Vinnie Jones leads the most ambitious Lithuanian action film to date. Just don’t take it seriously!
Director: Emilis Velyvis | Stars: Vinnie Jones, Scott Williams, Vytautas Sapranauskas
Budget: 1 million | Box office: 1,8 million
IMDb: 9.2 | Metacritic: n.a.
There has never been such an attempt in Lithuania to create a high profile action comedy involving lots of foreign actors. And the only guy who could pull it off was absolutely the director Emilis Velyvis. His previous Zero films got lots of local attention and the idea really had potential to step out of our home country.
Of course it can easily be dismissed as Guy Ritchie film clone, but his works established a new style and it would be unfair to thrash other filmmakers for experimenting with it. And Redirected is really crazy and so far very successful experiment in fusing Lithuanian and British ideas.
As could be expected with such films, the story follows several character threads with many connected accidents and coincidences. Brilliantly reflecting the title, such accident and coincidence brings four British guys to Lithuania and later Vinnie Jones’ led gangsters squad looking for them. Of course everything breaks apart and almost everyone ends up stranded in some weird places with crazy Lithuanian people.
Now here is the tricky part which provoked many discussions but also clearly is the film’s main attraction point. The encounters in Lithuania are really hilarious, believable and well crafted, except for few minor and unnecessary ideas. But it’s a bit scary that foreign viewers which hopefully will see the film will leave with such image of the country. I wonder if the film premiere was purposely set after Lithuania finished the EU presidency, otherwise I’m afraid we would have had much explaining to do about what a hell is going on here. I may be exaggerating, but films are really powerful in shaping the countries’ image and there were such cases as Slovakia getting a lot of negative attention after the infamous horror movie Hostel.
Another interesting thing about the film is that it’s kind of an open challenge and even a bit of insult to all Lithuanian cinematographers and this industry in our country in general. Why else would Velyvis put such phrase as “I’m not a bitch, I have a dream – I want to be a movie critic”, or even a famous Lithuanian director’s Puipa surname on a doghouse? He is in an open war with internet pirates as well, declaring that he will do whatever it takes to ensure that Redirected would not appear in torrent sites.
So far it seems that at least this promise is kept, Redirected quickly became the biggest grossing film in Lithuania and in general it feels like a really good kick in our stagnant local movie industry, dominated by auteur films, which are usually screened only in foreign festivals, or stupid romantic comedies. Looking forward to new stuff from Velyvis!