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All Critics (2)
| Top Critics (2)
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Hostage dramas have conventions; if "Pawn" skirts too close to them at the end, and has too many characters, it still keeps the game interesting.
"Pawn's" cops and robbers game could have been far better played.
Every move is a game changer.
Good movie! This movie is evidence that you don't need a large budget or a ton of action to keep an audience interested. I thought this movie was captivating from beginning to end. It isn't a perfect movie - there is a little bit too much coincidence in the story that prevents the audience from completely swallowing the story smoothly, and the end seems a little unfinished in some details. But other than that, the movie is very well done. Overall, I enjoyed this film. I went in knowing very little and came out very impressed. I was entertained from start to finish which is all you can really ask for. Pawn will not win any awards, but if a good entertaining thriller is your thing then you will not be disappointed.
An all-night diner. A cop walks in on a robbery in progress. But what happens next - and what happened just before - will change everything you think you know. The building is now surrounded. There are restless fingers on every trigger. And one very intense hostage situation is about to take some extremely shocking twists.
I've never heard of this movie, but with the cast including Forest Whitaker , Michael Chiklis ("The Shield"), Ray Liotta ("Goodfellas"), Common ("Hell on Wheels"), and actors from "Twilight," "Gossip Girl," and many more could not be ignored. Directed by David A. Armstrong and written by Jay Anthony White, it started strongly building up the story with a simple beginning: a cop walks into an all-night diner... This direct-to-video crime thriller is setting this cop into the middle of an armed robbery. And from this simple set up spools out a twisted web of story threads, layered narrative, and constantly shifting points of view.
It felt right for a short time, but despite all the familiar faces, this film never adds up to much. One of the problems it has is that holds everything together by the most tenuous connections, and eventually collapses. Why? Because it is trying too hard to be clever and twisted narrating with jumps from character to character (the cop, then the crooks, then the hero, then the mobster, then the wife...and keeps going). Too much shuffling around did nothing good at the end.
If the writer and the director tried to make a movie which is less mysterious and shadowy, a movie where every character has an angle, and you, like the characters, aren't sure who you can trust... maybe would be easier to follow and the dynamics of the action would be more natural. The result of this directing and writing is that film's pretensions to mystery at the end are over explained. There is no subtlety or subtext to the dialogue and the dialogue is sometimes close to idiotic. Some people maybe love this, but I am not one of them. Good for a long night when you run out of all other movies to watch.
A solid and hard-edged crime-drama. A well-crafted, sharply performed and very engaging movie that packs a full-clip of nail-biting suspense and and hair-trigger tension from start to finish. It has a great cast of actors, even in the smaller appearances, like Forest Whitaker and Stephen Lang make a strong impression and deliver in their smaller parts. Ray Liotta and Common makes give compelling performances. But the actors to notice are the young and talented Nikki Reed and Sean Faris, who are both terrific in the film. Michael Chiklis gives a powerhouse performance, its great to see him as a villain in the film he produced and brings on Whitaker to have scenes with. An adrenaline-pumping edge of your seat thriller that hits you hard. A stylish and razor sharp cops and robbers game. A great film. It keeps the pace moving fast and keeps things interesting.
Taken on its own merits, as a B thriller, Pawn is largely successful. The hostage genre has been done to a large extent, and Pawn certainly follows many of its conventions. This includes a script with logic-defying twists, and an ending that simply feels too neat. But for a film of its caliber, Pawn does seem to pack a surprising punch.
The most successful thing about Pawn is the direction and set-up. The exposition at the diner, and how the different players were introduced, was done to a good effect. The characters and their story-lines, overly brief to be sure, felt well integrated, with the film never losing its flow. The cast was also strong, with performances by such great character actors as Forest Whitaker, Ray Liotta, and even Michael Chiklis. What the film dares to do with some of these characters, killing one off very soon, gives the film a sense of stakes and weight that it otherwise wouldn't have. Such actors seem to have a good chemistry, a necessity for such a confined story.
This isn't to say Pawn does anything especially interesting, we can see the ending a mile away. The characterizations are shallow and one-note. As an enjoyable ride, however, you could do far worse.
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