Two Films from Baltasar Kormakur
2 Guns (September 1/13)
2 Guns follows a pair of criminals (Denzel Washington's Bobby Trench and Mark Wahlberg's Michael Stigman) as they find themselves in a mess of trouble after a routine heist goes awry, with the movie primarily detailing the characters' subsequent efforts at scheming and murdering their way out of the situation. It's clear immediately that 2 Guns benefits substantially from the charismatic work of its two stars, with the palpable chemistry between the actors going a long way towards initially (and instantly) capturing the viewer's interest. The fun atmosphere, which is perpetuated by the protagonists' jocular banter, is diminished to increasingly demonstrable effect, however, as scripter Blake Masters offers up an incongruously convoluted storyline that grows more and more problematic as time progresses. It does, as a result, become exceedingly difficult to work up any interest in or enthusiasm for Bobby and Michael's exploits, with the continuing inclusion and emphasis on needless complications lending the narrative a disappointingly meandering feel. Having said that, 2 Guns benefits substantially from the efforts of its eclectic supporting cast - with Bill Paxton's scene-stealing turn as a sadistic lawman standing as an obvious highlight in the proceedings. There inevitably reaches a point, then, at which the movie loses its easygoing vibe and becomes a chore to watch, with the most obvious consequence of this the almost interminable final stretch (ie the movie just seems to go on and on and on) - which ultimately confirms 2 Guns' place as a promising buddy comedy that fizzles out to a hopelessly depressing degree.
The Deep (September 1/13)
Based on a true story, The Deep details the chaos that ensues after a fishing boat goes down off the coast of Iceland - with the movie detailing one man's (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson's Gulli) efforts at both surviving the wreck and adjusting to life back at home. Filmmaker Baltasar Kormakur, working from a script cowritten with Jón Atli Jónasson, does a nice job of initially emphasizing the day-to-day lives of the doomed fishermen, with the movie possessing a palpable sense of authenticity that generally does prove impossible to resist. And although Kormakur does push it in terms of buildup, The Deep recovers with a compelling midsection detailing the aforementioned sinking and Gulli's solo exploits in the water - with the character's wishful (and wistful) waterbound yearnings ensuring that the latter stretch packs an unexpected emotional punch. This portion of the film is so strong, in fact, that it can't help but affect the impact of the remainder, with Kormakur's low-key sensibilities, coupled with a curious emphasis on one doctor's efforts at understanding just why Gulli didn't perish, paving the way for a second half that's watchable, to be sure, but rarely engrossing. The Deep is, in the end, a passable true-life tale that's heightened by Kormakur's steady direction and Ólafsson's down-to-earth turn as the protagonist, yet the film is rarely, if ever, as captivating as one might've expected and/or hoped.