film reel image

film reel image

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The Wages of Fear 2024 * * * Stars


There are many people who might not know the actors in 2024's The Wages of Fear (I happen to be one of them). Franck Gastambide, Alban Lenoir, Alka Matewa, and Ana Giradot. Heard of them? Yeah well me neither. Anyway they star in a burnished slow burner, the type of flick that takes its time before it really gets going. "You have just 24 hours to put out the fire". Ouch, better get going. 

"Fear", well it has good intentions and does its utmost to make them stick. I mean watching the opening credits I thought I was expecting something straight from the annals of Brian A. Miller, all oiled and empty and cheapened without ample cognition. Thank gosh I was wrong. The Wages of Fear is a more palatable vision of what Miller might've concocted some 8-10 years ago. No Bruce Willis, no Jason Patric, and no Thomas Jane this time around. Um, full steam ahead as they say. 

Filmed in Morocco, distributed by Netflix, and showing the audience the type of pic Guy Pearce and Jessica Chastain would've done had they been hard up for that almighty paycheck, "Fear" is about a bunch of mercenaries who drive across a desert to deliver nitroglycerin while eventually trying to prevent a life-threatening explosion from killing a small town.   

Yeah "Fear" is all slick and violent and dangerous, the way 10-year director Julien Leclercq intended. Heck, he commits to every shot, building tension and disorder in fits and starts. So OK, ignore the bad dubbing (it's obviously an overseas movie), ignore the wooden acting by the poor man's Will Forte (Sofiane Zermani), ignore the fake, CGI fire but hey, embrace The Wages of Fear's canvased cinematography of dusty Northern Africa. Trust me, just take a whiff at what I deem to be The Road Warrior meets 2015's Sicario. Maximum "wages".  

Written by Jesse Burleson

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