johnlink ranks TRANSIT (2012)
Thanks to my appreciation for his show Person of Interest, Jim Caviezel has become one of those actors whose movies I would watch in a pinch. Of course, I say that having not seen PASSION OF THE CHRIST, but otherwise I’ve seen most everything else. He plays a fascinatingly stoic character, even if they usually turn out to be fairly similar to each other. I hadn’t even heard of TRANSIT before it hit HBO recently, so I didn’t know what to expect of this little thriller.
I watched TRANSIT (2012) on 1.15.13. It was my first viewing of the film.
TRANSIT starts with a group of four people committing a violent robbery of an armored car. The stakes are elevated from the start. The credits roll over a series of shots delivered from awkward angles. The danger is in our face.
We are then introduced to a family, led by Dad Nate (Caviezel) who are on their way to a camping trip to reconnect as a family. The four thieves know that a roadblock is coming, so they use an opportunity at a rest-stop to stash their four million bucks in with the family’s stuff on top of the car. The plan, of course, is to take the money back after the roadblock.
Naturally, things don’t go as planned. Nate has a criminal past, so a routine traffic stop turns into a night in jail, separating him from his family. The thieves go after the money, but are unsuccessful. The family stops trusting Dad, and doesn’t believe his innocence when they find the money among their belongings.
This is an ambitious movie. The four thieves are absolutely vicious. This isn’t a 90s Nicholas Cage action flick where you just know he will be alright and the bad guys will lose. Director Antonio Negret makes it very clear that anything can happen.
The script is both what elevates this film and holds it back. The characters are unique, and they have a good depth to them. But there are many instances of coincidence, of sudden lapses in judgment, and of unbelievability which mar this movie. The car which the thieves use, for example, roars around corners several times in the film so that the good guys know they are coming. But in the moments before a surprise death, on a straight away, it is completely silent and nobody sees it. The surprise works in the moment, but the gap in logic hurts the movie in the long run. If you want to be vicious and cruel as a movie, it helps if we don’t feel like it is being manipulated behind the camera and in the editing room.
But those small moments don’t hurt the movie terribly. Instead, we are rewarded with a grungy little cats-and-mice movie, where the cats and mice would both be better off if they would just stop fighting amongst themselves. In terms of character, this movie really does it right.
I stumbled upon TRANSIT unexpectedly, and saw that it had a rough Rotten Tomatoes score and a very average IMDB score. While I wouldn’t say that it is a marvel to behold, I would say that it is worth seeing.
FILM: 6; MOVIE: 7; ACTING: 7; WRITING: 6; BONUS: 1
The bonus point is for the camera work. Lots of nice canted framing, extreme close up, and solid use of mise en scene. The camera does a nice job of framing this little suspense flick.
FINAL SCORE: 6.75