What if Michael Bay’s art house movie was a bad lobotomy?

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Even those who michael bay the bristles recognize it: Without pain there is no gain It is his best film. But this consensus does not hide a lobotomized work?

Long before directing his film designated as his most personal, and by far the most modest (except for his very first bad boys), Michael Bay had made it known that he intended to steer clear of battlefields, giant robot wrestling sessions, or the testosterone elegy of American soldiers never braver than when given the opportunity to kill people in the sunset. Degenerate, excessive stylist, perpetually moved by a desire to invent, deform, push into chaos.he seemed eager to lay down sword and shield to better rethink his cinema.

And at the time of a film, the author with a success inversely proportional to his critical spoils will have been entitled to the favors of the media that were given to him many to see in Without pain there is no gain a fierce achievement. But for those who have always appreciated the always sweet madness of the director behind Rock, Armageddon, transformers or 13 hours, the artistic success of his bodybuilding drama may not be so obvious. What if the artist’s magnum opus was nothing more than smoke and mirrors to viewers whose pupils were too delicate for his brilliant pyrotechnic ravings?

Photo Anthony MackieA movie full of protein

INSPIRED BY NOT REAL EVENTS

There are countless movies that adapt true stories to the screen. And not in vain, capturing reality has always been one of the first gestures of the author of fiction, and this, long before the cinema. More than the simple story of an edifying fact, the chronicle of a remarkable destiny, gender has become an exciting exercise in social style. To this day, the text in cold blood Truman Capote’s work remains a fundamental milestone, as it combines the clinical review of the facts and the personal investment of the author, who became an interested party in the case.

To the movies, we could identify two attitudes in relation to this notion of “real facts” : the overwhelming mass of productions that use it for promotional purposes and are sold as credible stories on the one hand, the few that play with the concept, twist it to the point of ridicule, on the other. The two conceptions agree and testify to two logics that are as different as they are legitimate.

No Pain, No Gain: Photo, Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg

inflated with helium

For example, the recent series pam and tommyor inventing anait frankly assumes chewing up the facts, ordering them in such a way as to deliver an interpretation. Fargo It is without a doubt the film that has gone the furthest, presenting itself as inspired by real events… pure fiction. So many flips and liberties we can’t credit Michael Baybecause in this field as in many others, his film suffers from not knowing which way to turn.

Thus, he delights in profoundly transforming the true authors of the crimes he stages. Systematically transform all situations. In the same way, he alleviates certain abuses committed by his heroes, aggravates others…while perpetually vindicating the veracity of his history. The process may seem dishonest or downright inconsistentbut judging by the filmmaker’s demeanor, it’s safe to bet he simply missed the potential of the concept, as well as its fun.

PhotoEd Harris

ed a river

PROJECTION ANGLE

Pain and Gain It’s Michael Bay’s lunchtime between two transformers. Wanting to tell real characters, not robot cars, the director presents us with these mountains of muscles” looking for the american dream in the wrong way how do you explain assigned. If your movie isn’t lacking in testosterone and bikini models, Bay proves unable to maintain an angle, a point of view about the treatment of its protagonists.

Wanting to share with us Daniel Lugo’s (Mark Wahlberg) and his crew’s view of American society, and how their crusade may seem right, Bay builds empathy. The characters are dumb but they have a dream of success that many people share. This identification with the thugs of the story comes at the expense of the victim of this affair, Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub). The poor man is presented as a white-collar bandit who despises everyone, even after the suffering he endures. Throughout his film, Michael Bay paints this portrait of a being who deserved to be robbed, helping to confirm the gang’s positions all the way.

PhotoMark Wahlberg

How to sink three bronzes at once

However, Bay’s gaze on the criminals remains floating, even totally inconstant. If she at first wants to arouse sympathy for these touching assholes, it is with much cruder realism that she films their acts of torture, keeping distance from the gang. Despite this, in the midst of these shocking scenes (such as the arrival at the place of confinement), Michael Bay still wants to make people laugh in places, no matter how. The director is amused by the Sun Gym Gang, making fun of them or laughing at their descent into hell. The tones merge leaving the audience unsure what final images Bay wants us to keep of his sadistic, headstrong bodybuilders.

All of their approaches can work independently or cleverly intertwine. Scarface, pulp fiction and Snatch they have so many different views of gangsters and criminals. With Pain and Gain, Bay juggles between the original violent news story, and thus the real killers she wants to portray, her desire to make a comedy out of it, while conveying her half-patriotic, half-critical message of society. The multiple angles of her collide to give dissonant characters and a confused intention.

Photo Dwayne JohnsonThe fat cats and the simpletons

FAILED ACTION MOVIE?

Michael Bay and the low budget movie are not two ideas one would naturally associate, however it was the director’s desire to achieve Pain and Gain with 26 million dollars, a microscopic sum compared to those that are usually allocated to his feature films. But the guy is still a director who has made pleasurable destruction his trademark. With its history of kidnappers and murderers of bodybuilders, your energy is contained for a story that does not lend itself to the usual fireworks of his cinema (there is only one explosion in the film, a feat!).

However, the gentleman’s hobby will not be in uncharted territory. Bay’s aesthetic with the very colorful images of him, often saturated, his bodies with disproportionate muscles, his camera without spatial limits and his nervous montage are there. The eternal low planes of him iconizing the characters with the sky as the only limit to his ambitions and nonsense, are also on the menu. Corn Bay’s technical dominance can never really send the sauce. and sits like a lion in a cage.

No pain, no gain: photo, Mark Wahlberg

When Marky Mark thinks he’s Optimus Prime

This frustration is felt, since the director jumps at the slightest opportunity to play with the camera. Taking her through unlikely locations, or using $300 GoPros attached to gun barrels or torsos, Bay strives to energize the whole thing to the point of absurdity and sometimes to the detriment of the specific energy of each sequence. In addition, the most moving scene is the pursuit of Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson) after his failed robbery. A hunt that connects sets and innovative scenic techniques at the service of the only shots of the film. Bay gets loose in a situation that… never happened in the reality of the incident. Is this the translation of a vital need to let loose the horses for the director?

Although we find Mr. Bay’s own visual vivacity, his hyperactivity responds above all to a spectacular and cathartic logic. Pain and Gain Thus an overflowing energy… running on empty. The various visual effects like the boxes that pause the scene or the flashy montage effects are just the symptoms. And so here we are before a film that ends up blowing in the wind for using the wrong approach to treat its story.

No pain, no gain: photo, Ed Harrised harris style

ARTIST CINEMA FOR FOOLS?

American cinema has always been questioned about what the very idea of ​​America is. And whoever questions himself, not always responding, often runs the risk of launching a criticism. This propensity to questioning values ​​- or founding myths of one’s own culture – strongly encouraged what are now agreed upon “Pre-Code” productions, but also those that made it to the big screen despite the Hays Code censorship. But obviously that was already the case with the classic. Scarface 1932, while these themes literally exploded during the 1970s with the advent of the new Hollywood and its eminently critical, even nihilistic, approach.

Photo Anthony Mackie

It’s definitely not fake paper.

Of all this, No Pain No Gain dreams of being heir, and crushes it, in its dialogues, in its script, in its staging. The protagonists are poor wretches who hope to benefit from the American dream that has always eluded them, but they have never understood its meaning. They want to win, but they are parasites rather than winners. The film needs our empathy to keep going., but he never manages to give substance to his motivations, since he usually prefers to make fun of them, degrade them, despise them. This is also the case, even in the rare sequences or significant thoughts in terms of staging.

When Wahlberg steps forward in this pool, his reflection through the diffraction of the water sends us a very clear message: this muscle has a very small brain. The film designates it, essentializes it as a remainder above all else.. Because Michael Bay himself doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He tries, in part, to insert himself into the harshest critical discourse, the one that he would like to be a sustained mirror towards America. But this mirror is worse than distorting: it is cracked everywhere.

No pain, no gain: photo, Tony Shalhoub

The viewer’s brain, after seeing

Because under cover of questioning American values, the scenario validates them all. “They wanted to be like us”professes the character of ed harris, in a tone that would be that of a wise man, rethinking, in the blinding light of the setting sun, the immanent morality of this curious story. But the frame right now (an impossibly luxurious corner of Florida) tells us that this “we” does not correspond to anything. The ultra-rich ghetto has nothing to tell us about America in general or Americans in particular.

Just as when he rebukes the vulgarity of the Floridian bourgeois class, Bay cannot help ultimately validating them as citizens who have arrived at a rightful place. And why not, but this position contradicts that of the heroes. Ultimate snub, the feature film openly laughs at its death sentence, which again could be a real angle, if it didn’t pass us by like a hair in the soup. In short, Bay dresses up as an author, but the costume is too tight on her and constantly makes him laugh out loud.

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