“The Oath” presents itself as part holiday comedy, part sociopolitical satire, and all political progressive nightmare. In terms of its target audience, the film presses all the right buttons to check all those boxes. Arguably, it pushes them too well, and the final result is more depressing than funny.
As in their previous collaboration, 2011’s Unknown, Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra effectively set up intrigue, mystery, and tremendous tension in the early going of Non-Stop. But the film’s methodical pace and emphasis on suspense rather than action will probably prove unsatisfying to viewers hoping for a Taken-like experience.
With an A-list cast, a hot-button premise ripped from today’s news headlines, and solid, capable direction from French-Canadian filmmaker Denis Villenueve, Prisoners has a great deal going for it in terms of captivating audiences and leaving them talking and thinking about its themes long after the credits roll.
Aside from being an on-screen reunion for father and son Will and Jaden Smith, After Earth is also a true return to form for director M. Night Shyamalan, whose extraordinary talents for blending sophisticated, cerebral, character-driven storytelling with chilling suspense are on full display.
“Side Effects” is well-acted, elegantly shot, and riveting through its first hour, but after one or two too many plot twists in the film’s later acts, the whole thing feels entirely too clever for its own good.