Shoot ‘Em Up
starring Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Monica Bellucci
written and directed by Michael Davis
This is a marvelous film with practically no story at all. Just a couple hours of shoot ‘em up action. There is a story, but it took me more than half the film to figure it out, and even then the story is not much to write about here. Shoot ‘Em Up was filmed partly in Toronto, but it is supposed to take place in New York City. I noticed one scene revealing the street car tracks embedded in the Toronto pavement with the electric cables above them. Then I caught a glimpse of only a partial view of the iconic CN Tower. But the giveaway came with a shot of the Toronto lakefront skyline and the famous Royal York Hotel standing right up in front. (The Royal York Hotel was the tallest building in Torontowhen it was constructed some 70-years ago. Today it is dwarfed by many other, taller hotels and office structures in Toronto. But the Royal York has retained its reputation for elite luxury. Just like the CN Tower across the street, the Royal York Hotel is iconic.) I enjoy it when I recognize the Canadian metropolis in American films. I like saying to myself, “Hey! I know that place!”
My God, do we suck, or is this guy really that good?
Guns don’t kill people, but they sure help.
Violence is one of the most fun things to watch.
A bullet proof vest is a better investment than a crib.
From an unimpressed beginning I have come to love Paul Giamatti and look forward to his performances. He is funny and weird. Giamatti ranks in the school of homely-looking actors led by the totally weird-looking Steve Buscemi - not the traditionally handsome faces of male movie stars. Giamatti plays a hired hit man, Mr. Hertz, who has a tendency to drop fascinatingly funny and ironic lines. By accident, Mr. Hertz’s work is interrupted by a British agent - Mr. Smith, played by Clive Owen - who just happens to have an aversion to weapons and who kills at least two people in this movie with a carrot stick. How Mr. Smith came to be on the scene, and who he really is is never explained. Mr. Smith is perhaps one of the angriest men in the world. He’s angry about bad driving, littering, and abuse of public safety laws. I agree with him.
I pay attention to many of a film’s credits. Not all of them. But this time my attention paid off when I saw that the Boom Operator on the film (or, one of the Boom Operators) was Alan Zielonko, a man I knew growing up in Guelph, Ontario. His filmography as a boom operator extends to 60 films dating back to 1986 - including such well-known titles as Jumper, Cinderella Man and The Recruit - with one acting credit. Check him out. Or, am I thinking of a different Alan Zielonko?