WARNING! SPOILER ALERT! IN MY DISCUSSION OF THE MOVIE WANTED I WILL BE GIVING AWAY DETAILS ABOUT THE PLOT, INCLUDING THE ENDING. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW, DON'T READ ON!
I recently went to see the movie Wanted. I will admit, a large draw was Angelina Jolie. And Morgan Freeman. For different reasons.
I must say, I truly enjoyed this film. It was exactly what I was looking for. It was not a deep, causes you to re-analyze your life cinematic event. Nor was it absolutely mindless dribble to fill a few hours.
The storyline has been told as long as people have been telling stories. A young man living a boring, droll life who discovers he has a greater destiny. King Arthur had a similar tale. Robert Louis Stevenson loved the thought of the ordinary being destined to greatness. Tolkien, Lewis, Twain, they all told this story. They just didn't have Angelina Jolie covered in tats.....but I digress.
There were two negatives with Wanted. The biggest was the pornographic violence. People didn't just get killed, their heads were blown off. The blood spatter was shown flying from behind heads when they were shot. Some may say that it is in the name of "realism", but I say that it is unnecessary. Shoot someone and they fall. A little blood. Stop the onslaught of gore to make the viewer cringe. We get it, they were shot and shot well. John Wayne did it too, but there were no brains on the wall when he left a place.
The second negative was the sharp Fight Club overtone. From the self narration to the cinematography, I felt as though Tyler Durden was going to come out and beat me up for looking at his wife.....did I mention Angelina Jolie was in the film?
However, those two issues aside, I felt that the film had an underlying understanding of honor and sacrifice. This was portrayed in a way that is often missing in films today.
The main character Wesley, discovers he has been duped, that he has been tricked into killing his own father. He discovers that the very man who trained him to be an assassin is a traitor. (If you haven't seen the film, it is based around a man who is trained to work for a group of assassins that kills people based on anonymous orders. The idea is that they are killing to set balance, not for personal gain.) And then Sloan reveals that in order for the Assassins to truly fulfill their destiny, to stay pure, they would all have to die, as all of their names have come up.
The stage is set. Do the Assassins kill each other, thus proving that they truly believe in what they are doing? They claim they kill those they are required, no questions. But to do that to themselves? This is where the movie could have wimped out. It could have killed off just the really corrupt guys. Or just the ones that decided to compromise. And, it would have been okay. If Angelina's bullet had killed everyone, but James McAvoy had shot it before it hit her, he could have thrown in a cheesy line about fate not always being right, and the movie would have been acceptable. What put it over the edge was that it understood that for a story to be truly great, self sacrifice is the key. Thus, Angelina takes her own bullet as well. Everyone who, in order to uphold the integrity of the organization, had to die, dies.
Sacrifice is difficult. It does not always make for happy endings. I wanted Angelina to live. I wanted her to somehow survive the slaughter. But for the story to be a great one, she could not. The writer of this story understood that, and thus ensured a great tale.
Plus there are rats that are used as bombs, Morgan Freeman as a bad guy, and Angelina Jolie covered in tats getting out of a tub. So it had that going for it too.
All in all, on a completely arbitrary scale of 0 (bad) to 7 (fantastico) haggis (that is correct, on I Dream of Scotland we measure movies in haggis) I would give it 5. 5 Haggis. Don't worry, 7 Haggis is not easy to come by.