The second instalment of the Eavesdropping at the Movies podcast with Michael Glass of Writing About Film, where we hope to offer the experience of eavesdropping on friends chatting informally about a movie after just watching it.
This week the focus is on The Hitman’s Bodyguard and the topics under discussion include: Can an action film that goes through Coventry be any good? Is it important that action scenes are funny? Is Gary Oldman a whore? All valuable questions. All answered in our chat about The Hitman’s Bodyguard. I think.
José Arroyo and Michael Glass.
It’s got a few laughs; the set-pieces are very expert; Gwyneth Paltrow is as beautiful as ever and less annoying than usual; Robert Downey Jr’s humour is beginning to grate; I might be reading this into his performance, but he conveys that snappish superiority typical of recovering addicts; ‘if I’m in recovery, you’re not having your shit together is unacceptable; any problems you might have are small beans compared to mine; deal with them’. He is now exuding such a lack of empathy, one feels like waving some choice drugs under his nose just to remind him of human frailty and restore some kindness, empathy, understanding of human weakness and cowardice, all the things we loved him for, all the things that made him a great actor, all the things he now seems to lack. He’s become master of mechanical flippancy with no heart: an irony machine. It’s like the iron suit has killed the soulful actor that used to lurk inside it and neutralized all he was once capable of expressing: I hated the sections in the small town; and I think the exchanges with the kid are sitcom-y and false. It’s a painless two hours; in financial terms, a blockbuster hit. But superhero films can offer so much more. And Robert Downey always used to offer so very much more than he does here: he’s an actor that seems to have lost touch with what it is to be human.