Picoreview: “Haywire”: First off, although I remembered the commentary about the filming when it happened, until I saw the scenes in “Haywire”, I forgot some of it had been set in Dublin. If anybody would like a walking tour of the Haywire movie when they come to visit, I can provide one. :)
Second, according to an article I read a while ago, “Haywire” director Steven Soderbergh apparently said, when he got the script, that he would love to do the film, but only if it had a female lead. And then he said he couldn’t imagine any of the crop of Hollywood starlets in it, because they were all too skinny, so he went out and got Gina Carano, an MMA fighter, and taught her to act. Because of this, Steven Soderbergh is now my hero and I will follow him to the ends of the earth.
Carano does just fine. The opening scenes, which I think were probably filmed first, are a bit wincy, and there’s some stiffness to her throughout when she’s not fighting, but I’m not convinced that the *character* doesn’t move with that stiffness, rather than Carano. So yeah, overall I think she did just fine with her debut film.
And the fight scenes are awesome. They are not like action movie fight scenes, not at all. I watch MMA because Ted does, and I recognized plenty of what she did as being straight out of the cages. I also recognized that with a number of the showier things, a cage fight couldn’t accomodate them because of its *shape*. So I don’t knock the showmanship where the environment permitted it, and even if I did, honestly, even so, the fight scenes are still a great deal less showy than any other action film I’ve ever seen.
In fact, pretty much nothing about the film is action-movie-like. The pacing is weird. The framing is weird. The light used is either actually all natural lighting or subtley-enough-done studio lighting that it *looks* like natural light. There’s almost no music. It is–as tersa said, and as other reviews I’ve read also said–very nearly an art film instead of an action film. It’s interesting in a way one does not expect action films to be, and was not what I expected when I went in the door.
Is it good? I’m really not sure. There are moments which are terrific, and I wasn’t sorry I’d seen it, but I didn’t especially like the storytelling framework, and that detracted a lot for me.
Ted wants Gina Carano to play Wonder Woman. I endorse this idea, and I’d say so does Steven Soderbergh.
(x-posted from the essential kit)