.
Points Added/Taken Away For: Extreme gore in the first sixty seconds. The sawing and then chopping of a thumb off a living human. Gotta love that. Well, I do, anyway. And then you find out that the Nobel Son himself is studying cannibalism. And you hope and pray for more entertaining bloodshed. Maybe some snacking on brains. Anything to divert you from the creeping knowledge that this Rubik’s Cube of Nothingness is way too pleased with itself and about to make you wish you’d stayed home instead. Oh, but then guess what? No more cool violence! So you can’t even count on that.
Debt To Tarantino And Guy Ritchie And Get Shorty And Other Caper Revisionists: High. And still unpaid.
You Wanna See A Not Half-Awful Movie With Alan Rickman? Try Love, Actually. It’s not great. But he’s good (see “ticket purchase based on cast” thing above). And it’s a cleverly funny Christmas movie. And it's December. And he’s still a bad guy in it, so everyone more or less wins.