Directed by Joe Lynch (Mayhem)
Written by Yale Hannon & Joe Lynch
Starring Salma Hayek, Hiroyuki Watanabe, Laura Cepeda, Akie Kotabe
Review by Jordan
“It’s infinitely more painful to remove a tattoo than it is to receive one”
Everly is the kind of movie that appeals to the mainstream almost in spite of its own ambitions.
A reckless action/exploitation, single-setting excuse for a barrage of bullets, helmed by a director carving out his own commendable though inaccessible niche, its arguably better than it had any predetermined right to be, and the reason for this is simple…
The veteran actress and icon of the ‘90’s, thanks to her work with Robert Rodriguez, isn’t exactly presented with her most well-written or complex character in Everly, but as she launches into a performance that rises from a shaky start into something of raw power and passion it’s clear that nobody told her that.
Taking every absurd plot development in her stride as the violent events escalate, and being equally adept with handguns, shotguns, katanas, mounted armour-piercing light machine guns and moments of heightened conflict and emotion (if you think these are normally unrelated, you’re right), Hayek reconfirms her action heroine credentials and flourishes in a movie that without her presence would’ve veered dangerously close to avoidable schlock. Though it’s true that some will still choose to avoid it, at least we can say it’s not because of lacklustre performances or strangely redeemable and wise incapacitated bad guys, but probably more due to the high body count and premise itself.
There is special kind of pleasure reserved for movies like this, boasting a strong protagonist to root for in the face of impossible odds; an enjoyment not reliant on the specifics of the plot and in need of only a serviceable villain. Keeping it simple and stylish, Everly improves with every slight narrative development, and as it’s titular character develops a will to live she commands all elements of the movie around her.
So, it’s no classic, but rather a high-octane, exhilarating and entertaining gem reminiscent of a time in cinema less cynical, that will make you want to immediately re-watch the El Mariachi trilogy in all its imaginative, outlandish action glory and take note of what director Joe Lynch does next, with the well-received Mayhem (2017) already proving Everly to be no fluke.
Did I mention Salma Hayek is good in this?