Review: The Big Bang (2011)

WARNING: POST MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Synopsis from the IMDB: A private detective is hired to find a missing stripper but the job turns complicated when everyone he questions ends up dead. From the mean streets of Los Angeles to the desolate desert of New Mexico, Cruz must contend with a brutal Russian Boxer, three brash L.A.P.D. detectives, an aged billionaire looking for the Big Bang, and the billionaire’s stunningly gorgeous wife. The solution to the mystery will cost ten lives, net $30 million and just might explain, well, everything.

I came across this movie quite by accident a couple of nights ago and it wasn’t so much the synopsis as the cast list that drew me to it.

Antonio Banderas plays world-weary private eye Ned Cruz who’s hired by ex-boxer and convicted murderer Anton “The Pro” Protopov (played by ex-W.W.F. wrestler Robert Maillet) to find Lexie Parsimmon (Sienna Guillory), a stripper who was his pen pal while in prison and who have fallen in love with each other.

From this simple beginning the viewer is catapulted into a surreal and brightly coloured world as Cruz tries to complete this simple task, drawn to it by the photograph of the stunning Parsimmon. Along the way he encounters the aforementioned L.A.P.D. detectives (played to perfection by Thomas Kretschmann, William Fichtner and Delroy Lindo), Fay Newman (Autumn Reeser) a waitress at Planck’s Cafe who is something of an oracle, a porn producer named Puss (Snoop Dogg), a drummer named Drummer (Bill Duke), a failed actress named Zooey Wigner (Rebecca Mader) who makes money by playing patients in hospital to help new doctors diagnose illnesses and billionaire Simon Kestral (Sam Elliott) who has his own Hadron Collider.

Writer Erik Jendresen‘s script is fast paced with crisp and occasionally hilarious dialogue and director Tony Krantz has created a richly saturated visual feast for the eyes which is supplemented by Johnny Marr‘s haunting rock soundtrack.

As with all low-key movies, special effects are used sparingly which in turn means that the movie makers cannot rely on spectacle alone to carry the movie as was done with Avatar, the story line of which was simply Dances with Wolves transplanted to deep space.

Movies like this need to be tightly plotted with good characterisations and solid performances and The Big Bang delivers on all fronts, which is hardly surprising given the quality actors associated with the project. Over the years I’ve found myself increasingly drawn to these smaller independent movies as they frequently contain much more originality and are much more vibrant than their mainstream counterparts.

Highly recommended.

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