Pain & Gain

Pain & Gain ★★★½

Is there a better encapsulation of Bay's entire filmography than the scene where Anthony Mackie is analyzing the complex engineering of a dildo and immediately followed by Tony Shalhoub saying he's in love with a younger woman?

Bay knows how to shoot and construct a scene - that's a given - but I think people still underrate just how maximalist his style is, at every opportunity that arises he will find a way to throw every crazy shit that he can find onto the scene, whether it be some absurd slow-mo sequence, oversaturated blood that somehow looks even redder than the blood from an Argento's Giallo, or a needle drop that is so fucking stupid it reverts back to being genius (I died when he played gangsta paradise in this). And maybe that's why this specific story seems like it was tailor-made for him, because is there really anything crazier than the American dream itself?

He's maybe one of the few filmmakers that could make a movie this vulgar and excessive works, effortlessly treading the line between endorsing what's on-screen and condemning it, that also contains a based-on-a-true-story plot that is so absurd that at one point he effectively stops the movie to remind the audience that "this is still a true story". And for a movie that is this vehemently critical of the American dream it's also frequently hilarious, the scene where they're endlessly trying and failing to kill Pepe ranks among Hollywood's most sadistically hysterical spectacles, and the court scene near the end is a laugh riot. Not sure why I love Wahlberg's performance so much and when he starts being racist and talks in a fake Hispanic accent it fucking dawned on me that he's literally just playing himself, that figures. Anyway I want to talk about this more but I need to pick up my vulgar auteurist's license guys brb

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