• 23 Jun - 29 Jun, 2018
  • Mohammad Kamran Jawaid
  • Reviews

At its IMDB page, 211 is defined as a “bank heist movie in the vein of End of Watch meets Black Hawk Down”. Whoever wrote the summary didn’t want to waste words – a quality he (or she) shares with 211’s screenwriter.

211 is a bland hodgepodge of disconnected events awkwardly sewn together in the editing room. The stitch up is so obvious, one can see contorted, split-ended seams all over the place. As the headliner, Nicolas Cage – still a fine, dependable actor, with a few wasted lines and fewer expressions – is one such messed-up seam.

Cage plays an emotionally closed-off cop who has a difficult relationship with his daughter (Instagram celeb Amanda Cerny). She is also married to a cop (Dwayne Cameron) – who is Cage’s partner, no less – yet couldn’t care less about dad. In fact, they share one small smidgen of a scene by the end of the movie which ends in an awkwardly, hastily placed fade out before the credits start rolling.

The main plot of the story has Cage and his partner accept a young school boy accused of violence as their ride-along (a police program where normal citizens ride with the authorities).

The boy (Michael Rainey Jr.) is innocent, and as the movie progresses, turns out to be quite dumb.

That’s not his problem.

Like the boy, and Cage’s partner, and his daughter, the plot is riddled with dumb characters and dumber situations. An undercover Interpol agent (Alexandra Dinu) is in dogged pursuit of a group of mercenary terrorists who killed a double-dealing dork-ish villain in Kabul (supposedly), and then, by a stroke of bad luck, ended up looting a bank in Cage’s patrol area.

The shoot-out is as bad as the drama. Characters are lumped together, and even when actors share scenes we know something is amiss. Cage, for instance, is always seen as a standalone actor in his shots, even when his co-actors are off-camera; on close inspection, you know Cage wasn’t even there when the reverse angles are shot of the other actors.

The editing gets eerier still, when Dinu’s character shares a location, scene and even a shot with Cage, we don’t see them interact.

Nothing makes sense – at least narratively. York Shackleton, the director who shares a partial writing credit, shoots 211 like a toy-train collision; one where trains collide and then plop off-track. Like that collision, nothing earth-shattering happens – even though 211 is, supposedly, inspired by a real-life event… which is a stretch of imagination, like the movie’s proclamation of being a cross between End of Watch and Black Hawk Down. Balderdash. •