Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Hire

The Hire is a collection of eight short films revolving around a mysterious driver in different assignments while driving different variations of the BMW as these shorts were produced for the car manufacturer. Playing the role of the driver is Clive Owen as he ventures into eight different adventures helmed by eight different filmmakers as it also includes a diverse cast of actors to appear in these eight different short films. The result is an incredible collection of shorts from some of the world's best filmmakers.

Ambush (directed by John Frankenheimer and written by Andrew Kevin Walker) is about the driver escorting a man (Tomas Milian) carrying $2 million worth of diamonds as they’re being pursued by a van full of armed men. Chosen (directed by Ang Lee and written by David Carter) is the story about a holy boy (Mason Lee) escorted by the driver as they’re being pursued by criminals at a loading dock where the boy is supposed to be at a sanctuary. In The Follow (directed by Wong Kar-Wai and written by Andrew Kevin Walker), the driver is hired by his manager (Forest Whitaker) to pursue the wife (Adriana Lima) of a film actor (Mickey Rourke) to see if she’s cheating on him. Star (Directed by Guy Ritchie and written by Joe Sweet and Guy Ritchie) is about a spoiled celebrity (Madonna) who orders her driver to drive her to the venue where the results becomes more than she bargains for.

In Powder Keg (directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and written by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Guillermo Arriaga, and David Carter), a war photographer (Stellan Skarsgard) is wounded after taking a photograph as the driver tries to get him to the border so he can be saved. Hostage (directed by John Woo and written by David Carter, Greg Hahn, and Vincent Ngo) is about the driver delivering ransom money to a man (Maury Chaykin) who had kidnapped a CEO (Kathryn Morris) as he later races to save her. In Ticker (Written and directed by Joe Carnahan), the driver escorts a man (Don Cheadle), who is carrying a mysterious briefcase under the orders of a mysterious man (F. Murray Abraham), as they’re under attack from a helicopter while running short on time.

In Beat the Devil (Directed by Tony Scott and written by David Carter, Greg Hahn, and Vincent Ngo), James Brown makes a visit with the Devil (Gary Oldman) to renegotiate an old contract in the form of a wager through a drag strip race in Las Vegas between the driver and the Devil’s driver Bob (Danny Trejo).

The film is a collection of stories involving a driver and all of the adventures he takes in. Some are intense, some are quite funny, some are dramatic, and others are just downright fucking insane. While Star and The Follow don’t exactly follow the conventions of most car-driven films. They do contain some amazing driving sequences as the former is just a straight-out comedy from Guy Ritchie while the latter is a moody piece filled with evocative voice-over narration that plays true to Wong Kar-Wai’s style. Chosen may be an action piece of sorts but Ang Lee inject bits of humor as well as a story about a man and a boy. The rest of the series play to the world of action as the filmmakers each put their stamp into the different stories. Joe Carnahan and John Frankenheimer each create stories involving a passenger that is carrying something where the latter is more slick and professional while the former is more stylish with its mixture of grainy film stock and more clear cinematography.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Powder Keg is definitely the most unconventional in terms of action and drama as it is presented in a grainy film stock courtesy of cinematographer Robert Richardson. John Woo’s Hostage is a strange twist on the hostage story not just because of the kidnapper but what happens afterwards. Then there’s Tony Scott’s Beat the Devil where it’s definitely the strangest one of them all as it’s a mixture of humor and action with a bit of Satanism that involves James Brown and a cameo appearance from Marilyn Manson.

While all of the shorts do stand out on their own, The Follow is clearly the best of them all due to its lingering images from cinematographer Harris Savides and its hypnotic soundtrack. The casting is also great as many of the actors involved are amazing yet the series really belongs to Clive Owen. Owen displays a really low-key approach to his character as he’s just a driver while he does get the chance to be funny but also intense as he really is the star of the series.

The Hire is an extraordinary series of short films that features a superb performance from Clive Owen. The series is a must-see for fans of many of these filmmakers for the way it utilizes different models of BMWs to help tell a story that is engaging but also intense. In the end, The Hire is a fantastic collection of short films from some of the world’s best filmmakers.

© thevoid99 2013

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