Mile 22 is like a violent Chekhovian short story: it gives the reader a description of the characters—but not much more—and lets the action speak for itself.
Mile 22 is a fast-moving action thriller, a ride of 94 minutes; intense, thrilling, captivating.
Director Peter Berg’s style brings the viewer close to the skin of the characters. He employs the in-your-face-wide shot in most scenes.
Multiple cameras follow the actors. “Action!” speaks louder than “Cut!” The camera angles change rapidly and swiftly, proving that Berg has been working hard in the cutting room to give the film a rhythm and feel of his liking.
The lead of the film is played by Mark Wahlberg, who portrays James “Jimmy” Silva, the senior officer of an elite team of operators in a special CIA division—experts who specialize in all manner of conventional and unconventional warfare.
Silva speaks fast. But it’s told that his mind works faster than his mouth. In result, we have the fast-speaking Wahlberg in his prime. (His other portrayals of turbo-mouth characters include Dignam in the multi-Oscar Scorcese flick The Departed (2006) and, perhaps, the best example: Tommy Corn in I Heart Huckabees (2004).
Surprisingly, in preparation for the role, Berg asked Wahlberg to watch speeches of Donald Trump’s ex-chief strategist, Steve Bannon. “We don’t have to like Steve Bannon,” Wahlberg said previously. “But the way he speaks and how committed he is to his beliefs, that’s something Pete wanted me to look at.”
Wahlberg’s well-acted character is supported by other action guys and women, such as Iko Uwais (Li Noor) (The Raid: Redemption, The Raid 2) and Ronda Rousey (Sam Snow)—former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion.
Lauren Cohan’s character, Alice Kerr, (The Boy (2016), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 2016), brings balance to the mix, someone who Silva likes to talk to. Usually slower.
John Malkovich, on the other hand, brings his experience of 70 films as cold as ice character, Bishop.
Berg and Wahlberg are like brothers in real life and have previously collaborated in three films based on true stories: Lone Survivor (2013), Deepwater Horizon (2016), Patriots Day (2016).
They are serious films with keen attention to detail and a lot of research behind them. Mile 22, in contrast, according to Wahlberg was “something where we could go off and do our own thing.” “We wanted to do something that was our version of having a good time,” he said.
This is very well transmitted to the audience as well.
Mile 22 is indeed a gem in its own genre.
‘Mile 22’ in cinemas now.
Picture on the cover: Ronda Rousey as Sam Snow. Picture: © 2018 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved