(Image credit Netflix)
Apparently movie studios continue to be more concerned with action sequence and CGI than they are with telling a compelling story. And you can't have a compelling story without well-developed and fully realized characters. It just doesn't work that way. In fact, I am convinced that character development is so critical that it even supersedes plot, but I digress. Take for example movies like The Big Lebowski (1998), Dazed and Confused (1993), or Clerks (1994). None of these films really had a plot but they became cult successes based on some very memorable characters, for example: John Goodman and John Tutoro in The Big Lebowski, Matthew McConaughey's charming but sleezy Wooderson in Dazed and Confused, or Jeff Anderson's hilariously bold and audacious portrayal of slacker Randal Graves in Clerks.
But back to Netflix's newest addition to their content, The Old Guard, starring Charlize Theron, based on a graphic novel of the same name. The story centers on a group of immortals (even being shot full of lead doesn't do the trick) led by Theron that have lived in secrecy for centuries and for some reason or another, still fear being exposed.That is until the psychic link the group shares discover a new immortal. Not quite following? Neither am I.
This band of immortals have roamed the earth for centuries avoiding death and as such should possess a profound knowledge and insight into human behavior and wisdom, or at the very least have some kind of personality.
But apparently, living for hundreds of years only makes you sloppy, boring, and less personable. Perhaps in reality these characters have been alive for so long that they are simply unaware of their own cognitive decline? From the film's onset, it creates a disconnect with the audience. Why do I care about these individuals who have the luxury of good looks, infinite wealth, clearly think they are above the law with a license to kill, and who live lives without any sort of regard for consequence or accountability? It's never even demonstrated or made clear that these characters even like each other outside of them literally saying on occasion. So why should I care aside from the fact I've just sacrificed roughly two hours of my life that'll never get back?
The Long and Short:
You can take two things away from this movie. One, you'll prefer a lifetime of being buried alive under the sea to ever having to endure something this insufferable again. And two, if you ever had the good fortune of viewing the Coen Brother's The Ballad of Buster Scruggs then you'll understand why Liam Nieson's character threw his helpless traveling companion Dudley Dursley over the gulch.