By Ian Gibson
Vengeance is an angry thing, an act charged with intense emotions and violent actions. Faster, the latest starring vehicle for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is a film about vengeance. Though it is made-up of all the typical components of a revenge flick (villains, gunfights, flashbacks, etc.), there is something inherently new in Faster – a mysterious quality that makes it enjoyable despite the sense of familiar territory.
Johnson is, predictably, the badass of the film, the hero with a nasty edge and a heart filled with rage. A recently released convict with a bad memory of his brother’s death, the hero sets-out to kill those who killed the only person he loved in the world. Carla Gugino and Billy Bob Thornton co-star as the odd-couple pair of police detectives trying to make sense of a world suddenly filled with dead bodies. Rounding out the cast of characters is a professional hitman played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen tasked with killing Johnson in order to protect a guilty client. To be painfully honest, the plot and characters don’t offer much beyond the standard formula of the genre.
Where Faster gets interesting is in the thrilling cinematography. Nearly every shot is carefully planned and orchestrated to be original and invigorating. The emotions of the scene drive the camerawork, instilling in the viewer the exact same state of mind that the characters are experiencing. Even the most basic situations are given this treatment, giving the entire film a likable innovative feel. The soundtrack only adds to this aesthetic, kicking in with at exactly the right moment with a song that works to enhance the visual action and not drown it. For a film marred by a plethora of stale, standard elements, Faster is surprising novel and entertaining.
In an odd way, Faster’s theme of redemption applies outside the bounds of narrative. Despite it’s staid quality, one can’t help but applaud the film as whole for its ability to use creative technique to reinvigorate well-worn tropes. Faster deserves to be watched and studied as an excellent example of how to be creative in the bloated, over-saturated state of modern Hollywood.