Everly Film Review


Many reputable actors of maturing years have veered into the mindless shoot-em-up arena recently, counting amongst them Clive Owen, Liam Neeson and Keanu Reeves.

That this trend stems from some sort of post-middle-age Hollywood career-crisis is up for debate.

Suffice to say, forty-eight year old Salma Hayek is the latest tinseltown veteran to recklessly discharge a firearm for an hour and a half onscreen.

And all in the same apartment no less.

Hayek plays the titular character of Joe Lynch’s new film, Everly.

Everly, we learn, is a woman who was abducted years ago and put to work as a prostitute by ruthless crimelord Taiko (Hiroyuki Watanabe).

During this time, she has been a virtual prisoner, separated from her mother and her young daughter Maisey.

When we are introduced to Everly onscreen, she is a shaking wreck who has had enough.

Swiftly unleashing her wrath on Taiko’s henchmen, she finds her apartment beset by an army of villains determined to collect the bounty which Taiko has placed on her head.

And so begins ninety merry minutes of bloody carnage and mayhem.

The tone of the film is incredibly muddled. The opening scene is genuinely galling: a naked woman who has been abused and beaten, crawls out of a room to the sound of derisive male laughter.

Minutes later, she is shooting her tormentors to the sound of ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’.

It’s that precarious see-saw between finding the violence appalling and brutal one minute, and then finding it entertaining and cartoonish the next, on which the film continuously fails to find balance.

Hayek does give the role her all however, and is every bit the star you would expect her to be. Sadly, the material is less than fitting.

Everly is a strong female character. So, is the film imparting the sort of female empowerment message you would expect?

Not really. For every scene in which Everly shoots a male foe in the crotch, there are at least ten shots in which the camera gleefully ogles the curvier parts of her anatomy.

The plot also is more disposable than one of Taiko’s henchmen.

As the primary antagonist, Taiko’s motives are unclear. There is a strong suggestion that he cannot live without her, and yet dispatches every killer imaginable to end her life.

Some of the hitmen are memorable, not least Togo Igawa and Masashi Fujimoto as, respectively, The Sadist and the Masochist, but quickly lose their gravitas when you realise that there is no real point in them even being there.

A plot hole is one thing. A plot absence is something else entirely.

It does have its moments, but ultimately there is no ignoring the serious lack of substance beneath Lynch’s stylish direction.

Everly may have been aiming for Kill Bill, but instead comes across as a sub-standard Smoking Aces.

The ending sets up a sequel, but let’s hope the box office takings allow this film to remain the one-off, cult DVD-hit it’s destined to be.

Conor Brennan

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Dates ‘n stuff

June 2015