Sunday 14 January 2024

Movie Review: The Mother (2023)

Genre: Action  
Director: Niki Caro  
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Joseph Fiennes, Omari Hardwick, Gael Garcia Bernal  
Running Time: 118 minutes  

Synopsis: FBI informant and ex-US Army sniper "Mother" (Jennifer Lopez) is pregnant and pursued by the rival gangs of her former associates Lovell (Joseph Fiennes) and Alvarez (Gael Garcia Bernal). After giving birth she surrenders her newborn daughter Zoe and disappears into the Alaska wilderness, with FBI Agent Cruise (Omari Hardwick) her only contact. Twelve years later Cruise sends a message that Zoe (Lucy Paez) is in danger, forcing Mother to come out of hiding to try and protect her daughter.

What Works Well: The action scenes are varied and well staged, and the energy level never dips across the two hours. The filming locations (British Columbia standing-in for Alaska, the Canary Islands representing Havana) are quite attractive.

What Does Not Work As Well: Mother's backstory, as revealed in flashback fragments, is abbreviated towards irrelevance, abandoning bad guys Lovell and Alvarez into bloodthirsty faceless villains territory. The plot features heavily-armed marauding gangs repeatedly showing up and running riot as they please, while Jennifer Lopez goes through the movie with a singular annoyed non-expression. The attempts to forge a mother-daughter bond are soiled by all the blood-letting.

Conclusion: Basic mindless action, competently delivered but indiscernible from countless similar efforts.

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