09th Aug2015

‘Everly’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Salma Hayek, Hiroyuki Watanabe, Laura Cepeda, Togo Igawa, Akie Kotabe, Gabriella Wright, Caroline Chikezie, Jennifer Blanc, Jelena Gavrilovic, Aisha Ayamah, Masashi Fujimoto | Written by Yale Hannon | Directed by Joe Lynch

everly

When Everly (Hayek) betrays her sadistic mob boss Taiko (Watanabe), he sends a group of his most brutal men to torture and kill her. When she manages to get the upper hand and survives, she finds herself trapped in the apartment awaiting the next attempt on her life.

It’s a brave move to set a movie in an apartment which is basically one room, and not allow the main actor to leave it.  There are a few cheats to make the world of Everly feel that bit more bigger, though claustrophobic but for the most part, this is about a strategic war in an apartment. While the action is thick and fast though, Everly is also about being a mother, and what she will do to protect her child from the life she found herself trapped in.

Hayek is able to bring a subtlety into a film which wants to be all about violence, making the audience buy into her relationship with her, fighting to stay alive until she knows that she will be safe.

Giving this paternal need to protect her young adds an element to the action, it adds fire to Everly and an almost primal protective instinct. Adding to Hayek’s performance, there are also plenty of homages and references to some of the best action movies, though again not the typical “Hollywood” ones. An example of this would be my favourite part, which may not be a reference to Ichi the Killer, but it definitely fits Takashi Miike’s style, and relates to the themes of that movie. I won’t spoil it though, I’ll just say to watch out for Mr. Sadist and you’ll know when the scene arrives.

This is the strength of Everly is, writer Yale Hannon and director Joe Lynch are obviously fans of the genre and know what references to use to get a rise out of the people watching. They also add a pitch black sense of humour to the movie too.

At some points Everly feels like The Raid, there are obvious references to Asian action movies and there is a feel that the makers of the film are going all out to create something different for the typical generic action film. While I wouldn’t say that they manage to pull off something as brilliant as The Raid, what they do create is something that you don’t always expect from an American action film.

In a way, Everly in its basic form is like a computer game. The foes at the start of the film are easy to pick off, though still a danger if you are not prepared. As the film progresses the enemies become more of a challenge and even reach the level of being mini-bosses before the main final boss finally appears. Then the layers of character development are added, the theme of parental love and obsession and you have a very successful mix that becomes Everly.

I will say that some fans of action may see Everly as being a little too much. In the first few minutes of the film we experience a brutal attack without even seeing it. It is uncomfortable to experience and in truth we are only hearing it, but it perfectly shapes our understanding of why Everly does what she does. As the film progresses we also see levels of violence that can be disturbing, but should brutality not be uncomfortable to watch sometimes?

Darkly funny, very violent and often surprisingly thought-provoking Everly is a surprisingly different action film that the usual Hollywood “blockbuster” we are usually inundated with these days. This is why it is worthy of your time. If you are a fan of action, or even just a fan of Joe Lynch’s previous movies, make sure you watch Everly watched, you may just find you enjoy it as much as I did.

**** 4/5

Everly is released in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray from Monday August 10th.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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