The Quiet Arrangement (2009)

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Overall Rating 59%
Overall Rating
Ranked #13,503
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When the wife of prominent lawyer Walter Briggs is kidnapped, he decides to take matters into his own hands. But things are not really what they seem and the abduction becomes more complicated for everyone involved. --IMDb
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Review by Ginose
Added: November 24, 2009
Boy, trailers sure can be deceiving. This entry I had little knowledge about before receiving and, in ways, I'm very grateful; it looked like a lot of interesting shit was going down in the trailer: a bunch of multi-layered characters covering different angles of a well-assembled plot with a convoluted ride to the end, changing your perception of events as the separate situations are revealed. Hell, that's even what all the plot-descriptions implied, so I was oh-so excited to get a chance to see it. Well, having seen it, I highly doubt I could have been farther from the truth.

The plot is exactly this: A lawyer, who has come into a great-deal of money from an incident at a dealer's house, comes home one morning to discover his wife has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom. The ransom, of course, is the large sum that he is now in contact with, leaving him with the question of how this bargainer knew of it. He immediately grabs his gun and meets with one of the only people who know about the incident, threatening him immediately. Coming to the conclusion that he's not the one responsible, he has no choice but to show up at the designated place with the money. Shouting back and forth to a rather confused "collector", he guns down the man, making his demands, only to be shot himself. This, however, is the beginning of the film, as a whole lot more has gone down than we know... so, now we get to see it... all of it... every last detail.

Okay, for the first point, we'll start with what should clearly be my biggest beef with this film: It's boring. I'm not going to say that it needed more action, but the biggest thing that makes this piece suffer is the pacing. Ever single event played from every single character's perspective is long, drawn-out and filled with a lot of unnecessary fluff. I mean, a lot of it just felt like fillers, leading up to absolutely nothing. The director/editor, for some reason, stretched a few of the characters out in order to try to develop them a bit more than necessary. Hell, I couldn't even see a reason for giving a whole sequence to the middle-man (I believe he was Mr. Park), which, more-or-less, consisted of him sulking around, doing his job, fucking and a brief masturbation scene. It added nothing to the overall story, except, in the final sequence, which only left us with more questions. Whereas, the more INTERESTING characters, that could have probably been much deeper if ant time was dedicated to their stories, are damn near completely unessential to the plot. I'm referring to the two cops that were investigating the lawyer's wife, trying to catch her on a drug-bust. These two had an almost interesting chemistry (especially when put against the rest of the characters), and could have done a lot more, but their investigation, as well as their entire scene, was rushed harshly. I'm not quite sure what character I was supposed to LIKE in this movie, but I didn't sympathize with any, didn't feel their emotional plights and didn't enjoy how they went about things.

Perhaps this was due to my next biggest compliant: The acting. I would NEVER go so far as to say the performances were bad, by no means, but, after a while, all of the dialogue and feats of interest were just boringly mechanical. Everyone just felt like they were going through the motions, like they took ten or eleven takes and just couldn't really decide on one. Still, I honestly thought the performers did fine with the material they were given, my biggest beef is still simply in the scene cuts and how long they felt they needed to be. Compensating for something? Budget maybe? I didn't really see a NEED for that.

Hell, certainly isn't the budget, given the actual look of the film is excellent. It's gorgeous in its use of natural-lighting to give the effects over everything. The effects even looked very nice. The choreography of the (few) action-sequences there were was DAMNED good. I always appreciate it when a filmmaker uses a fast-paced, realistic action-scene when it's meant to be intense. Larger-films tend to ignore this for more style and visual-appeal. Kudos to the good men who still remember what a punch looks and sounds like.

Now, I'm all for a complex crime story told from multiple perspectives. I do, however, prefer to have a different take on events rather than the same scenario played out for me again and again, going so far as to use the same shot for a few sequences. I, like most people, could find that annoying, no matter how it's supposed to lay out in the grand-scheme of things. Sure, that might be a quirky little complaint, but, piled on with the amount of unneeded things that we're forced to watch in the length of it all it becomes almost wearing how many times we tread over the same ground.

One more petty bit to complain about in the lead-up to the ending, almost ALL of the narrative thrown in feels like a long drag to the final-character's plot, which, in all fairness, isn't even very interesting. To be honest, it felt like the original draft of the script probably contained the opening and closing pieces, and most of the others were just drawn into it to extend length. Not that I'm complaining, as some of the added things were actually very good, but it was such a hard drive to get there. Hell, the only two action-y scenes were in the final piece, leading more toward my two-piece theory; obnoxious, yes, but not a bad film for this.

Truth be told, it's exactly what I said it was: Boring. Not bad, just drawn out, hell, could have been a GREAT movie if the editor took a bit less pride in how nice the movie looked and focused more on the importance of plot-pacing and its reliance on the performances. In the end, I really, REALLY wanted to like it, but, as you can see, there was just too much NOT going-on for me to enjoy.

A good movie, but dry as hell due to the amount we have to plow through to hit the gold, and that, good as it may be, is not entertaining.

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