Cast: Robert Diggs (Christian Slater), Ambassador Ashdown (Donald Sutherland), Vicki/Young Vicki/Ursula/The Assassin/Sofia (Elika Portnoy), Dr. Kahn (Timothy Spall)
Director: Isaac Florentine
Theatrical release: 08/03/2012 DVD Date: 08/14/2012
Rating: Running Time: 91 minutes
Note(s): Original screenplay by Hans Feuersigner and Nancy Babine from a story by Elika Portnoy.
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Review: It's probably wrong for me to say I have "no clue" what this movie is about, but it's probably fair to say I was guessing as to what this movie was about the whole time I was watching it.
Christian Slater plays Robert Diggs, a mid-level US embassy official of some sort, based in Sofia, Bulgaria. He's high enough to have a secretary, but low enough that, having worked in Bulgaria for some time, he has yet to meet the Ambassador (Donald Sutherland). When he does, the Ambassador asks Robert to investigate a series of murders, the victims all being on some sort of "list". I'm not quite sure what that list is, however, The first murders were of Islamic drug dealers … or dealers in something. The second murder was of an Islamic terrorist. Anyway, we (the viewers) do know who the killer is, but we don't know who her handler is. (She gets her assignments via coded phone messages.) I guess that's supposed to be the "whodunit" element of the movie, but if you're like me, you'll know "whodunit" long before Robert starts putting the pieces together. Spoiler hint: never trust anyone who says "trust me". Another spoiler hint: Robert never does figure it out … at least not completely.
The pacing is terrible. The directing, if possible, even worse. I can only imagine there is some "Directing 101" book out there, and the director was reading it on the fly, adhering to the advice provided therein to the letter. And just in case you weren't clever enough to key in on the "aha" details of the film, the director thoughtfully lingers the camera on what's important. (Maybe there's a companion instructional book, "Viewers are Dummies 101", and what you as a director can do to leverage that.) You could be half-asleep while watching this film and still catch on to the clues. (Truth be told, you might be half-asleep watching it. There's not much action to pump up the energy.) Unfortunately, none of this actually helps you understand the film, which is amazingly convoluted … and not in a good, suspense kind of way.
The ending is particularly odd, no doubt intended as a twist of sorts, but twists only work if they're set up properly. Trust me: there was no set up here.
Surprisingly, the acting isn't bad at all. Christian Slater is in almost every scene and is, well, Christian Slater. If you are a fan, he won't disappoint. Even if you're not, you'll probably be wondering why someone of his ability is even in this movie. Donald Sutherland is, well, Donald Sutherland. It's a small role, but he handles it well. Elika Portnoy is the only female lead … and yet — you do the math — there are three principal adult female characters: blonde, brunette, and redhead. (Could this be more clichéd?)
Bottom line: give this movie a pass. It's not worth 90 minutes of your time.