Year Released : 2014
Director : Noah Buschel
Cast : Corey Stoll, Billy Crudup, Elizabeth Rodriguez and Katherine Waterstone
Corey Stoll is one of my favourite under-rated actors in mainstream Hollywood today. He has had minor roles in a lot of films that I have enjoyed, such as Lucky Number Slevin, Push, Non-Stop and I am excited as to where his career will go once Ant Man is released in a few weeks, arguably his biggest role in his career so far.
Several actors have had many years playing minor roles in big films before getting their big break and then going onto considerable better things. I’ll use Jack Black as an example. Whilst he is now arguably a big star in Hollywood (despite his lack of decent movies), back in the early-mid 90s it wasn’t uncommon to see him playing minor characters in a lot of big films before then getting his big break in 2000’s High Fidelity.
However, simply having one of the major parts in a big and successful film doesn’t necessarily guarantee a successful or noteworthy career, with co-star Billy Crudup proving that. Crudup played Dr Mahattan in 2008’s Watchmen, a role for which he gained critical acclaim for his display as a misanthropic scientist, but since then he hasn’t been in any films that were particularly noteworthy.
Anyway, I’m rabbiting on again, here’s the review.
Following on from his retirement from professional boxing, Bud Gordon (Stoll) has taken up mentoring and training up and coming talents. One day he looks over his life and how it has gone downhill since his retirement, such as the downgraded apartment that he lives in and that very few people recognise him on the street.
Whilst going through his slump, he decides to have a conversation with a local businessman by the name of J.J Cook (Crudup) and he is offered a job as a debt collector/enforcer. On his first night he and a colleague visit several people to try and collect debts, with Bud having to convince the other not to us unnecessary threats, such as killing one debtor’s cat to get the point across.
The evening seems to go well but whilst reading a newspaper a few days later, one of the men that the two visits has been murdered, and Bud quickly realises that the day he was killed was the same day that Bud visited and that the murder weapon has his finger prints, as well being caught on camera. J.J knows this and has secured the tape and uses it to blackmail Bud into convincing one of his fighters to purposefully lose a match in a specific round.
So, was it good?
Glass Chin is a very unusual film in many ways and let me put it this way, I started watching this film on Tuesday and didn’t finish it until Saturday. I was able to go in and out of it and not feel any sort of urgency to finish it, and that is never a good thing. No movie should ever make you feel like you can leave it and come back at a later time to re-pick it up. It shows that it’s just not that engaging enough and it’s a problem that can’t be ignored.
Now don’t get me wrong, the story isn’t bad but the reason that I couldn’t get truly engaged is that it isn’t an original story. Ignoring the minor parts here and there, it’s a done story. Like various found footage film, the only thing that has changed from this films and the other similar films is the character names and the location. The story has been done so many times that I predicted what would happen from the trailer and that’s not a good thing.
However, other than that lack of originally and predictability, it’s not actually a bad film at all.
It’s nice to see Corey Stoll play a likable protagonist for once. Even in the rare films where he has played a protagonist in the past, he hasn’t played a particularly likable character, but this film changes that and he’s a character that you can really get behind. It’s not until around the 50 minute mark of the 80odd minute film that he realises that he has been framed and you see the conflict as he wants to try and lead his life normally but ultimately expects the police to come for him at any moment.
I also mention camera work on a regular basis and how poor it is, but with Glass Chin it is phenomenally good and the visuals are fantastic. Scenes are shot from a single camera and more often that not it comes from set point. In one scene it seems like that just rested it on a table, pressed record and then just let the actors do their job. The transitions are smooth and in one conversation between Bud and J.J it starts as a wide angle and zooms in so slowly that by the end you’re on a close up of the latter’s face, and the strange thing is that you didn’t realise you were zooming in. It’s done in a way smart way.
And finally, the look of the film is excellent. With the infrequent snow storms provide an unusual look with Stoll running and sitting in his car as the snow slowly falls around him, whereas normally it’s like a blizzard in films, and the way that light reflects of the car makes the film look crisp and almost neo-noir in nature. I would imagine that it would look exceptional on Blu-Ray.
I know that this review is considerably shorter than normal and the reason is that there isn’t really that much to talk about really. It’s one of those watchable but ultimately throw away films. It’s a nice way to spend 80odd minutes without feeling overly engaged and never feeling the need to watch the film.
Stoll shines and will no doubt go onto big things following his upcoming Ant Man showing, and he is by far the most enjoyable thing about the film.
I’d say give it a watch, there are far, far worse films around at the moment.