Redbelt – Split Decision

Redbelt     B

Starring Chiwetal Ejiofor, Tim Allen, and Emily Mortimer
Written and Directed by David Mamet (State and Main)
Rated R for strong language
Appropriate for ages 17+

The Story: Through a series of freak occurrences, a top martial artist (Ejiofor) that hates competition in his sport, is forced to compete in order to save his studio and his family. 

The Good: When I state above that the plot is driven by freak occurrences, I really mean it.  This is a complicated screenplay with a complex web of story lines that build the plot.  Written and directed by celebrated filmmaker/playwright David Mamet, Redbelt is a masterfully conceived story with terrific dialogue and an inspired performance by Chiwetal Ejiofor.  While I can’t even come close to being able to pronounce his name, he is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors with his amazing performances in this and other great films such as Dirty Pretty Things, Serenity, and American Gangster.  The supporting cast are in the film only long enough to try to propel Chiwetal’s character forward, but they all turn in solid performances. 

The Bad: I was really into this film until the third act.  I don’t wish to give anything away, but there was a twist involving his wife that was poorly fleshed out and that I hardly bought into.  I also felt the ending to be a bit manipulative and the focus lost. 

The Summary: While Mamet’s writing and directing skills shows throughout, it’s the great performance from Ejiofor that makes this an interesting take on the martial arts genre.