Directed by Timur Bakmambetov
Released June 27, 2008
Universal Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Relativity Media
Wanted - Released June 27, 2008. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov
Production budget $75 million. Box Office: American market $134,508,551, foreign market earnings $206,924,701. Total worldwide haul $341,433,252.
We want you
A secret assassin society recruits Wesley (James McAvoy) because they believe he has the congenital skills of his father, a legendary killer that can literally make bullets "bend" in the air and hit targets that are otherwise concealed.
The recruitment comes by way of Angelina Jolie (as the assassin Fox) who barges into Wesley's life as he painfully tries to survive as a corporate drone, laden with boredom, frustration and a cuckolding girlfriend.
Morgan Freeman (as Sloan) runs the assassin organization, placating Wesley's reservations about mass slaughter by showing him a vast factory floor where industrial sized looms create threaded textiles - - the threads, incidentally, reveal the fate inherent in future events (that is, if you can read the threads, which is a kind of cosmic code ... this is a direct reference to the blind Fates of Greek Mythology who used looms to sew together the fabric of the future). Sloan tells Wesley that his assassin club serves a grand purpose of eliminating evildoers and providing justice.
Reluctant at first, Wesley is soon being trained at the assassin facility, and getting to know the enigmatic Fox better. Wesley is also starting to learn he is capable of much more than he previously thought possible.
The plot complicates as it becomes evident that Sloan may not be the ethical arbiter he claims to be, and that Wesley's father is playing a hidden role vastly at odds with the portrait provided by the lethal organization Wesley has now joined.
The movie plot works at the speed of a comic book (which is the source material) and the power phantasy of superhero comic books (and spy action films) are combined in a straightforward and expert way. There's no attempt to ladle in tongue-in-cheek humor or social comment, the usual way a producer, director or stars try to insert a wry comment that they're above the material they're involved with. Instead, Wanted demands the audience make a serious acceptance of the preposterous story and the mechanics of super-assassins, beings that survive (most) mortal injuries and can make the paths of bullets change course, among other extraordinary abilities. The ethics are equally straightforward, bad guys must be overcome and special powers must be used in the service of the good.
Angelina Jolie might be sharing a three-way billing in screentime, but she is the main selling point in the marketing, and appears to be the justification for the title change from the source material.
McAvoy, Jolie and Freeman all do good work with their limited time when special effects are not dominant (and there are an awful lot in this film). Morgan has his usual easy gravitas, McAvoy has desperation and is the audiences (legitimate) place where questioning the ambiguity of the assassin's moral decision making begins.
Jolie is generally stoic throughout, similar to the likeable but shady gunman of a hundred cowboy movies, a well-armed, powerful person who will eventually side with the forces of law and order.
Original Page Sep 25, 2015
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