Nov 26, 2018
Welcome back to the podcast. This is the second of two podcasts today as we get caught up from the wildfire evacuation. I’ll be continuing my story from the wildfire evacuation in a minute, but if you haven’t heard the earlier segments, hit pause, then go back to my review for “Outlaw King” (Episode #314) for the first segment, then listen every episode after that for another installment. Let me know you’re listening by sharing this episode with #WelcomeBackOMP
Last segment we ended with getting the all clear to return to our home, and repacking our car for the drive home, after thanking our host family for their shelter. The drive home actually felt longer than the evacuation drive. The traffic wasn’t actually too bad, but we were still passing fire trucks on their way towards the Woolsey Fire, still burning towards Los Angeles. We were driving into the smoke we saw blowing in from town, and watching it continue to plume in the distance. We were tired as we pulled into home, but it was good to be home, and to have a home to come back to.
It was also good to hear from folks while we were away, including Park Journey, a blog that follows theme parks and other attractions around the country. They reached out over Twitter while we were evacuated, and wished us well, and here’s a small way I can thank you for your support. You can follow them on Twitter @Park_Journey and check out their blog with tons of pictures at parkjourney.com.
Today’s movie is “The Crew” (2015), the Netflix Original French drama directed by Julien Leclercq and written for the screen in collaboration with Simon Moutairou. The film follows Yanis Zeri (Sami Bouajila), who leads a team of robbers that take a gig which results in threats to their families. Now they must take on another high stakes mission to save their families and their own lives.
Some films just misfire with me. Sometimes I can chalk that up to my internal bias, when I’m being honest with myself. But sometimes, I can find just the right problem with the film to know it’s not my fault, which is something I generally say when I’m not being honest with myself. And if all of this seems confusing to you, it is the exact same kind of confusion within this film, which starts strong with an opening mission, and then steadily heads in a downward spiral for every member of the crew. Sometimes for characters being honest with themselves. Sometimes for characters not being honest with themselves. We barely know the members. We can’t ever know if we can identify with them other than circumstantially. And we just watch as things go from bad to worse.
It’s not exactly a film that lifts the spirits, so unless it’s exquisitely crafted, it can only be so much, especially with a running time just over 80 minutes. The film ends up being both too fast and too slow. Story-wise, everything happens too fast, with almost no real character building. Action-wise, the film can feel surprisingly slow, since there’s no real commitment to the characters possible, and it never seems to make up for the wait. I was extremely excited by the first twenty minutes, then felt like the last hour took twice as long to finish. Not exactly the kind of film you want to show to a friend over Thanksgiving, especially after a turkey dinner.
Still, the film is pretty decent and has its moments. The action may not make up for the lack of story and character development. The realism of the story was refreshing, even when the characters seemed to make unrealistic choices. And like the previous episode, many parts of this film are derivative of other crime films. Downward spiral stories aren’t all bad, but it takes a lot more than what is offered to make this one better than it is.
“The Crew” (2015) is too fast in its character development and too slow in between action scenes, a dangerous combination for a short running time. The film could use an extra twenty minutes to smooth out those edges, but the current version is still enjoyable, if flawed. Action fans, who aren’t normally known for their need for character development, should definitely check out this film, but everyone else may want to read a few other reviews before deciding if this one is for you.
Rotten Tomatoes: NR
One Movie Punch: 7.0/10
“The Crew” (2015) is rated TV-MA and is currently streaming on Netflix.