Friday, August 12, 2011

The Traveler (2010)

Be careful which drifter you mess with

This starts out with ominous signs, premonitions, warnings, unidentifiable sounds, coincidences--it's all so eerie and mysterious, that is until about the halfway mark when it starts to slowly lose its grasp and plummet into a decomposable pile of rubbish.

A long-haired man dressed in black, played by Val Kilmer, walks right up to the counter of a small police station on Christmas Eve of all nights and says he's there to confess a murder. Some take him seriously, others think he's a kook and wasting their time. So they run through the drill with his name (he's a nobody), fingerprints (doesn't have any), photo (invisible). It's like he doesn't exist, though his mug looks awfully familiar. Alright, now it's confession time. Except Mr. Nobody's smug, speaks in riddles and delays what he has to say for a specific purpose: those around him are going to die systematically and symbolically without Mr. Nobody leaving their sight. How is that possible? I'm not even sure the scriptwriter knows.

A grainy flashback is shown with all officers who were coincidentally there from a not-so-long-ago incident. A drifter was beaten in the most savage police brutality one can dish out for the murder of a child he said he didn't do. The filmmakers wanted you to know how harsh it was--enough to send him into a coma--as everytime someone is killed when Mr. Nobody's confession to a murder is heard we get to see the same flashback over and over, probably to translate how much hate these judge, jury and executioners had in their eyes, except it gets tiring and it starts to become forced.

Some parallels are shown to our enigmatic friend and the remaining officers are stretching their imagination that it all ties together to something possibly supernatural. Will they get out? Do they have it in them to survive? Well, after seeing that harsh mental video over and over...and over and over, who really feels bad for how excessively far they took it even if it was to get a confession for the whereabouts of the lead detective's little girl. It was something they were so sure about at the time, but made a big mistake and little did they know they messed with the wrong guy.

At one point, you think this is going to be a story telling flick like "The Usual Suspects," then a you-or-me survival picture like "Assault on Precinct 13," next a straightforward revenge movie about cop brutality, as all means of getting away are futile and the message starts to point to Rodney King cheering in the back of the audience. That would have gotten an okay mark, as Val Kilmer brings a certain charismatic antihero presence to the character and this also appeased a gore fan as each death is different and pretty grisly like a slasher. What brings this down is the cops at present don't seem like they have the sheer ruthlessness in them to do what they did in the past, which is another strike for believability. Then when a final, pointless twist happens at the end it throws all character development that they were already holding onto by shreds out of whack just to get a little momentary shock. The replay value was reduced to wish-I-didn't-see-this-to-begin-with because the rest of the film was missing way too many pieces to the puzzle for certain mechanics to line up.

Rating: 2/10

From Black to Red recommends instead: "The Hitcher." This is a thriller about a man on the move who disposes of people along the way in suspenseful and memorable scenarios.

Director: Michael Oblowitz (The Breed, The Foreigner, Out for a Kill)

Stars: Val Kilmer, Dylan Neal
Link: IMDB

1 comment:

  1. I am big fan of horror movies ...i watched this movie movie is awesome and full of horror and thriller.