'Mile 22' - Review - Chris At The Pictures

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

'Mile 22' - Review

★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Director Peter Berg’s trademark patriotism mutates into the jingoism we all feared lay beneath the surface in this relentlessly nasty film. Mark Wahlberg (in his and Berg’s fourth joint op) stars as Jimmy Silver, a US overwatch soldier tasked with escorting top-priority informant, Li Noor (The Raid star Iko Uwais), out of hostile territory. 

This is the sort of machismo-fuelled bulletfest that seems to fly in the face of everything the Berg/Wahlberg duo have rallied against in their previous efforts. Whether the raw and upsetting nihilism of Lone Survivor, the fallout of corporate neglect in Deepwater Horizon, or the devastation of ordinary lives in Patriot's Day the pair have always dealt with violence and heroism. The downfall of Mile 22 is its oblivious conflation of the two. 

First-time scribes Graham Roland and Lee Carpenter fumble every possible opportunity for emotional resonance, clearly hoping that bravado alone will save them having to write anything resembling a character. Wahlberg is an instantly irritating screen presence here; a rubber band-fiddling pottymouth whose bad behaviour is excused by various, non-specified mental disorders. The film posits him as a good man caught in horrific circumstances. Don’t be fooled: Silver is unsympathetic and risible from the word go. We’re supposed to be cheering him on, but the only applause you’d hear within a million miles of this film is if the audience was asked - likely at gunpoint - to clap every time there’s a cut. 

The editing (choppy or sloppy, it’s hard to tell) is about as graceful as a dozen blows to the head, and renders Uwais’ signature talent for balletic martial artistry totally mute. Everything from car chases to firefights to boardroom debriefings blend into one unintelligible mass of hurled insults, cruel splatter and American flags. It’s impossible to tell what’s going on, where it’s all happening, why you’re supposed to care and, crucially, when it’s all going to stop.

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