For a film titled Momentum, this attempt at an action-thriller is ironically and woefully short of it. Shot in Cape Town, South Africa, an opening that shows a needlessly brutal, high-tech bank heist by criminals, in what look like Halloween Power Ranger costumes, sets the tone for the juddering, stilted plot, the clichéd characters and the general lack of impetus that could turn it into anything resembling a success.
Alex (Olga Kurylenko), a disguised thief with a secret, is accidentally revealed in this bungled theft. Veering maniacally, and somewhat confusingly, between a clumsy, fragile victim and a deadly assassin, she embarks on a deadly cat-and-mouse chase involving her partner and ex-boyfriend (Colin Moss), a hidden flash drive within the diamonds, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Morgan Freeman cameo and more torture scenes, gratuitous violence, and car chases than it is possible to withstand without the film beginning to parody itself.
Momentum is not subtle. Alex’s main rival, in the oh-so-predictable suave, suited and softly spoken guise of Mr Washington (James Purefoy) is the absolute epitome of stereotype – there is even a suggested chess match in the middle of one of the many graphic torture scenes. Washington will stop at nothing to get the flash drive, including shooting a woman in the head, beating up a six-year-old child and torturing an almost-naked Alex with an archaic instrument in – just to round it all off – an abandoned warehouse.
Adam Marcus and Debra Sullivan’s screenplay does not help the crass, wooden acting; the moments of comedy are awkwardly placed between truly horrific torture sequences. Yet it is the dialogue that cements Momentum’s doom. This is best summed up by Washington’s one-dimensional, vapid cronies who, with no apparent self-consciousness, remark “he’s checked out” after killing one of their victims in a hotel.
Momentum can be somewhat redeemed by its artful camera angles, and the great detail given to sound, even in its most minute settings: a car door closing, water dripping, the crunch of broken glass. However, this cannot save what is overwhelmingly an accidental self-parody. The puzzling cliffhanger of an ending appears to set the film up for a sequel, but there’s enough momentum for that.
Momentum is released nationwide on 20th November 2015.
Watch the trailer for Momentum here: