DVD Review: A Common Man [M15] by Bea Harper

A Common Man DVDDir: Chandran Rutnam
Starring: Ben Kingsley, Ben Cross, Frederick-James Lobato

The Film: We all know terrorism is a total ballsac of a thing and the most tragic thing is, we are never truly surprised that it happens on a regular basis.

When films about this sensitive subject are made, there always must be some measure of care and awareness attached to it because we are dealing with what has become a common issue that involves the senseless deaths of many due to some twisted belief of another party and a general intolerance. Even if a film about terrorism is a comedy, it must be made carefully so it does not become reprehensible to the general public. “A Common Man” (which is the remake of the adrenalin-pumping 2008 Indian thriller “A Wednesday!”) at one point could have all the best intentions but it only paved the way to Hell, regardless of Ben Kingsley’s presence in the movie. Plus, and while it doesn’t necessarily relate to the film itself, around the time of the it’s release, the Boston attacks had shook the news- yeah, that was some bad timing right there.

Ouch. There really could have been a tense thriller in this mess- a terrorist (Kingsley) plants several bombs in key locations around Colombo- a bus, a commuter train, a police station and a shopping mall, all of them filled with ususpecting souls. He challenges the Deputy Inspector General (or DIG for short) played by Ben Cross to a sick game of Explosive Roulette. His ultimatum? If four key prisoners are not released he detonates the bombs. In “Die Hard With A Vengeance”, this scenario was highly engaging primarily due to the performances of Bruce Willis, Sam Jackson and Jeremy Irons and their chemistry with each other. In “A Common Man”, there is no sense of connection between Kingsley and Cross. Kingsley has proven time and again he’s a versitile actor in a majority of solid films, but here, I think he was primarily casted because of the fact he is of Indian descent and he just happens to have an Oscar to his name- if he were working in a better movie, he would have been excellent, but here, he is boring as white chalk. Cross was fair, I suppose, but I felt this type of character had been done more justice in other films and unfortunately, like Kingsley, he does not come out of this unscathed.

A Common Man 1

Look, I can appreciate what Rutnum was trying to do when he made this movie, but in order to make an engrossing terrorist nail-biter you have to have teeth, and all “A Common Man” has is gums. It doesn’t try as hard as it needed to in order to be taken seriously and when an admittedly crucial plot point arrives, it doesn’t flow with the rest of the movie. I am all for a shift of gears in a film, heck, that is what makes the experience all the more exciting, but consideration must be taken for not just the audience but the organic growth of the movie. There is nothing natural or progressive or productive about “A Common Man” and it makes me more than a little annoyed to know that there was an intense flick struggling to tear it’s way out of this boneless sack of cinematic flesh but to no avail all because this is a sloppily made film that didn’t work on the talent of one actor alone.
and compelling… but it wasn’t.

Review written by Bea Harper

The Australian DVD 
The DVD I reviewed was a screener, so I am unable to comment on Picture/Audio quality.


DVD details here.

Thanks to Bill care of Eagle Entertainment for the copy.

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