The Vow

One for the ladies,

Welcome to review #3: THE VOW

The targeted date film for valentines day this year isn’t worth a theater viewing. This review is body armor, here to take a metaphorical barrage of bullets for all the boyfriends and spouses out there that don’t want to pay ten dollars to see a cliche of a screenplay for the sake of appeasement.

The initial impact of the first scene of the film is powerful. Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum are a married couple about to attempt pregnancy in their car while parked on the street after having a date night. As soon as Paige (McAdams) takes off her seat belt, their vehicle gets rear ended and she goes head first through the windshield. The couple are rushed to the hospital, and Leo (Tatum) recovers much faster than his wife, who sustained major brain trauma during the accident. After waking, Leo attempts to regain intimacy with his wife, who shuns him and flees to the household of her estranged parents. The remainder of the film consists of Leo trying to earn the trust and love of his amnesia stricken spouse. This film wasn’t all bad, but it wasn’t that good either. Bottom line, this movie got two stars.

Because:

1. Visual: Some nice tricks and techniques implemented in this film. Most notably the crash scene, where McAdams’ head goes through the windshield in slow motion. This shot had me questioning if I had underestimated the film, but I was soon to be reassured that my initial assumptions were fair and correct. The beauty of the metropolitan Chicago backdrop that envelops the film was simple and inspiring, and earns the movie a half of one star.

2. Audio: This is the first movie I’ve reviewed in which the soundtrack plays a major role in the communication of emotion and dramatic tension to the audience. Great songs by The Cure, Maya von Doll, and Voxhaul Broadcast really add to the overall emotive impact of the story, and were a very unexpected and pleasant addition to the constitution of this film as a whole. This picture uses music in a way that really appeals to me, utilizing longer portions of songs to weave moments of the story into lengthy segments that communicate a concise feeling. The music choices alone demand a full star for audio.

3. Acting: The casting in this movie was both hit and miss. The main misses were the misters in this case. Tatum can’t act, sorry but it’s true. If you’re a female and you’re going to this film to see his acting skills, you can expect to be disappointed. The male role who tries to steal Paige away in her moment of confusion was played by Scott Speedman (Underworld: Evolution, The Strangers), who delivers a standard ex-boyfriend performance, adding no believability to the plot. Sam Neil is the Father of the wounded McAdams, and gives the most convincing performance of the men in this film. McAdams herself does and excellent job of acting in love with Tatum, then distant, then curious and cautious, and so on. Her range of performance save this film one half of one star.

4. Effects: Besides the opening scene where Paige goes through the windshield, there are no special effects to speak of. Not that the film had many opportunities to implement said effects, but a clever filmmaker would have found a better use for slow motion sequences than this picture explores. No stars here.

5. Story: Unfortunately, the plot of this film is not engaging in the least. Never once was I drawn into the story, simply because the stakes are consistently median. When Leo convinces his wife to come home with him to try to regain her memory, the emotional range of Tatum is pushed to the max, and falls short. After he loses his wife to her once distant family, he sheds forced tears and emotes poorly. Never once did the circumstances place their relationship in any real danger, and the climax was virtually non existent because of this fact. No stars here either.

All in all this film fires on a few cylinders, but doesn’t deliver in crucial moments, and emotional energy slips through the cracks due to these oversights. If you’re a die hard Tatum or McAdams fan, their performance is congruent to what you would expect from their past roles. If you’re a fan of romantic films, you are sure to be more disappointed than pleased after a theatrical viewing. This film fulfills a need for a Valentines week opener, and is quite an accomplishment by Michael Sucsy considering that it’s his directorial debut. My favorite part is when McAdams head goes through the windshield, which was a very well done effect, it had me watching attentively throughout.

Thanks as always for reading! Coming up next is a review of CHRONICLE. Drop me suggestions, questions and comments if you like. If you found this review useful, feel free to share it with others to widen my reader base. Thanks again!

-Neal

IMDB info available here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1606389/

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