Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Review of 'Ashby'

Potentially interesting but ultimately disappointing high school comedy, in which student Ed finds himself increasingly involved with his terminally-ill neighbour who is a retired CIA assassin. The disappointment is because this film wants to have its cake and eat it - so Ed is at once a thoughtful intellectual who rejects the predominant jock-dominated school culture but also longs to be on the football team. Instead of exploring the tension the film just descends into conventional underdog sport tropes, which culminates in nerdy Ed scoring the winning touchdown and becoming accepted by the team and the school. Sure he makes fun of the coach and the football squad values, but ultimately it's all about the touchdown.

Similarly lovable ex-killer Ashby has a basement full of weapons and CIA memorabilia, but neither he nor the film questions the morality of 92 out of the 93 hits he carried out - only the local murder of an environmental protestor, which he was tricked into performing for selfish business reasons by three former colleagues who stood to benefit. Apart from that one none of the other murders causes him, or the film, any problems - it's OK to assassinate people who really were 'enemies of the state', you just mustn't kill people who have been wrongly designated thus. Ugh.

Watched on Netfix via Chromecast. This got 4.5 stars from Netflix's own ratings, which may be an indicator of how the US election is about to go.

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