American Ultra

 

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Jesse Eisenberg stars as a pot-headed Jason Bourne in Nima Nourizadeh’s delicious black comedy.

 

American Ultra

So dope: Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart

  

One can picture Jesse Eisenberg as a stoner. He’s played his share of laidback, long-haired couch potatoes and was even a marijuana-dragging slacker in Ruben Fleischer's 30 Minutes or Less. But Mike Howell is no ordinary pothead. While he frequently suffers from panic attacks and forgets important stuff, he can get by when it counts. Like the time two gunmen confronted him in a parking lot: he killed the first one with a spoon. So who is Mike Howell? It’s a question he’d like an answer to, but first he needs another joint…

 

Mike Howell’s real talent – besides killing people – is as a cartoonist, a skill that reflects the tone of Nima Nourizadeh's film. While Mr Eisenberg and his co-star Kristen Stewart play it laudably straight, the supporting cast hams it up with unrestrained glee. This is Natural Born Killers with a sense of humour, with Eisenberg a pint-sized Jason Statham with hair. There are iconic moments as well, not least the most suspenseful marriage proposal in cinema history, along with a constant supply of fabulous stunts (honours go to stunt coordinator Robert Alonzo). While American Ultra may not be the funniest film of the year, it’s certainly bloody fun.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins, John Leguizamo, Bill Pullman, Tony Hale, Nash Edgerton.

 

Dir Nima Nourizadeh, Pro Anthony Bregman, Kevin Frakes, Raj Brinder Singh, David Alpert, Britton Rizzio and Aubrey Greenhill, Screenplay Max Landis, Ph Michael Bonvillain, Pro Des Richard Bridgland, Ed Bill Pankow and Andrew Marcus, Music Marcelo Zarvos, Costumes David C. Robinson.

 

The Bridge Finance Company/Circle of Confusion/Likely Story/Merced Media Partners/PalmStar Media Capital/PalmStar Entertainment/Tadmor Entertainment-Entertainment Film Dists.

95 mins. USA/Switzerland. 2015. Rel: 4 September 2015. Cert. 15.