TL;DR – A straightforward action film that is elevated by a strong bond.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film
The Mother Review –
In recent years, it has been nice to see many actors have a resurgent cinema career. One of those has been Jennifer Lopez, who jumped back with Hustlers, then Marry Me, and now we shift to the world of Action with The Mother, and she fits well into this world.
So to set the scene, it is a quiet morning in suburban Linton, Indiana, where an FBI safe house is nestled between all the homes. It is here where FBI Agent William Cruise (Omari Hardwick) is debriefing a new informant, The Mother (Jennifer Lopez), about her role in securing an arms deal between Hector Álvarez (Gael García Bernal) and Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes). When the safe house is breached by armed assailants and all the FBI agents are shot, we discover that there is a reason that they are hunting The Mother. However, she has more than a few tricks of her own, and it is not only her life she is protecting.
One thing they get right is the setting. We learn right from the start both The Mother’s skills and the abilities of those opposing them. It helps create a scenario where you can see the point that SAIC Eleanor Williams (Edie Falco) makes when she gives The Mother an impossible choice. It also creates a strategy that you know the 12-years-later title card is coming and what that means for a now grown-up Zoe (Lucy Paez). Also, the lengths that The Mother will go to save her.
On the action front, we get a film full of very serviceable action scenes, all competently constructed but nothing revolutionary. An excellent example is the insertion into the compound in Cuba, where an army was surgically picked off with silenced weapons. You watch the flow of it, and it all works as long as you don’t think too hard about how no one bothers to raise the alarm. Also, many of the surprises are predictable, but they still pull them off, so good job to the stunt team all around.
I liked the rapport between Zoe and The Mother, especially in the film’s back half. It is a strength that Zoe is not written to be stupid like many characters in her position. Yes, she is still twelve, scared, and inexperienced, but she is also profoundly perceptive. Also, the issues she has come from her lack of experience or not being informed rather than being petulant. Jennifer Lopez and Lucy Paez play the heck out of those roles, and they help elevate some of the more lacklustre parts of the narrative.
Much like the action, I feel this is a narrative structure I have seen before. There are moments where they allude to some deeper issues. However, they never get beyond the surface level. For what we got, it also felt like it ran a little too long in places, dragging around the edges. For example, I don’t think the film justified their being two big bads given the scope they were working in, which is aggravated by some dialogue choices that are baffling at times.
In the end, do we recommend The Mother? Well, sort of. What we get is a serviceable but not very exciting action film. Strong acting and the bond between the two leads help in places, but you can feel that the narrative never reaches its full potential. If you liked The Mother, we would recommend to you Prey.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Mother
Directed by – Niki Caro
Screenplay by – Misha Green, Andrea Berloff & Peter Craig
Story by – Misha Green
Music by – Germaine Franco
Cinematography by – Ben Seresin
Edited by – David Coulson
Production/Distribution Companies – Nuyorican Productions, Vertigo Entertainment & Netflix
Starring – Jennifer Lopez, Lucy Paez, Omari Hardwick, Joseph Fiennes, Gael García Bernal, Paul Raci, Jesse Garcia, Yvonne Senat Jones, Edie Falco, Michael Karl Richards & Link Baker
Rating – Australia: MA15+;
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