Man Down full movie review - One of the Most Enjoyable Movie Experiences...Ever
For me, this was all about the experience.
I just saw this tonight at the Toronto International Film Festival (with Shia LaBeouf and Kate Mara in the audience), in the lovely Roy Thomson Hall, and had absolutely no expectations going in. The premise sounded interesting (a marine returns from the Afghanistan war to post-apocalyptic America in search of his wife and son) , but in all honesty Shia was a bit of a red flag. The movie's I've seen him in have either been "meh" or not that good, and he usually gave mediocre performances in all of them. Plus, is he not crazy? Like, actually insane? Very sporadic dude to say the least.
After seeing this, I can confidently say I've never had my expectations shattered so hard before. This absolutely blew me out of the water in every way. The directing was brilliant, the supporting cast was spot on, but the real stars are screenwriter Adam Simon for coming up with such a unique and passionate idea, and Shia himself. This dude broke out of the image I had for him and gave a performance of a lifetime. It would be an absolute shame if it's not recognized in some way or another (whether that be awards or just general praise).
Now before you go see this, let me tell you that it really does take a while to get going. You may have mixed feelings at the beginning, and even partway into the middle, but once the credits roll and you leave the theatre, the experience you had will be unlike any other.
To conclude, I want to touch on experience again. Part of what made this so good for me was the experience (TIFF, watching it with Shia himself) but also the low expectations. In a way, a review takes away from the expectations. If you read this before watching Man Down, I only want you to take one thing away: it was good. That's it. Ignore all the praise I've just given it. It was good.
It was good.