Reese Witherspoon gives a beautifully stripped-back performance in this epic journey based on the memoir by Cheryl Strayed. The title has a double meaning, as it follows this wild child through the Wild West in a quest to find her centre. This metaphor is as obvious as Cheryl's badly over-loaded backpack, but while the messages are unmistakable the filmmaking and acting are raw and natural. And the settings are spectacular.
After a chaotic patch of wanton living, seen in flashback, Cheryl (Witherspoon) sets off to hike a thousand miles along the Pacific Crest Trail, from Mexico to Canada. She has no idea what she's doing, but bravely goes for it, overcoming feelings of loneliness before getting to know some fellow hikers along the trail as she traverses deserts, mountains and forests amid sunshine, rain and snow. All of this gives her a chance to make sense of a variety of memories involving her mother (Laura Dern), her ex-husband (Thomas Sadoski), her younger brother (Keene McRae) and her best friend (Gaby Hoffmann). And there are plenty of issues that need to be sorted out.
The film is structured in a way that lets us learn about Cheryl's past gradually. Important facts and events are dribbled in throughout the hike, shaping Cheryl's physical odyssey into a journey of self-discovery, which is more than a little gimmicky. Especially when "telling" quotes are printed right across the screen. Thankfully, Nick Hornby's script and Jean-Marc Vallee's direction never moralise about her history of promiscuity and drug abuse. These things are not the problem: they are symptoms of what's wrong with Cheryl. And this gives the film a maturity lacking in most Hollywood-studio films that are happy to find easy explanations and solutions.
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Trician Helfer and Brian Van Holt - Celebrities attend NBCUniversal's 2014 Summer TCA Tour - Day 2 - Arrivals at THE Beverly Hilton Hotel. - Beverly Hills, California, United States - Monday 14th July 2014
When young Cheryl Strayed loses her beloved mother, her entire world seems to come crashing down around her. With her family members distancing themselves from each other in their mourning, she feels she has no-one left to turn to and starts taking heroin and indulging in promiscuous behaviour to comfort herself - if only temporarily. As expected, she and her husband soon divorce as her antics do not improve and she decides that she needs to find another outlet for her grief. Despite having had no previous experience, she decides to embark on a solitary journey across the Pacific Crest Trail; a 1,100 mile hike from California to Canada across brutal mountains and savagely dry desert. Has Cheryl made the biggest mistake of her life? Or will she finally be able to find peace with the world?
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Jimmy Bobo is a brutal hitman; the best of his kind, an expert in the convenient disposal of unwanted individuals. When his partner is killed in a ruthless attack by the formidable ex-mercenary Keegan, he vows to take him out but things get serious when he is approached by WDCPD detective Taylor Kwon who seeks his help to investigate the killer who has also murdered his colleague. Although reluctant and apprehensive at first, Jimmy accepts to work with him especially after his tattoo fanatic daughter Lisa is kidnapped by the enemy to lure him into the hands of Keegan who, not content with slaughtering Jimmy's partner, wants to kill him too.
This action thriller is based on the French graphic novel 'Du Plomb Dans La Tete' (which translates to the movie's title) by Alexis Nolent. Out of their usual main areas of filmmaking expertise, the movie has been directed by Walter Hill (producer of the 'Alien' film series and 'Prometheus') who co-wrote the screenplay with Alessandro Camon (co-producer of 'American Psycho' and executive producer of 'Bad Lieutenant'). 'Bullet To The Head' is sufficiently action packed, with a grand portion of humour thrown in there as Sylvester Stallone drops in the characteristic one-liners. It is set to be released on February 1st 2013.