The contributions from Outposters are coming thick and fast now, and each one warms our bleak Outpost, our oasis of sanity in a world of Hollywood idiocy, a little bit more. This Retro Review of Wrath Of Man comes from a man, a myth, a legend of contributors – Wrenage.

In between writing his own books, and hanging out here sh*tposting with you fine folk, he manages to write Retro Reviews like a machine, too. Lets face it, every Outposter contribution is a piece of work I don’t have to do. So come on, let your ol’ buddy Stark have a break and grab a coffee by sending your contributions to [email protected] and blowing the minds of your fellow Outposters.

Now here is Wrenage.


Wrath Of Man

Every now and then a modern movie pushes my buttons. This rare and wonderful thing reminds me that good movies still exist.

The Last Movie Outpost reviewed Wrath of Man previously. I purchased a hardcopy this fall, and I’ve already watched it five times. I’ve seen reactions from numerous folks whose opinions I respect that were not overly impressed by Wrath of Man. That’s fine with me. Art is subjective and is put out there to be judged by individuals with different experiences. No one brings the exact same point of view to a movie, and no one takes the exact same things away.

Here’s my top takeaways from Wrath of Man:


Composer Christopher Benstead does not have a lot of composer credits, but he is establishing a foundation with Guy Ritchie flicks. Before Wrath of Man, he did The Gentleman, and he is the composer on the upcoming Operation Fortune.

Benstead’s Wrath of Man score is a melding of contemporary and classical. It’s a cross between Johann Johannsson’s work on Sicario and Howard Shore’s work on The Fly. It’s simple, but like Ravel’s Bolero, it evokes an ominous relentlessness with its repetition.

By the by, if you’ve never seen Allegro Non Troppo’s use of Bolero, YouTube it now!


Wrath of Man presents its story in somewhat non-linear fashion. Again, Ravel’s Bolero is an apt comparison. Wrath of Man goes back to revisit the same sequences and builds on them by revealing different points of view. This gives what could be a standard revenge-heist film a bit of elevation. The viewer gets information in carefully-measured doses, which keeps them on the hook.


Plot is not really the engine the drives Wrath of Man. Rather, motivation is what drives the movie. What characters do is less interesting than why they do it.

The time element also takes a subtle shift toward the end, in that characters are killed onscreen but still alive in flashback. This almost makes the past the present, even though the viewer doesn’t consciously notice such things. Whether this is deliberate or a happy accident, it works, as these characters are put on their present courses by their past experiences.


Jason Statham gets lumped into the wooden-action-hero category, but he brings more to the table than that, especially in the hands of Guy Ritchie. Statham is best described as an alpha everyman. Maybe it is the male-pattern baldness, but Statham is not so bigger-than-life that he is unrelatable. At the end of the day, Statham presents a personification of male action fantasy that is perhaps attainable by the common man if they decided to stop eating so many donuts and get off the couch. He also lacks classic leading-man looks, but the camera loves him anyway.

Wrath Of Man

Statham is exactly what he needs to be in Wrath of Man. He is simultaneously ruthless, mysterious and single-minded. Yet, glints of genuine pain are visible within. The viewer never once doubts that he isn’t sincere in his mission, and that sincerity sells the film.

The beauty of it is that this sincerity does not beat us over the head. Modern movies have forgotten how to let the viewer project their own emotions into the movie. Level 10 anguish and twisted expressions are now the norm and leave little room for audience participation. Watch Jaws and pay attention to how often Schieder, Dreyfuss and Shaw give Level 10 anguish and twisted expressions. Rarely, they are too busy being real, not drama queens.

Likewise, Statham does a lot with a little in Wrath of Man. In one scene he shifts very slightly before watching a video. Later on, we learn that slight shift was seismic in what it meant for him.


Dialogue in Guy Ritchie films pops. It does so in Wrath of Man, as well. It runs the gamut from jocular, to hard-boiled, to snappy exposition that doesn’t feel like exposition. The dialogue is a bit different from other Ritchie films, in that other Ritchie films often have an element of humor. No humor exists in Wrath of Man. The dialogue is more workmanlike, but it retains its snappiness and helps delineate the characters. They all have their own style.

“His name is H, like the bomb…”

Another exchange stood out to me, and I mention it because it fit perfectly within its moment of film and the characters involved.

“What’s in it for me?”

“Your life.”

The finality of that answer is fantastic. No negotiation existed for anyone. Everyone was locked on course and no quarter would be given.


Guy Ritchie is one of the best directors working today. He has his signature style down to a science, and his movies are like water falling on a stone. This is why I especially appreciate his work on Wrath of Man. If his name wasn’t in the credits, I wouldn’t have known it was a Ritchie film. He toned himself down and limited his style to best tell the story. It’s a deliberately-paced film and fairly meticulous in structure.

I admire its purity.

Despite this, Ritchie still has some nice moments in Wrath of Man. One shot that stood out to me was the lead bad guy saying goodbye to his family. For them, it was another busy morning. For him, it was maybe the last time he’d see them.

Instead of focusing on his face and giving the actor an all-about-me moment that stopped the film dead, Richie held on the actor’s back. This is appropriate, as the character had fully turned his back on being phased into a house-husband (which harkens back to earlier dialogue spoken by other characters). The slump of his shoulders is beast-of-burden in nature, for that’s what he is at the end of the day. He is a hard man that needs to do hard things and is lost in a soft existence.

If I was in charge of the next phase of Bond films, I would back the money truck up to Ritchie, Boyle and Nolan and tell them:

Give me your interpretation of Bond. Go nuts.”

I’d also get Dave Mustaine, James Hetfield and Alanis Morrisette to do one of the songs. Someone start a petition to put me in charge of James Bond, please. It would be bad form to do it myself.


The theme of Wrath of Man is justice. Its title is a play on the phrase Wrath of God. This is supported by a smattering of Biblical imagery in the opening credits. Plus, Statham is basically in a position of prayer in the poster. Balancing the scales seems to be an important part of Richie’s worldview.

An interesting video exists on YouTube that gives some insight into this. At one point, Richie and then-wife Madonna invited conservative Christian leader John MacArthur to their house to talk about these things. Ritche accused MacArthur of throwing off the “equilibrium of the universe” with his adherence to absolute truth within a Christian worldview.

But such things are beyond the scope of a movie review. Suffice it to say, Wrath of Man takes the notion of balancing the scales, or more directly, the Old Testament concept of an-eye-for-an-eye, and runs with it to a near-literal fulfillment.


Wrath of Man is stuffed with characters, but only a few get lost in the shuffle. For the most part, they all get a moment to establish themselves. Solid casting helps. Wrath of Man has a nice stable of supporting actors. Josh Hartnett, Jeffrey Donovan, Holt McCallany, Andy Garcia and Eddie Marsan are all familiar faces that nail their parts in the machine.

While Statham carries Wrath of Man, the movie has a surprise support MVP — son of legendary Clint Eastwood, Scott Eastwood. Eastwood does a man’s job in a villain role and makes one wonder what Clint could have done if he had played a bad guy a time or two.

Eastwood clearly relishes his turn as a slimeball. His performance is on the verge of moustache-twirling, but it never quite goes over the edge. Part of this is characterization. He is in a unit with a strong-leader, and that structure keeps his worst inclinations reined in. Again, whether that is by design or happy accident, it works within the film’s universe.

Typically, I don’t like villains that are too sympathetic, and Wrath of Man makes a point of establishing that the villains are not one-dimensional. A good chunk of the film is spent learning about how and why they went in the direction they did. Wrath of Man gets away with it because the unspoken conclusion is that even if these guys succeed, they won’t be satisfied. Their real problem isn’t a lack of money. By their own admission, their real problem is a lack of action.


For an action film, Wrath of Man doesn’t contain a lot of action. When the action does hit, it is decent, however. Wrath of Man reminds me of Inglorious Basterds in this regard. With Inglorious Basterds, the dialogue scenes were the action scenes. Long, drawn-out, tension-filled conversations kept audiences on the edges of their seats rather than flying bullets.

So it is with Wrath of Man. The action is seeing the motivation of the characters unfold. When the bullets fly, they are propelled by the will of the participants, not gunpowder.


It’s the first movie in the 2020s that I have watched multiple times. It is nothing original, but that doesn’t bother me. Only six basic plots exist, the same way only a certain number of notes exist on a piano. It’s all about how they are put together.

I, myself, borrow from other sources all the time. My novel, DogSS of War, wears its influences on its sleeve. If you enjoy my reviews, check it out right here.


Until we meet again, this is Wrenage, signing off…


Wrath of Man can! Check it out.

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