The other day I watched the not-so-popular movie, ’16 Blocks.’ Yet again I was deceived by a movie title! I for sure thought this movie was about 16 blocks, like toy blocks or building blocks to a promising future.While watching, I quickly saw why it wasn’t as popular as it could have been, but all in all it was a fun watch. It might not have been Mos Def’s best movie, but you have to give him credit on his fast-talking, quickly-annoying (to Bruce Willis’ character, Jack Mosley not to the audience) acting that surprised me, since I thought, great another movie with some rapper, Soul Plane 2 here we come! But Mos Def proved me wrong. Now let’s get to the actual movie.
’16 Blocks’ is a crime thriller action spectacle, taking place in the time span of 118 minutes even though the movie is only 105 minutes! How’d they do that? I asked myself, but of course I got no reply.
Jack Mosley, a cop who’s been around the block a few times too many and is an alcoholic, is put on an assignment he doesn’t want to do, just as he’s about to punch out for the day. His task is to transport Eddie Bunker (Mos Def) from the police station to the courthouse. But there’s a twist, some of the high ranking police officers don’t want Jack to go all the way through with his assignment, since Eddie will be testifying against those same corrupt cops.
The movie was shot was with a lot of close ups, shot through foreground props and a lot of hand-held scenes. The filmmakers used these techniques to make a closed-in environment with no way out, which is what the protagonists must have felt.
I thought, being a filmmaker myself, that it would be most interesting if the movie was shot with the Cinma vrit style of filmmaking.
The translation of Cinma vrit is French for, film truth or cinema of truth. One approach to using this style of film making is to record an event with no extra takes and most commonly, but not always, one shot continusly. The reason why I thought Cinma vrit would be an interesting style choice for 16 Blocks is that Jack Mosley has 118 minutes (an average length for a feature movie) to bring Eddie to the court house. But, the movie was only 105 minutes, robbing us of 13 minutes. Not only would using this style stay true to how long Jack has to bring in Eddie, it could make the movies more appealing, and maybe do a little better for its popularity.
It’s good to see Bruce Willis do a little something different, getting away from those action movies, but I would have to say I was a bit skeptical about that mustache he has for the movie, but I guess it worked out.
I enjoyed how the filmmakers strayed away from the lead character being the hot new cop on patrol and instead used a decrepted old man who can barley walk. It brought me back to the old days of filmmaking, where the main actor would actually be about two years younger than the actor playing his mother. Back in the old days of filmmaking (after talkies were still a novelity) the main characters were usualy an older man or woman not one of those crazy win or die teenagers. So many times in this modern world we see the hot new actor playing the lead role just because he’s ‘good looking’ not because he’s a good actor.
So to put the icing on the cake, I would have to say that I enjoyed this movie for having a simple yet interesting story line and to have a decrepted old man (who should be retired and sitting on his lawn chair in his driveway watching everybody drive by too fast) to be the lead character. And of course Mos Def ’cause he was mos definately good.