Mann unter Feuer (2004)

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Mann unter Feuer: Directed by Tony Scott. With Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Radha Mitchell, Christopher Walken. In Mexico City, a former CIA operative swears vengeance on those who committed an unspeakable act against the family he was hired to protect.

“Alcoholic mercenary Creasy (Washington) is all washed-up, until his friend (Walken) finds him a job in Mexico City, as bodyguard for a rich familyu0026#39;s little girl Pita (Fanning). The taciturn man and melancholy girl slowly develop a strong bond… that is utterly shattered the day that Pita is kidnapped and that negotiations are sorely mishandled.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eu0026quot;Man on Fireu0026quot;u0026#39;s title works against it. It proclaims an adrenaline-fueled action film, when in fact what we get is very different. What could be mistakenly thought to be a prologue (Creasy is introduced, meets Pita and the relationship is shown) constitutes a good half of the filmu0026#39;s running time. Washington and Faning are on top form, the former tortured and angry and the latter endearing without being cloying, so it is a tribute to Scott and screenwriter Helgeland that the film takes its time showing their odd relationship. This makes things all the more hurtful and outraging when she is captured in a kidnapping that leaves Creasy severely scarred, both emotionally and physically.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe film earns its title in the second half, not because of non-stop action – which it fore-goes in order to give us something more pondered and cruel – but because Creasy is literally ablaze with silent fury. As he hunts down anyone who participated or profited from Pitau0026#39;s kidnapping, dismantling rings of Mexico Cityu0026#39;s tower of corruption, his methods get bloodier while his movement actually get slower. Creasy races against time and his own likely death, as a tragic figure whou0026#39;s newfound reason to live has been taken away from him.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe performances are fine, with great turns from the two leads and superb supporting turns by the always reliable Christopher Walken and Jiancarlo Giannini. What sometime detracts from the filmu0026#39;s quality is Tony Scottu0026#39;s now signature messy visuals. While some shots are magnificent, reminiscent of brother Ridleyu0026#39;s work, some are almost trashy and epilepsy-inducing (some unnecessary hyper-MTV editing). the man redeems himself by handling his actors with care, superbly illustrating his environment and creating a stark atmosphere.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThis is a precious oddity: a quality blockbuster.”


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