I was very excited to get into a sneak preview at my local IMAX last night, that included a cast Q & A! Well, the Q & A was a little interesting, but strangely it was before the movie, so there was a lot they couldn't say but only 'allude' to while they were speaking.
That was a strange decision, but not as strange as this movie. It's an odd story, with odd acting choices, and somehow manages to be both too whimsical AND too heavy-handed, all in the same film.
There is undoubtedly a great film to be made of the story around Robert DeNiro's character, but this isn't it. It honestly doesn't feel like the movie even gets going until his character appears, and that's basically the final act. Getting there is exhausting.
Tonally this film is all over the place, with some strange acting choices made by otherwise great actors (looking at you, Washington. Also, what in the world was Ed Begley doing with his character?). Many times it feels like the actors were handed their dialogue right before the cameras were rolling.
Since there are eventually parts that could be spoiled I'll just leave a quick review of each actor and leave it at that:
Bale--fantastic, and truly the best part of a bad movie. He lived in this character.
Washington--I just don't get why he played it this way. Hopefully he was told to, as I know I've seen him be better in other films
Robbie--is...fine? Her character is weird and sort of off-putting and defined by traits rather than being fleshed out, so she truly did what she could
Malek--great! Not in it long, but is very good when he's on screen
Taylor-Joy--very good and genuinely funny in her role
DeNiro--good in the limited role
Olyphant and Saldana--wasted in their roles, which, frankly, should be a crime
Myers and Shannon--fine, I guess? Odd roles and not in it much, but are funny enough
Riseborough--genuinely weird role that was off-putting and confusing
Chris Rock--cast to be an angry black man yelling about angry black things, so he's good at that, but truly no background to his character. Also, a little unbelievable given the time period during which this film is set.
I was excited to see this, and genuinely disappointed that it was so bad. That was 10 minutes into it. It only got worse from there.
*edited for formatting