Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Confessions of an Economic Hitman

Author(s): Alex S.
Location: Mexico

"Confessions of an Economic Hitman"

Written, Directed & Produced by Joel & Ethan Coen
Produced by Scott Rudin & Jon Killik
Executive Producers: James Jacks & Brian Grazer
Edited By Roderyck Jaynes, A.C.E.
Cinematography by Roger Deakins, A.S.C.
Music by Thomas Newman
Costume Design by Mary Zophres
Production Design by Jess Gonchor
Art Direction by Tony Fanning & John P. Goldsmith
Set Decoration by Nancy Haigh

Main Cast

Chris Evans – Caleb Thomas
George Clooney – Richard Parsons
John Goodman – Charlie Newhart
Marketa Irglova – Tereza Melcher
Frances McDormand - SAM
John Turturro – Adriano Torres
Steve Buscemi – Jeremy McLean
Paul Newman – Robert Harrison

Tagline: "Advancing the cause of corporate hegemony"

Synopsis: Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars.

Caleb Thomas was the ideal choice for any job you could think of; an outstanding Harvard alumnus, a team player and a natural leader. However one day everything would change for him, weeks before an important interview with a prestigious consulting firm, he was approached by the National Security Agency (NSA) about taking advantage of his possible new position to help the agency, there he met Richard Parsons a cynical and sarcastic man living under what he thought were the American ideals.

They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign "aid" organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet's natural resources.

After being hired by the same man he met at the NSA, Caleb thanks to the training of a woman known to him only as SAM, would become and expert in manipulation and deceit, a vital piece in helping U.S. intelligence agencies and multinational corporations persuade and blackmail foreign leaders into serving U.S. foreign policy and awarding lucrative contracts to American business. Parsons, a veteran in his work would take him under his wing.

Their tools included fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder.

During his 10 year service and providing his abilities in 64 nations in the 5 continents he would meet characters ranking from Charlie Newhart a Texas oil man, Adriano Torres a crazy and self-absorbed Panamanian military leader, Jeremy McLean a radical southern congressman and Robert Harrison a famous writer whose works were basically about the hesitant moral and political issues of the modern world. Nevertheless no one would mark him as much as Tereza Melcher, an activist with an iron will who never stopped, he met her on several times and she always was that inner voice in him telling him to stop, basically everything he wasn’t.

They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization.

After several years of internal struggle because of the role he was playing, crippling foreign economies as EHM, he eventually left his company. After a life of manipulating and abusing he knew he would never be able to let his past.

What the Press would say:

“Confessions of an Economic Hitman”, the new film by the Coen Bros. is their return to familiar yet new and exciting territory. It marks their back to form with a thrilling story about the role of multinational corporations in the world, but with a twist. It tells the story of an ambitious young man who’s work consists of lies and corruption.

The brothers have returned to their roots, both visually and literally. Their new film is reminiscent of some of his great movies like Fargo, The Big Lebowski and Barton Fink with a touch of Miller’s Crossing. Let me just say up front what a pleasure it is to watch a well-crafted film in which not a word or a gesture is wasted. This is intense, provocative filmmaking that shows the impeccable abilities of its authors, brilliantly paced and performed, it rotates its story through satire, comedy, drama and violence, it eventually emerges as one of the best films I've ever seen. It glimpses into the heart of man and unearths a blackly comic nature. If it weren't so funny, it would be unbearably disturbing. The Coens express their ability in being sharp, focused and fluid while creating exciting and magnificent characters that are so difficult to root for but so exhilarating to watch.

Performances are near-perfect. Chris Evans as the leading man plays the role of a lifetime; he’s able to portray so vividly a radical transformation from an idealistic man to cynical calculative villain who eventually finds salvation. He was destined to play this character, we get to see his initial cockiness but also a great deal of maturity in the way he creates the character and how it evolves with a great deal of undertones and layers that open the doors to a masterful tour de force performance. Clooney truly shines in his more unconventional role to date, as a figure of power he’s so manipulative and charming in a way only he’s able to accomplish. McDormand’s brief but shocking performance is exceptional, creating such a frightening presence and definitely gets some of the best lines of the movie. Irglova is able to explore more of her acting chops with this passionate and endearing character that becomes the voice of reason and the only character with a soul and heart. The rest of the cast is filled with wacky performances from some of the Coen’s usual suspects; Turturro is so funny as the crazy and narcissistic Torres, Goodman may fall to the stereotypical Texan but is so darn funny seeing him doing it and Buscemi as the Congressman and NRA spokesman is hilarious but frightening. However the best scene of the movie come from the encounter between Newman’s and Evans’ characters, the way they interact representing opposite points of view is really in another level, one of the most electrifying scenes in modern cinema.

An odd, intriguing, and entertaining film, the culmination of amazing techs, Deakins’ usual masterful cinematography, Newman’s engaging score and amazing performances really put the Coen Bros. at another level and reinstates their position as one of America’s finest filmmakers. To watch it is to experience steadily mounting delight, as you realize the filmmakers have taken enormous risks, gotten away with them and made a movie that is completely original, and as familiar as an old shoe. Funny without really trying to be and it proves conclusively that fact is stranger than fiction.

Best Picture
Best Director - Joel & Ethan Coen
Best Adapted Screenplay - Joel & Ethan Coen
Best Actor in a Leading Role - Chris Evans
Best Actor in a Supporting Role - George Clooney
Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Paul Newman
Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Frances McDormand
Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Marketa Irglova
And in all categories

1 comment:

Douglas Reese said...

I gotta say when it was first released, I was sort of disappointed by it. I think I gave it a **? But, now, with a re-read, I feel that it was one of the best of the month! Great, and good, Coen brothers feel!

Rating: ****