Pain & Gain

Pain & Gain ★★★½

One of the most aggressive and hypocritical looks at the American Dream I've ever seen. Its views on the themes are just as chaotic as the style of the film. Often times, it's really hard to make heads or tails of what the film is trying to say (with a few exceptions). Many ideas will start off by saying one thing, but end up contradicting itself later in the film. Which is what makes this film so fascinating. The fact that the morality of the film is so unclear really makes you question the intentions of the filmmakers. A specific example of this is how they show police, in one scene they're completely undermining the testimony of a victim, even threatening to arrest him; then by the end of the film they're shown to be the good guys who put the bad guys behind bars. You could downright even say that in terms of the style of the film. Arguably, glorifying these events. Yet that could also be a point the film is trying to make. It really is hard to say if Bay even gets his own film. The only two things I think this film shows in an explicitly bad way is its portal of women, and blatant homophobia.

Even if someone doesn’t think the style works for the film, the direction on its own is absolutely bonkers. Bays style here is almost like the biggest budget amateur film, which I don't mean as a bad thing. A lot of amateur filmmakers try and find every kind of experimental out of the box shot they can, and Bay has turned that way of thinking into a style of his own. Every chance, he keeps trying to find new and creative ways to film things, no matter how absurd they can be. This wild creativity is so incredibly unique, it's no wonder so many filmmakers respect him in the ways they do.

The only thing made completely clear from the get go, is the American Dream is a complete fucking lie. It's just the unattainable carrot on the end of the sting that capitalists use to perpetuate the idea that all you need to do is work hard to obtain this dream. No one will obtain it, and the only ones who have obtained it were the ones who already had the power.

Elaine liked these reviews