Yesterday, as a reward for completing, I don’t know, a week, I looked around for a movie to see. I noticed something called “Redbelt” being shown at the Cinemark complex, and I hadn’t heard of it so — blah blah blah, Did you know David Mamet has a new movie out? How did I miss that? Anyway, I saw Chiwetel Ejiofor and Emily Mortimer in the cast and decided, hey, this looks entertaining. Also: Tim Allen. Try and combine those folks in your mind. It’s difficult, but it can be done.
The movie follows a jiu-jitsu teacher (Ejiofor) who hits, as all Mametian heroes do, every conceivable problem in the world within a very short amount of time, half of them his own fault but all of them unavoidable. It was a good movie, though actually less Mamet-y than the last movie of his that I saw, in that there are a fair number of characters (all three of the actors listed above play them) who don’t speak in the usual rapid-fire, repeat-repeat-beat-repeat way that Mamet lines up his words. The exception to this, and the most clearly “Mametian” character, is a fight promoter played by Ricky Jay, who speaks in glib glossy Mamet lines the whole time and who actually doesn’t sell the dialogue. “I love a fighter,” though, is a hard line to cynicize and sell at the same time.
Overall, a good Friday matinee. I can’t say I enjoyed watching it — you’ve seen the wrong movie if you leave a Mamet film completely uplifted — but yeah, it was cool, and made me want to go home and watch State and Main.