peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2024 04 06 KnoxGoesAway

Knox Goes Away (2023)

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Boomer Memento. Michael Keaton directed, produced, starred. It's not Birdman but I'll grudgingly admit that it has a few moments. The plot has Keaton's aging assassin suspect his once-prime dual-PhD'd brain of degeneracy but he needs to do one last job before he can retire. (It is briefly and dutifully suggested he's actually cleaning the gene pool on Al Pacino's commissions but the morality is unnuanced and irrelevant.) Whatever those plans were are immediately derailed by family issues embodied in son James Marsden and grandsprog Morgan Bastin. Perhaps Keaton was trying to suggest a path to redemption for his demographic cohort.

I did not enjoy Suzy Nakamura's performance as a police detective or any of the police procedural stuff; it is entirely pro forma, very cliched, and she just ejaculates her lines, pretending to be clueful or clueless as the plot requires while the boys junior to her steal her thunder. Pacino has some fun in his minor and mostly inert role; there's a cute scene at the end where he slow dances with his entirely age-inappropriate squeeze Sasha Neboga in what might be a homage to Scent of a Woman. She's a ballet teacher. I wish they'd fleshed her character out — she's shown as solid and it is implied she has her reasons for doing what she does — but this is a sausagefest where all the men take solace in generic Eastern European women having rejected or been rejected by the local ones.

Jeannette Catsoulis's Critic's Pick sold it to me. Robert Daniels was far less impressed. Brian Tallerico at TIFF 2023: frustrating. "Keaton is such a stoic performer, a phenomenal actor whose low-key energy can sometimes be deployed to great impact by the right filmmakers. Interestingly, I don't think Keaton the Director knows how to direct Keaton the Actor."