Man on Fire
Screen Time: 45%
Age: 9 years old
Man on Fire
Directed: Tony Scott
Country: USA, Mexico
Language: English, Spanish
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
A wave of kidnappings has swept through Mexico, feeding a growing sense of panic among its wealthier citizens, especially parents. In one six-day period, there were twenty-four abductions, leading many to hire bodyguards for their children. Into this world enters John Creasy, a burned-out ex-CIA operative/assassin, who has given up on life. Creasy's friend Rayburn brings him to Mexico City to be a bodyguard to nine-year-old Pita Ramos, daughter of industrialist Samuel Ramos and his wife Lisa. Creasy is not interested in being a bodyguard, especially to a youngster, but for lack of something better to do, he accepts the assignment. Creasy barely tolerates the precocious child and her pestering questions about him and his life. But slowly, she chips away at his seemingly impenetrable exterior, his defenses drop, and he opens up to her. Creasy's new-found purpose in life is shattered when Pita is kidnapped. Despite being seriously wounded during the kidnapping, he vows to kill anyone involved in or profiting from the kidnapping. And no one can stop him.
Movie ReviewsTony Scott’s Man on Fire is, without a doubt, one of the most brutal films I have ever seen. Denzel Washington gives a wonderful performance as Creasy, a man who’s past (which we never see, we only have a few lines of dialogue that hint at how much evil Creasy has seen and done.) And when the revenge story kicks in, we see why Creasy doesn’t believe God will forgive him for his sins. This is not a film for the squeamish.
However, the film is not just about graphic violence. The film is, at heart, a tender love story between a man who has nothing to live for and a girl who shows him the way out of the darkness. The interaction between Creasy and Pita (Fanning) is wonderful and believable. At first Creasy doesn’t want anything to do with the girl, he is just her bodyguard, nothing more. But as time goes on, he starts to open up to her and soon he becomes a surrogate father, as her real father is never there for her. And by the time she is kidnapped, we believe that Creasy would stop at nothing to get her back.
Scott’s choices in composition are wonderful, although on occasion a little oppressive. The use of reversal stock and cross process creates a reality that is tangible and yet somewhat surreal. The composition really allows the audience to accept Creasy brutality, because we are given a brutal reality from the very beginning.
Is this film for everyone? Not really. While the story is essentially a love story that ends with the redemption of Creasy, the brutal violent revenge might throw some viewers off. The cast is strong, Scott’s direction is fantastic, and the story keeps you on edge the whole time. It’s a wonderful film.