wrath of man


director: guy ritchie (lock, stock and two smoking barrels, snatch)

starring: jason statham, holt mccallany, josh hartnett and scott eastwood


REVIEWER: lyall carter

H is a cold and mysterious character working at a cash truck company responsible for moving hundreds of millions of dollars around Los Angeles each week.

At times in his career Guy Ritchie almost became a victim of his own ground breaking success. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels not only made him an overnight success but it reshaped the way action and crime films were made and told. But instead of becoming a one trick film making pony, Ritchie has broadened his filmmaking horizons and made a variety of differing films over the years from the Sherlock Holmes franchise, the criminally underrated Man from U.N.C.L.E  to the live action remake of Disney’s Aladdin


Wrath of Man is a whole other ball game and is Ritchie’s best film in recent years (I LOVED The Gentlemen by the way). It shows a filmmaker continuing to grow in confidence and perfecting his craft. Wrath of Man is a taunt thriller, stacked to the gunnels with action that takes nearly every expectation you have of a Guy Ritchie action flick and dumps them on their head in the best possible way. One of 2021’s best films. 


Wrath of Man tells the story of the cold and mysterious ‘H’ as he goes to work at a cash truck company that moves hundreds of millions of dollars around Los Angeles every week.


H’s objective is unique and unanticipated, but is only revealed incrementally, utilizing a suspenseful and carefully constructed nonlinear narrative to lay bare his true intentions. Shifting across timelines and various character’s perspectives, Wrath of Man builds to a thrilling, tragic, and inevitably bloody catharsis.


This is not the Guy Ritchie action flick you are probably expecting. Gone are the long narrative monologues filled with humorous quips that stretch across a plethora of storylines that you manage to finally untangle come films end. While Statham delivers some devilishly hilarious one liners, they are stripped back and more deliberate. 


Wrath of Man plays like a more serious, almost grown up action thriller with a few thematic similarities to Ben Affleck’s sublime The Town and we are injected into a variety of timelines and the perspectives of a raft of characters throughout. Instead of being confusing it's a touch of pure genius as it holds the audience back far enough from discovering the intent and true nature of a host of characters, especially the gang H is hunting, long enough to really ratchet up the tension towards a ferocious finale. 


As you’d expect from a Ritchie film, the production is pure class in its attention to detail. The cash truck company feels as if it really is populated with real people who live and sweat in that place, the shots are slick and spliced together creatively and Ritchie’s long term music collaborator Christopher Benstead’s score adds a threatening weight and suspense to the proceedings. The action sequences are inventive, bloody and brutal and will have even the most hardened action flick fan on the edge of their seat. 


I’m pretty lucky in that nearly every movie I see I get to watch for free. Perk of the job. On very rare occasions I will pay to see a movie second time round. Wrath of Man is one such occasion. I will be getting the lads together and heading off to see this one again this weekend. It really is that good. 


Wrath of Man is a taunt thriller, stacked to the gunnels with action that takes nearly every expectation you have of a Guy Ritchie action flick and dumps them on their head in the best possible way. One of 2021’s best films. 


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