4 out of 5 (Very Good)
'Tower Heist' - Entertaining thriller-comedy
Satyen K. Bordoloi Sat, 05 Nov 2011
No matter what criticisms are levied on Hollywood, one good thing about it is that it often reflects reality around and is rooted to its own ideals and traditions. Hence, topical incidents find a reflection soon enough in its films, unlike Bollywood that is perennially free floating in a nonexistent hyperspace. Thus, its war produces war films and its recent economic depression, has well, produced depressing films. "Tower Heist" incidentally, is a funny film about this depression.
After realizing that all their money has been scammed by an investment banker who is under arrest and investigation, the workers of an expensive high-rise building where the banker resides, scheme to get back what is rightfully theirs. Since none of them is a professional thief, they hire one to train and assist them.
Though funnymen Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy helm this film, it is not entirely a comedy. The first half is funny, while in the second, it metamorphoses into a racy action thriller. The transition is seamless. And that is one of its strengths.
In terms of its social responsibility, though this one does not claim any, films like "Tower Heist" will go a long way in the cinematic exorcism of many of its nations evils. There are millions like the workers in the tower, whose entire life savings were wiped out by corporate greed that caused the recent economic depression. The film will perhaps provide a much needed catharsis to those who have been denied the same by real life.
And to provide audiences with that feel good factor, it creates a villain that is recognized by those affected. In reality however, the corporate systems created a structure, where no one person was responsible for losing billions. When everyone is responsible, who do you blame? Reality, sadly, will not replicate this film.
"Tower Heist" thus provides a very real entertainment and fantasy-exorcism to its audience, even to those sitting in India and not as effected by depression as Americans. In creating a super villain whose villainy is not obvious but is internal, it challenges our poor, average protagonists who are just the opposite - they are visibly honest with their inner emotions. It thus becomes a supremely satisfying fantasy to see our heroes rise up to the occasion and pull off an impossible heist against a man who's an expert hand at this.
The pairing of opposites Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy, works for the film. The casting of the other characters, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck and Gabourey Sidibe is also spot on. Since it's a film with many characters, to do this casting correctly was obviously very important.
"Tower Heist" may not be like a typical laugh-riot or your summer blockbuster. Yet in mixing genres, good performances, and a steady pace, it manages to deliver good humour, thrill and a good-natured, sweet vengeance.
Critic: Satyen K. Bordoloi
4 out of 5 (Very Good)