Playwright David Mamet’s latest film, Redbelt, is one that he has both written and directed. It screened at Showest last week, and a second, longer, trailer has gone online too.
While Mamet’s writing credits are, naturally, more noteworthy than his previous directorial outings (see The Verdict, Glengarry Glen Ross and Wag the Dog over Heist and Spartan), this looks decently intriguing. Earlier notices for lead actor Chiwetel Ejiofor have been very favourable too.
Ejiofor (American Gangster, Children of Men) plays Mike Terry, a mixed-martial arts instructor, who believes more in the honour of the fighter’s code than competitive fighting. After intervening in a bar fight involving a famous movie star, he gets drawn into the cut-throat film industry and ultimately, through desperation, the corruption of prize bouts and television and club promoting which he has avoided for so long.
Tim Allen is playing the part of Chet Frank, the famous actor who Mike defends, and brings him into the movie world. After a run of complete turkeys which include Wild Hogs, Santa Clause 3, Christmas with the Kranks and The Shaggy Dog, it’s good to see Allen in a role with a bit more edge to it. Add this to his upcoming directorial debut (not counting a single episode of Home Improvement) Crazy on the Outside, and we might finally start taking note of Allen for the right reasons again.
The cast also includes Mamet regulars Joe Mantegna (as Chet’s manager), Ricky Jay (as a fight promoter) and Mamet’s wife Rebecca Pidgeon (playing the wife of Tim Allen’s character). Throw in a couple of Brazilian hotties (Alice Braga as Mike’s wife and Rodrigo Santoro as her brother, a ruthless club owner and promoter) and an increasingly impressive Emily Mortimer (as the lawyer who seeks help from Mike), and you have a potentially quite remarkable cast. As long as Mamet has curtailed some of his more indulgent tendencies, this should be one to watch out for.