The global financial crisis has been responsible for many terrible things, but the redemption of Uwe Boll hasn't been one of them.
Poor Boll's name is now synonymous with bad cinema, thanks to his endless hamfisted videogame adaptations and woefully advised genre excursions, such as 2011's obesity-based vampire comedy Blubberella. However, it seems as though Uwe Boll might have matured.
Boll's newest film, Assault on Wall Street, is his first to tackle the economic collapse of 2008. Theoretically, given the sombre complexity of its subject matter, Assault on Wall Street should stand shoulder to shoulder with other works on the subject, such as Margin Call and Inside Job. In fact, it could well be the film that turns Uwe Boll's career around once and for all. Let's take a look at the Assault on Wall Street trailer.
Gone are the silly costumes and cheap exploitation stunts of, say, Bloodrayne. This is a new Uwe Boll we're witnessing. Something has gone badly wrong with the banking system, and Boll is letting it play out as it probably did. There's a series of ashen-faced conversations taking place in a series of drab workspaces. We're detached from the action. There's almost a vérité feel to the scene. Impressive.
This is unquestionably a disaster movie, but the tragedy isn't one of booms and bangs – it's documented with a series of sober bulletpoints, in decline, on a computer screen. It doesn't matter what hacky impulses flashed across Uwe Boll's mind when he first had the idea for Assault on Wall Street. All that matters is that he chose not to act on them. Good for him.
And now we see the trickledown effect that widespread sub-prime lending had on the everyman – in this case Dominic Purcell. He has lost everything, and can only impotently swipe at a pile of bills in retaliation. Boll has made the crisis more identifiable by boiling it down to the personal. As film-making goes, it's a sound choice.
Admittedly the sight of Dominic Purcell playing with a rifle is a worry. Fortunately, he isn't the sort of idiot to simply kick out against a nebulous culture of faceless bankers that he holds responsible for all his problems. That would be the easy way out. That would be the old Uwe Boll thing to do. New Uwe Boll is more interested in subtle character studies. Chances are that Purcell is about to sell his gun to buy food for his kid, or something just as quietly devastating.
Oh, no, wait, sorry. He is going to blame the bankers after all. He's going to blame them by blowing them up in a brutal revenge attack. Perhaps, maybe, if we all close our eyes and wish hard enough, the film will now follow Purcell's spiral of shame and grief in the aftermath of the attack, as he realises that his impulsive thirst for revenge has wiped billions of dollars from the global stock markets and made a bad situation even worse.
And perhaps these are Dominic Purcell's parents. Perhaps, even though they're dressed like an elderly banker and his glamorous wife, Purcell is returning to them for advice and emotional support in his hour of need.
Oh crap. So much for that theory.
Well, that's the banker dead. And most of the other bankers, all blown up in a massively misguided wave of violence. But the trailer hasn't ended yet. At least we can all take comfort from the fact that this is the new Uwe Boll, and he's not insensitive enough to release a movie in which the sympathetic protagonist is a gun-toting bomber who spends his days murdering people who have minor administrative jobs within companies that are only tangentially related to his perceived woes. We're not actually meant to root for this lunatic, are we?
Oh. We are. Hey everyone, old Uwe Boll's back!
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