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Max Payne


Year: 2008 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by John Moore 
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Beau Bridges and Olga Kurylenko.  
An image from Max Payne

Max Payne is a cop on the brink, mad with grief for his murdered wife and child. After seven years investigating their murder, Payne realises that the only way to get revenge is to go deep into New York’s claustrophobic, drug-fuelled underworld to seek out those responsible, and find the source of the mysterious drug ‘Valkyr’.

Hollywood has a patchy history with videogame adaptations, and like any other example “Max Payne” has its faults. What was a perfectly suited plot for a run-and-gun whirlwind tour of New York’s basements, side streets and rooftops looks a little thin on celluloid, but this is easily made up for the noir-drenched visuals and horror show aesthetics of Max’s world. Bodies, bullets and one liners flow in equal measure, and Wahlberg’s tormented Max is a caricature of a man driven to the edge by forces he can’t control. The places he inhabits – crack dens, abandoned buildings, grimy nightclubs – have an all pervading, nightmarish feel. There are elements of the supernatural (drug induced visions of flaming skies and charging valkyries) and legions of drug-addled junkies for Max to battle through as he searches for the real villain behind his family’s murder – a big, evil corporation, naturally.

“Max Payne” couldn’t be described as art cinema, but it’s a triumph of bang, buck and super slow-mo gunfights over substance. It’s an enjoyable ride through the seedy underworld of a New York where it’s always midnight, always raining and there’s a junkie with a shotgun around every corner.

Marcus Kelly

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Screenings of this film:

2008/2009 Spring Term (35mm)
2008/2009 Spring Term (35mm)