What You Should Know
When you watch the trailer or see some of the posters for Redbelt you get the impression that this is an action movie. It is, but not in the same sense that The Transporter is an action movie. The fighting is limited, the pace is somewhat slow and the focus is not on outwitting bad guys and fighting to the death. Redbelt is a film about integrity, opportunity, greed and choices. That the main character is a Jujitsu instructor means that the conflict, ultimately, centers on fighting. It does not mean that the film moves from action sequence to action sequence.
Why You Should Reconsider
First the lead is Chiwetel Eijofor. The rest of the cast is quite exceptional as well. The film is written and directed by David Mamet, which is either a selling point for you or a reason to run and hide. This is an understated, reality-based film that is character-driven.
To be honest I would think most misconceptions concern the depth of the film because everyone is of the opinion that David Mamet is a really big deal. Or that he is subtle and nuanced and oh boy that dialog. All of that clunky, “no one on the planet really speaks like that” dialog is in this film (spoken by a less well known Jake Johnson no less!). Ricky Jay, again is in this for no apparent reason. So for those that love all the usual Mamet-isms you got ’em. Enjoy! For those that find all of those to be terribly qualities in the film I give you Mr. Chiwetel who is by now a much better known actor.
He does wonders with his dialog and conveying the inner life of his character. His interactions with his wife, Alice Braga, are natural and believable. The plot is….something. I like the film and I think you will, too. Just don’t spend a lot of time reflecting on the story, of they who’s and the whys of it all because that path leads to bad feelings.
Instead focus on your lead actor, his actions and interactions and enjoy the way he navigates his world.