An Ordinary Man
A mutual respect grows between them.
That's about it. Instead, everything is written in shorthand, with symbols standing in for characterization and plot.
Film Review: ‘An Ordinary Man’
Only a film this structurally empty could begin with a spy movie-style escape and end with a road trip that plays like a demented rom-com between a man and a woman who begrudgingly realize that the other person has feelings, too. The war criminal in question, listed only as The General in the credits, is played by Sir Ben Kingsley. He is the last of the men responsible for genocide in the former Yugoslavia.
His atrocities are supposedly legendary, which makes him a target for international forces who wish to capture him and bring him to justice.
His life is spent on the run, moved from place to place by an exasperated former agent of the state named Milo Peter Serafinowicz. They had to ditch the old hideout and many others before that because the General has a penchant for appearing in plain sight whenever the mood strikes him.
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If the former maid has a key, maybe the CIA does too. He pulls a gun on Tanja, makes her strip to her skivvies and then demands she take a shower. No matter.
Tanja emerges from the bath in all her glory so that the General and the audience can have a good look. Tanja is a terrible maid.
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Writer-director Brad Silberling's recent-history what-if imagines a former general — Kingsley's character is never given a name — as a fugitive protected in safehouses by a network of supporters, but who tests his freedom on the streets of Belgrade whenever he can to the dismay of his key handler Peter Serafinowicz. It becomes a two-hander when a young maid Hera Hilmar appears and the general treats her by turns as a servant, comrade, daughter, lifeline to the outside world and, eventually, confidante.
The location shooting in Serbia has an evocative ghostliness, but it's a one-note coloring that ignores any sense of a culture wracked by war but forging ahead. Kingsley is certainly committed to the arc of tough guy stripped bare, but his gifts aren't served well by an artificially studious attempt at applying Understanding logic to a perpetrator of atrocities.
Ben Kingsley to play war criminal in upcoming thriller An Ordinary Man
Skip to content. Rating: R, for language, some nudity and brief violence. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.