Paparazzi (8/10)

Copyright © 2004 by Tony Medley

Mel Gibson has done it again. Earlier this year he produced (and directed) Passion of the Christ which irritated all the mainline media critics no end. The New Yorker was particularly incensed, claiming that the film showed none of Christís compassion and teachings. Apparently TNY has a problem with their reading comprehension, since the title of the film, ďThe Passion of the ChristĒ  should have been a tipoff as to the subject matter of the film. Jesus didnít do a lot of teaching or telling of parables while he was being scourged and hung from the cross. This was a movie about The Passion! The critics were even more upset when it was a spectacular success.

Now Mel has produced a scathing indictment of the lowlifes who invade the privacy of the rich and famous, the people who take the invasive pictures and sell them to the tabloids. Because it apparently justifies vigilantism, this is sure to set off the same critics who didnít like Passion and canít think of anything good to say about Gibson.

Obviously based on the death of Princess Diana, Bo Laramie (Cole Hauser) is a new action star whose life, wife, Abby (Robin Tunney), and son, Zach (Blake Bryan) are assaulted and harmed by four Paparazzi, Leonard Clark (Tom Hollander), Wendell Stokes (Daniel Baldwin), Rex Harper (Tom Sizemore), and Kevin Rosner (Kevin Gage).

Although LAPD Detective Burton (Dennis Farina) seems sympathetic (is he?), Bo thinks he has to take matters in his own hands. The result is a film of revenge and retribution reminiscent of Death Wish (1974). Critics lambasted the latter and its star, Charles Bronson, but audiences loved it. Thatís what I think will happen with Paparazzi.

This is a film of stark blacks and whites. Director Paul Abascal and writer Forrest Smith have made the four paparazzi so unredeemingly bad and hateful and Bo such a wonderful paragon of virtue that thereís no question where this is heading.

Adding immensely to the enjoyment of the film is the music of Brian Tyler. Expertly edited by Robin Russell and with terrific cinematography of Malibu and Los Angeles by Director of Photography Daryn Okada, this is an enjoyable film. Itís one that victims of the paparazzi will applaud, and the vast multitudes who are not victims should enjoy.

September 3, 2004

The End