When I heard about this film last month I was only interesting in it because of James McAvoy. I have become a fan of his in recent years so I am curious about whatever upcoming films he has, and while I was more interested in the trailer for Trance, Welcome to the Punch looked compelling enough to give it a watch in the cinema yesterday. And the end result is something cool, slick, but not all entirely satisfying.
The synopsis for this film is as follows:
“Former criminal Jacob Sternwood is forced to return to London from his Icelandic hideaway when his son is involved in a heist gone wrong. This gives detective Max Lewinsky one last chance to catch the man he has always been after. As they face off, they start to uncover a deeper conspiracy they both need to solve in order to survive.”
The story in this was decent for the most part. There was a great set up and for the first act I was really invested in the story and characters. The thriller-based elements of the film were nice and the level of conspiracy and mystery was clever and enticing. However the pacing was a little questionable for the film, it really started to slow down in the middle and towards the third quarter, luckily it eventually picked up again in the final act of the film. I think that the conspiracy in the film got a little heavy and convoluted for my liking, there just felt like at one point too much stuff was going on and I guess it didn’t help that started to nod off at certain points too. Besides the slow pacing at points, the other thing that bugged me was the ending, I’m not going to spoil it for anyone but I’m just going to say I wasn’t happy with it at all.
When it comes to characters it’s hard for me to mention because outside of James McAvoy, Mark Strong and Andrea Riseborough’s characters I don’t really recall anyone else by name, but I shall try my hardest. James McAvoy as Max Lewinsky was pretty awesome as this cop who’s scarred from his failure to get the bad guy the first time, so he carries this guilt and doesn’t have the thirst for work that he used to. However when Jacob Sternwood comes back into play Max uses this opportunity to sort things out takes things into his own hands, sometimes getting into trouble that could have easily been avoided he wasn’t obsessed with the past. Mark Strong as Jacob Sternwood was good, he moved like shadow, doing his work and staying several steps ahead of the cops.
Also Andrea Riseborough as Sarah Hawks was nice; she was Max’s partner and seemed to be the more level-headed of the two of them. You could see that the two of them had history though not much about that is dived into really. I guess all I can say is that there were some great performances from Elyes Gabel, Peter Mullan, David Morrissey, Johnny Harris, Dannielle Brent and Jason Flemyng were pretty good, especially Daniel Mays as Nathan Bartnick (even if his character was a bit of douche).
If there is one thing this film got right it was the presentation. The visual side of things is incredible; like in Skyfall the cinematography transforms London and makes it look so much fancier that it normally does. I loved the scenes at night and the blue filter used all over the place adds a nice style to the film. I also liked the way the action was shot especially in one specific shoot out scene where slow motion was implemented, that scene was pretty incredible. Most of the action scenes and sequences are well filmed and just look stylish and cool.
In conclusion Welcome to the Punch was a decent film with a good cast, awesome action scenes and had some fabulous cinematography too. However the story wasn’t as interesting as I’d hoped and wasn’t keen on the ending either.
Rating: 7/10 (A visually great thriller with decent performances)
So what did you think of Welcome to the Punch? Whatever your thoughts are leave them in the comments section below and I’ll see you lot on the next review. Laters! 😀