head
head head head
Home Contact RSS Feed
News   •   Features   •   Reviews   •   Podcasts   •   Contests   •   Contact Us   •   About Us
Blu-ray Review: Pawn
cGt2099   |  

Blu-ray Review: PawnPawn
DVD | Blu-ray | Streaming
Directed by David A. Armstrong
Starring Ray Liotta, Nikki Reed, Forest Whitaker, Marton Csokas, Sean Faris, Michael Chiklis, Stephen Lang, Common, Max Beesley, Ronald Guttman
Anchor Bay Films
Originally Released: April 23, 2013

Pawn is one of those convoluted crime thrillers, told out of sequence, making up pieces to a puzzle that will cause you to keep guessing throughout the movie. Featuring Michael Chiklis and Ray Liotta among many other big names, and alongside a stellar performance by Sean Faris, this is one of those gangster/heist style mystery flicks that provides more questions than it does answers, though resonant of movies like Dog Day Afternoon.

Pawn is set in a small-town diner, which is taken over by three British gangsters planning a robbery of the location. The diner serves as a legitimate front for a big name in organized crime, and while the gangsters think they’re in the job for the money, their leader Derrick (Michael Chiklis) is after a very specific item: a hard drive with data that contains names of big players.

Meanwhile, the hostages in the diner include Nick Davenport (Sean Faris), a petty car thief who has just been released from county prison whose brother is a cop working for Internal Affairs. As the heist becomes more complicated and dangerous, the police are called out to the scene. Derrick puts Davenport out front as their communicator with negotiator Jeff Porter (Common), turning him into the face of the heist, making the cops believe Nick is behind it all.

But as well as the heist storyline, there are a dozen other story threads that weave in and out of Pawn that all accumulate into a high tension conclusion. Each individual character fits into the story in some way, and there are various connections between many of them that complicate the narrative – not in a muddying manner – but that add to the overall puzzle of the story.

Pawn

While there are a bunch of big names in this movie, it was Sean Faris that grabbed my attention the most in this piece. In a plot that has a handful of characters with an abundance of integral elements and backstory, Faris’ character of Nick is the closest to being the protagonist of the tale. His performance is relatively convincing, providing an intense and emotional impression, with mannerisms that, to me, were very evocative of a young Christian Bale. Faris is integral to the story in many ways, and his role is very impressive.

Max Beesley also highly impressed me as Bill, who serves as Derrick’s second in charge. He has a solid presence on screen, very steely, and convincingly portrays the position of an experienced criminal with a level head, though strategic. I’d love to see him in some other similar roles, he exhibits some strength here. He works extremely well with Chiklis, and both evidently have a fabulous chemistry on screen. Chiklis, incidentally, pulls off a geezer-style British accent (one you would ordinarily recall from a Guy Ritchie heist flick) very well, though it’s a little disorienting to begin with.

Other notable roles in the film include that of Stephen Lang, who plays the frail Charlie that works in the diner, who most of our readers will remember as the hardass marine from Avatar, though I daresay you won’t recognize him. Lang blends in to the movie completely, and he sinks into the role so convincingly that he disappears completely.

Ray Liotta is also good as the mysterious unnamed "Man in the Suit", who seemingly works for a few different players in this game. He delivers a wonderful monologue about death clocks part way through the film that is chilling, over a montage of events happening at that moment. Common is relatively good as Porter, though I found him to be less convincing than in any of his previous roles. And finally, Forest Whitaker is fantastic in perhaps one of the shortest roles he’s ever played in a film, though key and essential for setting up the scene.

Blu-ray Review: Pawn

The script for Pawn is superb, without a doubt. Its pacing is of an excellent quality, and rarely brings in elements that don’t play a part in the story. The non-linear nature of the writing makes for an intense viewing experience, but also will serve to be a delight for viewers who love to watch movies that are constructed in a manner that feel like a puzzle that needs to be solved.

Where the writing is let down, however, is in the direction. Many of the actors bring a big game to the movie, and are entertaining, but some scenes often come across as rushed and incomplete. If Pawn had a better budget and longer filming schedule, I’m sure director David A. Armstrong may have had a better opportunity to tighten up some of the looseness and smoothed over the rougher edges of the production.

There isn’t a lot of deeper subtext or symbolism in Pawn, due to the nature of the story being filled with many characters and their own threads within the plot. One notable element though is the chess-theme that keeps coming up through the movie. Whitaker’s and Lang’s characters have an ongoing chess game, often being observed from afar by Yuri (Ronald Guttman). The floor of the diner itself is a black and white square pattern, indicating that the entire situation is a long game, strategic and significant, but leaving it ambiguous enough to make it almost impossible to determine the heavy players from the pawns.

Despite its rougher edges, Pawn is a movie worth a view. There are some impressive performances with a surprisingly strong cast, and the convoluted nature of the plot will keep you guessing as to where things are going. The puzzle is a formidable one, but one worth looking into.

Overall Rating: 3½ out of 5

Trailer

Previous Article
Next Article
«
»
Around the Web
Geeks of Doom on Instagram Follow Geeks of Doom on Tumblr
Geeks of Doom on YouTube Geeks of Doom on Pinterest
Geeks of Doom Email Digest Geeks of Doom RSS Feed
Google
Amazon.com
Check out all of our current contests listings
Check out all of our current contests listings
space
space
The Drill Down Podcast TARDISblend Podcast Skull-Face Island Movie Podcast
BlendoveR
Get Geeks of Doom Gear on CafePress
BlendoveR   ·   Cinema Blend   ·   Collider   ·   Film School Rejects   ·   First Showing   ·   io9   ·   Latino Review   ·   Screen Rant   ·   Slashfilm   ·   The Mary Sue
2520 Clothing Company
Animated  ·  Apps  ·  Art  ·  Best-Sellers  ·  Bits of Doom  ·  Blog  ·  Blu-ray  ·  Book of Geek  ·  Books  ·  Cartoons  ·  Celebrity  ·  Charity  ·  Collectibles  ·  Comics  ·  Computers  ·  Contests  ·  Conventions  ·  Deals  ·  DIY  ·  Documentary  ·  Doom Deliveries  ·  DVDs  ·  Electronics  ·  Environment  ·  Fanatic  ·  Features  ·  Gadgets  ·  Games  ·  Gear  ·  Geek Finds  ·  Geek Girls  ·  Gift Guide  ·  Holidays  ·  Humor  ·  Interviews  ·  Movies  ·  Music  ·  News  ·  News Bytes  ·  Obit  ·  Photos  ·  Podcasts  ·  Politics  ·  Poll  ·  Press Releases  ·  Recaps  ·  Reviews  ·  Rumors  ·  Science  ·  Software  ·  Sports  ·  Technology  ·  Television  ·  Theater  ·  Theme Parks  ·  Trailers  ·  Travel  ·  Video Games  ·  Videos  ·  Web Games  ·  Week of Geek  ·  Zombie Round-Up
space
January 2014  ·   December 2013  ·   November 2013  ·   October 2013  ·   September 2013  ·   August 2013  ·   July 2013  ·   June 2013  ·   May 2013  ·   April 2013  ·   March 2013  ·   February 2013  ·   January 2013  ·   December 2012  ·   November 2012  ·   October 2012  ·   September 2012  ·   August 2012  ·   July 2012  ·   June 2012  ·   May 2012  ·   April 2012  ·   March 2012  ·   February 2012  ·   January 2012  ·   December 2011  ·   November 2011  ·   October 2011  ·   September 2011  ·   August 2011  ·   July 2011  ·   June 2011  ·   May 2011  ·   April 2011  ·   March 2011  ·   February 2011  ·   January 2011  ·   December 2010  ·   November 2010  ·   Octber 2010  ·   September 2010  ·   August 2010  ·   July 2010  ·   June 2010  ·   May 2010  ·   April 2010  ·   March 2010  ·   February 2010  ·   January 2010  ·   December 2009  ·   November 2009  ·   Octber 2009  ·   September 2009  ·   August 2009  ·   July 2009  ·   June 2009  ·   May 2009  ·   April 2009  ·   March 2009  ·   February 2009  ·   January 2009  ·   December 2008  ·   November 2008  ·   Octber 2008  ·   September 2008  ·   August 2008  ·   July 2008  ·   June 2008  ·   May 2008  ·   April 2008  ·   March 2008  ·   February 2008  ·   January 2008  ·   December 2007  ·   November 2007  ·   Octber 2007  ·   September 2007  ·   August 2007  ·   July 2007  ·   June 2007  ·   May 2007  ·   April 2007  ·   March 2007  ·   February 2007  ·   January 2007  ·   December 2006  ·   November 2006  ·   Octber 2006  ·   September 2006  ·   August 2006  ·   July 2006  ·   June 2006  ·   May 2006  ·   April 2006  ·   March 2006
space
Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under
a Creative Commons License.
space
Geeks of Doom is proudly powered by WordPress.

Students of the Unusual™ comic cover used with permission of 3BoysProductions
The Mercuri Bros.™ comic cover used with permission of Prodigal Son Press

Geeks of Doom is designed and maintained by our geeky webmaster
All original content copyright ©2005-2014 Geeks of Doom
All external content copyright of its respective owner, except where noted

Privacy Policy | Contact
space
space