' ' Cinema Romantico: The Bricklayer

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Bricklayer

“This type of scandal could destroy the U.S.!” This is the resplendent line of exposition some nameless journalist exclaims as Renny Harlin’s “The Bricklayer” begins, suggesting not just a rollicking good time but a modern conspiracy thriller in so much as the scheme to which the nameless journalist refers involves many of her own being killed in such a way to make it appear as if the CIA is responsible. Alas, neither really proves true. The tantalizing angle of present-day palace intrigue proves merely an engine for the plot, never explored in an interesting, forget about meaningful, way, and though in playing the eponymous Bricklayer, Steve Vail, a one-time Central Intelligence go-between for the Greek and Russian mafia, Aaron Eckhart wears a perpetual smirk, what ensues isn’t much fun. When Vail literally drives through a brick wall during a car chase, “The Bricklayer” doesn’t recognize the irony, allowing the punchline to sail right over its own head. No, Harlin’s movie is as by the book as Vail’s CIA babysitter Kate Bannon (Nina Dobrev) as evinced in how the director dutifully though unexcitedly lays every action movie brick, moving from a rooftop in the rain to a neon club to a dark apartment to a café. The fight in the neon club left less of a mark, in fact, than the song that played during it. By Victoria Celestine. I looked it up after. It’s good. I’ve been enjoying it. 

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