Some of you may have seen the understated adverts for Collateral Beauty during its release in 2016. I remember seeing them and thinking, its just another of those feel good comedy films thats not really that special, why should I watch this one? Consequently, I didn’t watch the film. See what I mean here:
Having recently seen this appear on streaming services I thought, what have I got to lose except the 93 mins run time it has and, to be honest, I can even do something while watching if it is that bad.
Well, how wrong I was! I am genuinely glad I watched this film and found myself hooked by the end. I strongly recommend it, especially if you liked films like Seven Pounds, also featuring Will Smith.
Don’t get me wrong the start of this film leaves you with a lot of questions and not a lot of answers. The key character, Howard Inlet played by Will Smith, is so aloof I even found myself questioning if he was indeed the lead character. Surrounded by a bumper crop of great actors and actresses such as Helen Mirren, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, Kate Winslet, Naomie Harris, Michael Pena and Jacob Latimore, you worry that this is a film that will either deliver in spades or not at all and unfortunately the start makes you feel the latter is about to happen.
However, if you stick with this film until around two thirds through you will start to realise that everything that has happened is a mixture of great storytelling and script writing by Allan Loeb and fantastic acting choices, notably by Naomie Harris, Kate Winslet and Will Smith who I personally think delivers one of his finest acting performances ever. Knowing that this story was incredibly close to Will Smith due to the passing of his father and realising how much risk he took on in doing this role at such an emotionally vulnerable time simply heightens the respect I have for an already huge role model for me. What this also brings to the film is a level of depth in his character that at times I am sure is nothing short of actually real.
One of the great things that stood this film apart for me by the end was the sheer level of depth that the characters had. Discovering this depth was a charm rather than being instantly revealed. It was discovered in small drips and drabs which created a completely believable reality that the actors really brought you into with their performances of these unique individuals. So refreshing not to be spoon fed the characters histories in the first 5 minutes in a poor attempt to make them appear deep.
By the end of the film I was hooked and bordering on being an emotional wreck. Yes, real men cry too. There were genuine points where I had no idea what characters were going to do and I was riveted to the screen without a thought of doing anything else. Theodore Shapiro creates a unique and hugely haunting soundtrack that complements the tough, gritty moments on screen and simply heightens the emotional connection with the film. Even as a stand-alone album, the soundtrack is great to listen to.
So, should you watch this film? If you do, stick with it to the end. There will be those that simply don’t enjoy this genre and type of film, simply check rotten tomatoes to prove this and I have no problem with people feeling that way, I won’t force you to watch something that doesn’t appeal. Although I will say, this film is not your average, its clever, deep and carries some great emotional layers and storytelling that I think if you are prepared to go with it, you will be pleasantly surprised.
I look forward to watching this again and it is definitely firmly found its place in my Bluray cabinet. Please don’t let the scores on review sites and the adverts put you off.