"Big Bang" a disappointment for Banderas fans

Thu May 12, 2011 6:25pm EDT
 
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By Kirk Honeycutt

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Without Antonio Banderas, "The Big Bang" would be a whimper of a movie, too awful to watch, but then again without Antonio Banderas, the movie probably would never have gotten made.

Which means you have Banderas to thank and to blame for this misbegotten mess. "The Big Bang" is yet another film noir pastiche only color coded in a garish, ultra vivid palette as if director Tony Krantz) thought of Erik Jendresen's convoluted and incomprehensible screenplay as little more than an excuse for a visual essay in surreal design.

There will be those few who will rally a cult following around such a cartoon-y movie although they will have to do so in DVD since the film is getting a very limited release on Friday before it hits the living room. Those who might admire the film will probably not be admirers of Raymond Chandler, from which the movie borrows heavily without acknowledgment, but perhaps fans of physics and astrophysics since there is a running subtext of gags, references and puns revolving around the big bang theory and a particle collider beneath the New Mexican desert.

The story is essentially a 21st century update on Chandler's "Farewell, My Lovely," involving a weary gumshoe (Banderas), missing stripper (Sienna Guillory), lovelorn Russian boxer (Robert Maillet), reclusive billionaire (Sam Elliott) and blood diamonds along with several beatings, betrayals and murders.

Banderas' Los Angeles detective narrates all this in appropriately purple prose to a trio of iffy cops (Thomas Kretschmann, William Fichtner and Delroy Lindo) who're interrogating him. The private eye is momentarily blind from a very recent beating and blood is spattered all over his face and clothes.

This is the kind of detective movie where scenes can take place anywhere so why not in a stripper bar or a porno shoot? And speaking of gratuitous sex scenes, one happens between Banderas and a kinky waitress (a very game and beautiful Autumn Reeser) that has absolutely nothing to do with the movie but puts two nude actors through eye-catching gymnastics for several minutes.

Clearly, no one means for an audience to take "The Big Bang" as a routine detective thriller. But it's never clear if this is meant as a parody, an exploitation film or a black comedy. A fairly large cast throws itself into the action with vigor and much attention has been paid to the look of the film. Yet nothing adds up and the climax is a fizzle that resorts to CGI instead of any conflict resolution.

Production values are top notch and at times the raison d'etre for the movie.

 
<p>Actor Antonio Banderas signs autographs for fans after ceremonies to unveil star for animated character "Shrek" on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood May 20, 2010. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>