Film Review: Tomb Raider

Something I distinctly remember while watching the first Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider film, was thinking and wondering about the in between moments. What exactly happened between she was a kid and when she was a full blown bad ass, experienced in the arts of archaeology and supernatural madness.

Every warrior portrayed on the silver and small screen has their crucible moment and I was so very curious about Lara Croft's.

Thankfully, in the seventeen year gap between the first and this most recent adaptation of the popular video game, I wasn't the only one who wanted to know.

And doubly so, because this film did not disappoint.

First off, the casting.

Having Alicia Vikander, despite having won an Academy Award and popping up in films in the supporting capacity - she is still in the relatively unknown category - was a masterstroke. Her portrayal of Lara Croft is raw, honest and quite heartbreakingly beautiful in her relative innocence. This is an origins story after all, and her Lara Croft is still inexperienced in the ways of tomb raiding.

Then, a casting decision I was very much excited by, Walton Goggins as the big bad of the film. Another relative unknown, the man has done sterling work in films like Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight and the TV series Justified and Sons of Anarchy. He has been in various productions since 1990 and I was thrilled that he now has his moment in the spotlight and able to showcase his considerable talent in a blockbuster film.
His portrayal of Mathias Vogel is something special and really does get your hackles up, let alone the characters on the screen, which is what a good villain should do.
I said it once and I'll say it again, the better the villain, the better the film. One who has goodness in his world, depth is something that gives it meaning and one who garners your unwilling respect.
Quite frankly, if this film doesn't kick his name into the stratosphere, I will be supremely disappointed.

Dominic West is another great, probably best known as Detective McNulty in the under-appreciated series The Wire, his portrayal of Richard Croft at times brought on the tears. Then of course Daniel Wu, an unwitting accomplice to the real core of the film's story. Which I won't spoil here.

Kristin Scott Thomas lends a hand to the more sedate moments in London, which feel like a moment of relief and a chance to breathe a little.

Something else I appreciated, none of the above performances came with frills attached. It is an action film after all and if it is not moving the story forward or gives the viewer much needed information, then it is rightfully left on the cutting room floor.

For this we must thank the screenwriters, Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Alastair Siddons and Evan Daugherty for their work here. And of course the editors, Stuart Baird, Tom Harrison-Read and Michael Tronick, for getting the film onto a fast paced thrill ride that still has those tearful moments and momentary pauses that give the film its beating heart.

Of course, special mention to the composer of the film, Tom Holkenborg, his score really does elevate this film and bring it to a whole other level with its majesty and wonder.

Roar Uthaug has made a great film here, that has done its role that I had been wondering about for long time and has made me keep thinking about it after the credits, which is something every film should.

Thumbs up from me.

Comments

  1. This quote comes from another action film with real heart, where the main character has real struggles in the battle she finds herself in.

    Peeta: You love me. Real or not real?
    Katniss: Real.

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