read the news // live the culture
CultureCinemaMovie reviews

Hummingbird | Movie review

  Saturday 22nd June 2013

Steven Knight’s Hummingbird, starring Jason Statham, tells the story of Joey Jones, a homeless ex-marine and member of London’s criminal underworld who seeks revenge against those responsible for his girlfriend’s death. At its core, the film attempts to be about redemption and what it means to be ”good”. Unfortunately, though valiant, well-shot and at times thought provoking, the film isn’t about much at all.

Despite its noble efforts to introduce heart into the typically hollow British gangster genre, the film incorporates far too many heavy themes and therefore fails to deal with most of them effectively. Half-heartedly exploring homelessness, violence, crime, sex, religion, alcoholism, income inequality, absentee parenting, human trafficking and the quest for identity, Hummingbird has bitten off more than it can chew.

The film is littered with unfortunate clichés that cheapen what could have been an engaging storyline. The use of war flashbacks to explain Statham’s tortured mind and alcoholism is uninspired, as is the two-minute Rocky-esque montage depicting him ”getting his life back together”. It is predictable and bland, which is a real shame. In addition, there are some truly terrible and cringe-worthy cameos that, again, belittle the narrative. Overall, the frequent and insultingly shallow dialogue makes it difficult for the main characters to emerge as anything more than two-dimensional, and it is consequently tough to feel much empathy for them.

As is to be expected of Statham, there are some great one liners, most notably when he threatens to kill a homeless man ”with a spoon,” but the action is  surprisingly infrequent and mostly without suspense; there is no sense of danger at all.

However, it is very well shot. Knight’s parallel between the beautiful London skyline and the gritty underbelly beneath it is powerful and stimulating in its portrayal of these two very different worlds. Statham (as always) oozes cool with his sharp eyes, sharp suit and sharp cockney accent.

Overall, the film is simply too ambitious and therefore fails to be truly engaging. It isn’t dramatic enough to be a drama, it isn’t thrilling enough to be a thriller and there isn’t enough action to be an action film. As a viewer, you leave with a sense of dissatisfaction at having experienced so little. It is certainly original as far as British gangster flicks go, but isn’t gritty or entertaining.

Ben Corrigan

Hummingbird is released nationwide on 28th June 2013.

Watch the trailer for Hummingbird here:


More about the author


Share this story


  • Pin It
  • Share on Google+
  • Reddit
  • Stumble
  • LinkedIn

Latest related

First look at Paddington: a family-friendly action movie
First look at Paddington: a family-friendly action movie

Paddington, by all accounts, is not your usual bear. We attended a preview screening to get an early peek at the [read more]

Raindance Festival 2014: Dealer | Review
Raindance Festival 2014: Dealer

French director Jean Luc Herbulot explores the criminal underworld of Paris in his first feature film Dealer, which [read more]

Raindance Festival 2014: The Record Keeper | Review
Raindance Festival 2014: The Record Keeper

Timeless narratives are always the safest bet to base a film on, particularly a narrative that everyone knows – [read more]

Maps to the Stars | Movie review
Maps to the Stars

David Cronenberg is back in business with his latest movie Maps to the Stars. Only Cronenberg could present such a [read more]

Gone Girl | Movie review
Gone Girl

In the era of the trashy thriller novel, Gillian Flynn’s original Gone Girl was a breath of fresh air, [read more]

Archives