Momentum – Review

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Having worked across decades as Clint Eastwood’s camera operator, Stephen Campanelli has now tried his hand at directing, with his feature film debut Momentum. Undoubtedly captured by an accomplished eye, this generic thriller falls at several other hurdles; most damaging of which are the lacklustre performances and hackneyed screenplay.

The film centres around Alex, played with a fervent conviction by Olga Kurylenko, as a thief who is talked into committing one final heist – with an ambitious target to steal a collection of immensely valuable diamonds. During the robbery, however, Alex gets more than she bargained for, also obtaining a hard-drive that, while seemingly innocuous, contains a video that a U.S. Senator (Morgan Freeman) is desperate to prevent being leaked – and so hires his best assassin, Mr. Washington (James Purefoy) to not only destroy the drive, but also all of those who have seen it; transpiring in a potentially deadly game of cat and mouse.

Though having a female lead in an action thriller is always commendable, and a welcome sight, it’s a shame that any such subversion is undermined by the inclination to shoot her from the male gaze, with a superfluous addition of scenes featuring the protagonist undressing. Thankfully Kurylenko – in what is really her first leading role – carries the film, with an accomplished turn, and one that ensures the audience believe in her throughout, and root ardently for her cause. She’s matched at every turn by Purefoy too, who has a certain volatility about him; an unpredictable streak which makes for a beguiling antagonist. Again, it’s just a shame to see that undermined by the character’s use of sharp one-liners, as he seems more concerned with that than he does actually finding his target and taking care of her.

Recommended:  Limbo Review

Sadly it’s the supporting roles that let this picture down, though needless to say, Freeman is not one of them. Though if travelling through London and you happen to stumble across a poster promoting this title, it’s best to ignore the sensationalist quote, ‘Freeman at his best’, because while there’s nothing wrong with this turn from the venerable performer, he’s only in Momentum for a grand total of around five minutes. This one can go down as a cameo role/favour.

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About Stefan Pape

Stefan Pape is a film critic and interviewer who spends most of his time in dark rooms, sipping on filter coffee and becoming perilously embroiled in the lives of others. He adores the work of Billy Wilder and Woody Allen, and won’t have a bad word said against Paul Giamatti.

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