Trailers Reviews: The Marksman, News of the World and Palmer
Updated: Jan 30
Suddenly white Hollywood leading men are saddled with saving children of other ethnicities and sexual orientation.
It could be the collective guilt of throwing immigrant children into cages, but suddenly white Hollywood heroes are plunged into situations where they are saddled with taking care of children from other ethnicities (and in one case, probably the best one, a child who displays very prominent gay tendencies)
Here are three trailers that we saw recently and thought they belong together:
There was once a man whose loved ones were snatched from him so that he could go on a killing spree.
This time he is the one who is doing the "taking."
In The Marksman Liam Neeson is a border patrol cop (probably the only one by the looks of it but these things work best when the villains have to deal with the one Man Army than an actual one). One day he comes across a Mexican family trying to cross illegally into the US. He warns them but soon realizes that they are actually escaping someone.
Words of warnings and threats are issued that result in a shootout and the death of the mother who leaves her child behind. I would have given this bonus points if she had said "Take him" while dying. Neeson goes into Schindler's Haunted Look for a second before he picks up his gun and decides to run.
Now they are on a run with killers behind them and someone helpfully informs us off-screen that the man pursuing Neeson are dangerous drug cartels. "Once he finds you, he'll kill you" a woman's voice intones somberly. No one seems to be in on the irony that this is a facsimile of Neeson's famous line from his Taken franchise.
What follows is, sadly, not exciting enough for thriller fans.
The only reason I think that this could still work is that at least it is not revealed that Neeson had a son of similar age who died because of the same cartel. Secondly, and more importantly, perhaps, there are no aerial shots of Manhattan (Yes, I count that as a win.)
The dumbest moment comes right at the end when Neeson is stopped by a cop who enquires about the damage to his car and... why don't you just watch it below?
In Paul Greengrass' News of the World, Tom Hanks plays Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd who delivers world news to remote areas.
"So they pay you to tell stories?" a companion asks our Captain who replies with a straight face "It's not a rich man's occupation". Paul Greengrass, ladies, and gentlemen does not know irony or humor.
The Captain comes across a scene of an attack and discovers a blonde girl who does not speak English ("She thinks she is an Indian", a woman says offscreen later.) Thankfully, she carries a letter that explains her entire life history including where she was heading for. The good Captain considers it his responsibility to do this.
"She needs to laugh and dream. She needs new memories", the Supremely Good Captain offers when someone asks why he's doing this. It's only the end of the first act and Edward Zwick is already reaching for his zipper.
The Captain tries to teach her a few English words but she continues to thwart his advances until the very next sequence where she rattles off all words that have been taught by the good Captain who "does not have a clue as to the care of a child".
There does not seem to be a specific protagonist but hostiles abound. One of them asks the "price" of the girl and the Good Captain replies, "She is a child. She is not for sale.". Thank God, he did not come across a woman. The film would have ended sooner.
The trailer reaches the finishing line as the action increases - there is a storm, some scuffles, and shootouts in one of which our girl picks up a gun too. It finishes with the Captain declaring "YOU CAN'T HAVE HER! AND I'M TAKING HER HOME!"
This is the kind of film that comes at the end of the year to warm the hearts of an Academy Award member and there are chances that it might make an impression there. Hanks is a reliable performer and it will be no surprise if he gets nominated for the film.
Looking for more serious acceptance as an actor is Justin Timberlake in Fisher Steven's Apple original film Palmer.
Eddie Plamer is a former school football star who has spent 12 years in prison. He returns back to his town and forms an unlikely bond with an 'odd' boy next door. But as it is wont to, his past comes catching up, threatening his present.
The atmosphere in this film immediately comes across as much less strained than the above two films. The plot is similar, yes, but there is a sense of stillness and confidence - in both the film's visual and Timberlake that makes the film come across as more interesting and gritty than the other two reviewed above.
A neighborhood child ends up staying with Palmer and his grandmother (Jane Squib) when the child's mother abandons him. Initially confused about the child's proclivity for dressing up as girl, watching 'girly' cartoon shows, and playing with Barbies Palmer soon gets angry and tries to explain to him how the world is a cruel place so the child should not act differently.
As expected, both form a strong emotional bond that inevitably gets broken when Palmer stops an attack on the boy's mother and is hauled back to the jail. There is a shot in a court where a weepy, red-eyed Palmer declares "I will not abandon that boy". There is also a potential love interest in a neighbor.
Ultimately, the trailer is predictable and rather sentimental but sometimes just changing one aspect about a tale often told works. Here, the element of a gay child can prove refreshing provided it is handled with sensitivity.
We'll wait and watch.