I’m talking about the big G.O. -- Gary Oldman. Sure, he’s hit some rough patches career-wise in the last five or so years, even dipping down in a few straight-to-video cheapies only to resurface as a solid supporting character actor in a recent slew of huge mega-budget movies (Harry Potter, Batman Begins). But even in the dreck, G.O. is reliably mesmerizing in every single role he takes. His craft is so honed, his attack on scenes so fresh, he generally rises above the movie, a diamond floating atop a cesspool.
This is where you expect the movie would really come to life--
Oldman has a few nice moments with Hopper before Hopper vanishes on an escape run. But the larger abandonment comes from director Mick Jackson. He wastes the talents of some truly fine actors (not just the guys, but McDormand and Pamela Reed, too). The pacing is atrocious, scenes stacking up back to back like so many randomly clipped coupons, and the tone’s all over the place from absurdist comedy to heavy disease-of-the-week melodrama to a tacked-on inspirational biopic ending that leaves you thinking maybe Jackson’s the one who should be institutionalized.
As always, Oldman is the most interesting thing onscreen and the only thing that rises