98 Min. | Action – Crime – Thriller | May 2014
IMDB Rating: 5.0
Director: Paco Cabezas
Staring: Nicolas Cage, Rachel Nichols, Max Ryan
Tokarev Review: This almost anti-establishment, anti-mainstream crime thriller seems to defy the traditional script set up. For much of the movie, it avoids a fast pace, quick editing, simple stereotypical good-bad guy set up. The plot unfolds in an unpredictable way, characters are not who they are usually portrayed to be, people die the audience doesn’t usually expect. This is no hero-worship show. There is definitely a deliberate cerebral quality underlying the theme of this movie. Tokarev sets up with an overly typical, average family of upper middle class, but without the flair and extravagance often portrayed in the movies. This realism layout is almost too boring and unbelievable because of its believability reflecting real life. Unlike A History of Violence, the focus of the story is on the mystery, not the idiosyncrasy of the characters and it is in the plainness that the major twist in the movie comes at the end. There is a tangible echo of the serious tone of The Cooler.
Tokarev (or Rage) in some territories is worth watching. It is a violent look at a violent man trying to chance his ways (Cage) but something seems to stop him from doing so. The past comes back to ruin his new life and everything he has built comes collapsing in on him. What is best about Tokarev is that Cage’s character makes choices that compound the situation and make things worse. Not something you would expect to see in a film like this. As he goes down the rabbit hole of violence and murder every move he makes he starts to question everything including his own instincts (which are all wrong – but again something you would expect from a drama not a gunfest like Tokarev). Not sure if the filmmakers were trying to make a statement about gun violence or even violence but the overall effect of Tokarev is that the whole time and running through all the possible scenarios like Cage himself.
Except of a confusing inclusion of a motorcycle chase scene, Tokarev offers up a slow, thoughtful, sometimes raw and graphic brutality as well as the wrenching of human emotional struggle and suffering. Depending on what one expects from Tokarev, it is probably best not to have any except that this movie is about past deeds, about love, betrayal, about awful physical violence, about making assumptions. In the end, Tokarev is an experiential movie that offers up a mood, an experience, that perhaps for most of us, we are lucky to not have been giving the knife.