26
Jun 08

Good Guy Actor Looking For Less Obvious Twist

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This Article Contains Spoilers To Two Films currently in the cinema. The particular spoiler however is surreptitiously contained also in the title to the article, and become obvious if I even mention the films names. However as twists they are both really quite obvious in their respective films so whilst you may curse me if you read on, you should also bear in mind that if the films wanted their twists to be more twisty, they would have made more effort in disguising them. The fact they don’t suggests that the fact that there is a twist is less important to the narrative structure than the impact on the characters the twist that THEY didn’t see coming has.

Morgan Freeman – there you go. That’s all you need to know. Morgan Freeman plays good guys. Morgan Freeman has played God twice (albeit a capricious, mysterious God with a penchant for US comedians and who hadn’t seen The Mask). Morgan Freeman is in Gone Baby Gone and Wanted and in both he plays a morally upstanding leader. Admittedly he plays a morally upstanding leader of a fraternity of assassins in Wanted, but in a film like that you have to pick your sides between good assassins and bad assassins.

EXCEPT IN BOTH HE IS ACTUALLY THE BAD GUY! Well, in Gone Baby Gone he breaks the law and kidnaps a child but since it is a film about morality his crime is balanced against the crime of being a drunken parent. In Wanted rather than taking his orders from a mystical loom (no – really) he has been making up the schedule of assassination for his own profit, and tricking our hero into killing his own pa. In both cases the casting does half the work of characterization. Because just like Denzel Washington before Training Day, he rarely plays a baddie. So Morgan Freeman turning out to be the bad guy is a shock. Though less of a shock because in both films the seeds are planted and they quickly run out of potential bad guys (both have psuedo-endings between the hour hour twenty mark, which experience tells us is too short for the actual endings).

Both films do what they set out to do perfectly well. Gone Baby Gone is a working class detective drama, set up for its moral dimension. Wanted is a very stupid but stylish action movie. But I saw both int he same night, and they both had the same plot twist. My fault not theirs!

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