Sunday 26 May 2024

Movie Review: Quicksand (2003)

Genre: Thriller  
Director: John MacKenzie  
Starring: Michael Keaton, Michael Caine  
Running Time: 95 minutes  
Synopsis: In the South of France, violence erupts between Russian gangsters and corrupt local officials. Separately, New York-based bank auditor Martin Raikes (Michael Keaton) travels to Nice to investigate suspicious transactions being funneled through a movie studio. He meets CFO Lela Forin (Judith Godrèche) and fading actor Jake Mellows (Michael Caine), but the studio otherwise looks suspiciously like a front for nefarious activity. When Martin refuses a bribe to look the other way, he is implicated in an assassination and forced to go on the run.

What Works Well: Some of the South of France locations are attractive.

What Does Not Work As Well: This is a fetid example of tax-credit funded filmmaking with a couple of stars lured into a vacation opportunity. Michael Keaton phones-in a disinterested performance, and he might as well, since the premise of a stiff bank executive suddenly becoming an action hero collapses early. Michael Caine barely features until the final 15 minutes and almost gets away with an in-joke as an actor purely in it for the money. Elsewhere, all the characters are defined by no more than three words: Russian mobster, corrupt cop, clueless CFO, has-been actor, ugly goon. The action sinks into the soullessness of machine-generated scripting, where elaborately framing a boring banker in a JFK conspiracy theory-type assassination is deemed the easiest way to eliminate his threat.

Conclusion: Firmly stuck in the muck.

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