Conveniently opening the same week as Danny Boyle’s crime thriller “Trance,” starring James McAvoy, is music-video-director Eran Creevy’s second feature, “Welcome to the Punch” (2012), with McAvoy as a London detective caught up in a tumble of crime thriller clichés—revenge, nemeses, etc.—while in the company of a splendid supporting cast of Brits that includes Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough, Peter Mullan, Jason Flemyng, Ruth Sheen and David Morrissey. Creevy displays a fondness for humorless macho posturing as well as a keen and loving acquaintance with the visual style of Michael Mann and John Woo. Narrative coherence is at a premium, although the action set-pieces are neat, simulacra of the work of any number of other filmmakers, clean renditions of what must have been an exemplary set of storyboards. A palette of deep greens and blues by night in East London’s Canary Wharf district demonstrates a great affection for fluorescent tubes, at once sleek and dingy. It’s no “Heat,” but there are moments of self-conscious cool as well as the occasional howler moment. Plus: London, a world-class film location, by night, looking almost as good as “The Dark Knight”‘s confected Chicago. A cheekily trashy, pumped-up electronic score by Harry Escott, whose work on the documentaries “The Arbor” and “The Battle For Barking” was superb, is a consistent source of amusement. Sir Ridley Scott is among the nineteen credited producers. 99m. (Ray Pride)
“Welcome To The Punch” opens Friday at Facets.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor of Filmmaker magazine. He is also a photographer: his history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images is forthcoming; previews on Twitter (twitter.com/chighostsigns) as well as daily photography on Instagram: instagram.com/raypride. Twitter: twitter.com/rayPride. (Photo: Jorge Colombo.)