[Once again, thanks goes to Aaron Krasnov for the review.]
When I initially heard Idris Elba would be headlining a cryptic
thriller I became eager to see what he could do in a complex dramatic
role. The allure of Legacy
is strong: a great poster, a well composed trailer
Elba, who has slowly been making a name for himself in highly
entertaining fashion, the man has charisma.
A few days prior to the US premier a NY Times article appeared on Elba
, describing his
aspirations and containing a small bit about Legacy
couldn't have made the movie this way without him,' said the film's
writer and director, Thomas Ikimi. 'I wrote the script to make it for
$20,000 in a hotel room. All the actors were friends of mine.' When Mr.
Elba signed on to star and be executive producer, Mr. Ikimi continued,
'the movie ended up a lot bigger than I ever expected it to be.' Mr.
Elba's reputation drew both other actors (including his 'Wire' cast mate
Clarke Peters) and investors, leading to an eventual shooting budget of
half a million dollars.'"
The above is how I went into the film, it's time to
watch Idris Elba knock this out of the park, time to watch him become
the star he speaks of being in the NY Times article.
Legacy is essentially a one man
show, each of the supporting characters serving as an emotional catalyst
for Elba's performance. A performance that asks Elba to play someone
who is disassociated with reality, an ex-soldier with varying degrees of
psychosis the audience must decipher. Certainly not the easiest of
roles, but one Elba was confident enough in to become executive
I have been skirting around talking about the film
for a few paragraphs now as I feel out the way to tackle it. The easiest
way is to say the film is a failure on nearly all accounts, I have
thought back through it a number of times and can not seem to pull out
anything truly redemptive. Clarke Peters turns in a decent few minutes
of screen time and Eamonn Walker turns in the best performance of the
film, though not a huge departure from his previous work.
Meat and potatoes time, Idris Elba is awful. I can't
tell if Elba isn't trying, but I have to give him the benefit of the
doubt as he produced the film. Maybe he didn't have enough time to
research or work with a vocal coach, maybe this kind of acting just
isn't his thing; regardless it's not pretty. The worst of which comes
when Elba uses an unconvincing, homogenized American accent as
he unhurriedly narrates through his experiences in the special forces
while seated in front of a camcorder, video diary style. These scenes
are the audiences most intimate glimpses into the character and Elba's
biggest failing. Listening to Elba stiltedly mutter and stumble through
these introspective moments I found myself completely at a loss. The
film totally shuts down, any intensity and mutual paranoia is destroyed.
I have not given up on Elba as an actor, he is great
when playing the quick witted action guy and the composed educated
gangster, dramaturgy is not his shtick as Legacy makes clear.
There are better soldier with psychosis films, Legacy is
nothing new and when propped up against Dead Presidents or Jacob's
Ladder an utter failure. The twists are transparent and the dialog
abrasive, it's just not fun to watch
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