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  Everly Back In The Room
Year: 2014
Director: Joe Lynch
Stars: Salma Hayek, Hiroyuki Watanabe, Laura Cepeda, Togo Igawa, Akie Kotabe, Gabriella Wright, Caroline Chikezie, Jennifer Blanc, Jelena Gavrilovic, Aisha Ayama, Masashi Fujimoto, Uros Certic, Damijan Oklopdzic, Dragana Atlija, James Owen
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Everly (Salma Hayek) bursts naked into the bathroom of this apartment and locks the door, then stumbles across the floor to the toilet. Lifting the lid on the cistern, she takes out a plastic bag containing a phone and a gun; she rings a number on the former but can only reach the detective’s answer message, and when she tries her estranged mother Edith (Laura Cepeda) she’s not available either, though it’s imperative Everly gets through. By this time there is hammering at the door, and the gun comes into play, so putting something on she points it at the men who smash through and shoots them dead, then rushes into the lounge to finish off the other gangsters. So far so good, but how will she escape now?

In light of the fact Everly was more or less a single location movie, you could observe that she didn’t really, and indeed everyone else came to her to keep the plot hammering away. This was the brainchild of director Joe Lynch, who wanted to helm a story with deliberately restricted space for his characters to inhabit, and if it didn’t take the situation to extremes as something like Buried may have done, it did nevertheless stick with its central premise. That meant staying in the lounge as much as possible, though there were occasional excursions into that bathroom and the hallway outside, as well as a one-off drop in to one of the other apartments on the same floor, which if you were a purist you might wish they had worked around instead.

Therefore aside from those distractions, you had Everly having the action brought to her rather than heading off to seek adventure. Some compared it to Kill Bill, apparently because it was very violent and had a female action role for Hayek to inhabit, but that was pretty superficial, what it looked more like was a straight to DVD flick that somehow managed to coax a big star to headline its shenanigans, and she did tend to exacerbate the problems that might bring, what with the perfunctory dialogue relying on swearing for edginess not especially something she could spin gold from. Having appeared in action movies before, however, she succeeded in pulling off the moments when she had to stop talking and start shooting.

The plot was filled in as it went along, starting cold and allowing the audience to catch up with every snippet of information drip fed over the course of the ninety minutes or so, but even so it was not exactly complex nor difficult to follow. As Salma was well into her forties by now, she was playing a mother who in the circumstances proved herself to be the requisite badass when faced with saving her daughter from being prostituted by the evil gangsters who want to avenge themselves on her for causing them so much trouble when she tried to shop them to the cops, although another reason for Hayek’s casting appeared to be to demonstrate the great shape she was in, as if she were a woman half her age.

Nevertheless, take that purpose away and you had a somewhat sadistic experience, to the point that Lynch included a character called The Sadist (Togo Igawa) who was purely around to torture Everly with threats of disfiguring her, which didn’t make for the most pleasurable viewing, even if as you could predict she escaped his clutches to fight another day – or another few minutes before the next obstacle presented itself, at any rate. With such complications as the Mr Big (Hiroyuki Watanabe) putting a price on her head to ensure there were other people out to bump off our heroine before the grand finale, this may have been desperately basic stuff, yet it remained strangely compelling, perhaps thanks to the presence of Hayek who sold what was simple, simple-minded even, revenge fantasies for the undiscriminating punter. By the close, it came across as more an excuse to litter the screen with bodies, both injured and dead, with Everly triumphant, an empowering gesture that was more gimmick than serious contribution. Music by Bear McCreary.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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