Boy! It has been a while since I saw a proper hero with proper goals, proper skills and proper insanity. That’s a proper film.
The Safdie Brothers, the co-writers and directors, are great con artists. I have been through this road previously as well but never have I ever been so confident in my words. And you’d think that a film, that has such kinetic energy, would actually be tricking us when it is at its peak. And instead it chooses to throw you off when it is waiting. Waiting for something to happen or for it to act. That waiting period is something that I didn’t get. Howard Ratner, our hero played by Adam Sandler, gets so many of these moments. And one of the crucial ones is when he spends time with his family. Those are not particularly character building nor plot advancing scenarios for me. For me, they were more than that. There is an endurance of hard work. It isn’t celebrated or demoted. It is simply expressed. A slice of life. Responsibility doesn’t interfere with his character nor does education. It is simply a call back from him. If anything, a call back from a bet that he is weaving in his head right now. Another crucial thing to underline is how present Howard is. And how present Sandler’s performance is. Those things go hand in hand from day one and maybe that’s why the Safdie Brothers decided to shoot the film on the field. In the middle of the track where you see our hero ping-pong back and forth in a rush. Not a dash but definitely in rush. And this is how the camera moves too. Instead of cutting to any other shot it chooses to move from one to another. Then it be a character or place. What’s the difference anyway, they all are in pursuit of something that they don’t know.