Directed by David Mamet
Sony Classics, 99 min
By Eric Green
Don’t miss the film “Redbelt.” But, when you sit down in the theater, make sure you have a good seat belt (regardless of the color).
This is another David Mamet film that will excite you and put your nerves on edge for the entire time.
Granted, you have to like the Mamet style of filmmaking, and in this instance, you have to have some interest in the philosophy of martial arts. The emphasis on the struggle to maintain its original philosophy is what sets this film apart from other martial arts films.
Mamet dialogue is very quick, repetitive and raw. Transitions between scenes and within scenes are fast. You have to be very attentive. Some filmgoers will remember Mamet’s “House of Games” and “Spanish Prisoner” films. He is a very unique filmmaker.
Turns out that Mamet is something of a martial arts fan and participant, and that is another aspect that makes this film all the more realistic.
Another unique aspect is the Brazilian/Japanese connection. No, not the Japan on its homeland island thousands of miles away. This refers to the highest concentration of Japanese people outside of Japan itself, that being in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
“Redbelt” is held together by the amazing performance of Chiwetel Ejiofar, an English actor of African descent who demonstrates a flawless U.S. Californian accent. Ejiofar did an incredible performance in “Pretty Dirty Things,” the gripping film about the unlawful international trading in human organs.
Most of the Mamet ensemble is back together again in this one, led by Joe Mantegna, Tim Allen and Rickey Jay. Another English actor, Emily Mortimer, plays a lawyer. Alice Braga plays Ejiofar’s Brazilian wife. Braga is the niece of the talented Brazilian actor Sonia Braga.
This film will end up within the Academy Awards orbit. Just how many it receives will depend on other films. No question, Ejiofar will be high on the list.
Rebecca Pidgeon created the music for the film. The score and lyrics are an excellent mix of Brazilian lyrics and music with local sounds of California, the location of the film. Pidgeon also sings a couple of songs she wrote, including one with her husband, David Mamet.
Let the Oscar contest begin.