Pssst, want to check out Pain & Gain in our new look?
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A surprisingly enjoyable movie and an absolutely insane true story. Bay's style is in full force here, but it actually kind of works for a change, and the man knows how to make a budget look big; it's hard to fathom that this was made on $30 million. There's some action, but it's much more of a dark comedy, with many scenes very reminiscent of the likes of Fargo. It's also incredibly funny at times, but unfortunately then out of nowhere there will be a grossout gag or a bit of poor physical humour that completely ruins the flow of the film. The acting is strong across the board however, facilitated by the underused multi-narration technique. Shalhoub is great as always but the standout is Johnson, who delivers undoubtedly the performance of his career.
The allegory of the 'American Dream' is forced down your throat, and it's been done better in countless other films, but I'm just impressed there's actually another level to the movie. The concept of the main character believing he is living out the American Dream by stealing money from an immigrant who he views as worthless despite the fact he is a self-made man who actually has lived out the American Dream is pretty clever commentary. Likewise Bay's usual weaknesses such as shallowness, racism, misogyny, and homophobia are all present in varying degrees, but they're far from fatal, because they're actually integral parts of the story and the characters. Whether you credit Bay for doing this intentionally or not is another matter of course.
Just like its trio of protagonists though the film suffers from wanting just that little bit too much. If it had been 15 minutes shorter I think it could have been really great, but as it is the film drags significantly at times, especially given its singular tone and and pace. The cinematography also suffers from excess: the freeze shots are cool for a while, as are the captions and the slow motion, and the first time the camera tracks through a hole in a window it's impressive, but by the time all these things have occurred five or six times they begin to become tiresome.
All in all though it's worth seeing not only because it's entertaining, slick, stylish, and funny, but also because it's one of those 'Based On A True Story' movies that you think cannot possibly actually be real... until you look up the news articles afterwards.
A Martin Scorsese film for the MTV Generation. All of the hallmarks of Marty are here but it's from....Michael Bay? Surprisingly decent and might be Bay's best film.
one the best Michael Bay films, none the bull he pulls in transformers, this is genuinely funny, with competent actors
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!