Payback (1999)

(In theaters, February 1999) This film will probably be misunderstood by a bunch of so-called critics and tremendously enjoyed by those who actually get the intent of the film. Not-coincidentally co-written and wonderfully directed by L.A. Confidential‘s Brian Hegeland, Payback is an homage to the whole era of pulpish hard-boiled noir stories. In this case, however, the protagonist is not a Private Investigator, but a tough robber double-crossed by his wife and partner. He wants his money back; the movie’s plot is as simple as that. The lengths with which the protagonist will go to get back his due are what holds our interest. Cool acting by Mel Gibson, a hilarious presence by Lucy Liu as a dominatrix, a crunchy soundtrack and good direction make this movie an enormously enjoyable treat for fans of the genre.

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