Saturday, April 18, 2009


24 Season 10: Jack Bauer versus the demonic mirrors! More or less.

Ben Carson (Keifer Sutherland) is an ex-police detective suspended for accidentally shooting another cop (we guess – they never go that deep into it). It would seem this would be a major character development point, but the shooting incident is never directly dealt with, which is passing strange. While awaiting re-instatement, and estranged from his family, he takes a job as a night watchman at an old department store. Or rather, the remains of one, since it burned many years previously. This is a bad career choice, since we’ve already watched Ben’s predecessor cut his own throat with a piece of mirror. Still, he needs the job.

On his first night at work, he starts to notice weird things. The burned-out store is full of mirrors, and he begins to see things happening in the reflections of the mirrors that differ from reality. This, to me, is the best part of the movie, quite eerie, with a number of jump scares. We don’t know exactly what is going on, neither does Ben, but we are all feeling very creepy about it.

It turns out the mirrors, or whatever is in the mirror, wants Ben to find someone named Esseker. It’s given the same task to many before Ben, and those who haven’t found the mysterious Esseker have died as a result. One of the weak plot points is that Esseker isn’t really that hard to find. Jack Ben doesn’t even have to torture anyone. Like any good employer, the mirrors work to incentivize the workers, in this case by killing the family of the employees if they don’t achieve quick results. Even better than a 401(k), in this market.

In my opinion, the movie goes off the rails when it abandons the moody approach of the first part, and turns into an action, blow-shit-up spectacle at the end. I couldn’t explain precisely what was going on at the climax, and I doubt if anyone connected with the movie could, either. Keifer Sutherland isn’t bad in his role, but he is essentially playing Jack Bauer from 24 (my wife’s favorite TV show, so I’ve seen way too much of it), complete with fits of rage, and the tendency to shoot his gun at the drop of a hat. Sutherland is capable of more, so it’s a pity he didn’t choose to show a little more range here. The weakest link is actress Paula Patton, who plays Ben Carson’s wife. She is a beautiful woman, but her acting in this movie is terrible.

The movie was directed by Alexandre Aja, who directed the excellent Haute Tension, and the better than expectedly good Hills Have Eyes remake. It is an adaptation of a Korean film, Geoul Sokeuro.

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