WANK OR WATCH | Havoc
Anne Hathaway was almost twenty-two when her second appearance as Mia Thermopolis in the Princcess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement hit UK screens. Now, while she was playing a twenty-one year-old in that film, it was obviously a children’s movie. Her only other major cinematic roles at that point had been Ella Enchanted and the first Princess Diary film and that was all I knew her for despite having seen Nicholas Nickleby in which she also appears. I had written her off, assuming that she would suckle on the Disney teat until she disappeared into obscurity and I would only ever see her face in supermarket bargain bins years later.
And then, one year later, she played the topless card twice and suddenly the world took her seriously as an adult. The first of these came in Havoc, a film centering on a gang of white upper-middle class teenagers who adopt a faux-gangsta lifestyle seemingly due to feeling unconnected to their families and heavily influenced by the music that they listen to. This film could and probably should have been amazing. Not only does the cast-list include two youngsters who have become legitimate stars in Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum in addition to Hathaway, the supporting cast have some excellent credits to their names and this was also written by Stephen Gaghan who won an Oscar for Traffic and was the first fictional film from Barbara Kopple who has two Best Documentary Oscars to her name. It is this team behind the scenes that disappoints me most, as Gaghan has shown that he can write gritty and Kopple has worked exclusively with reality previously. Unfortunately, neither of these things show.
What we end up with is a bunch of white kids embarrassingly talking like rappers, the guys being too dumb to notice the distinction between fighting other faux-gangs and fighting actual gangs, and girls being taught an archaic lesson about interacting with bad boys. The whole thing, on almost every level, feels cringe-inducing and, while Hathaway shows in her vulnerable moments that she was ready to make that transition into more mature roles, Gordon-Levitt’s incessant Snoop Dogg impression is reason enough to skip this.
This is an uncomfortable watch and not for praise-worthy reasons.
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