Movie Report: Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005)

Book coverOld movies had Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn or Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr or Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. The (early) 21st century had this film bring together two attractive and popular stars–Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie–for what they might have hoped would be similar chemistry. I guess it kind of worked–this film broke up Brad Pitt’s first marriage and led to his relationship and eventual marriage to Jolie (which also ended in ongoing acrimony).

Pitt plays John Smith, an assassin for a government agency of some sort, who has a cover of a construction engineer who has to travel to various projects. Jolie plays an assassin for a different agency whom he marries after meeting her in Bogotá after one of them–or both, or neither–has done a job (the flashback is ambiguous). Five or six years into their marriage, they’ve settled into a routine that has led them to counseling (the counseling bit is a frame story that begins and ends the movie). They’re both tasked by their agencies to take out a prisoner during some sort of exchange, and each approaches the job in their own way. Mrs. Smith has a tech trap set up, and Mr. Smith comes at it from a more hands-on approach. But they interfere with each other’s attempt and vow to eliminate their rival–only to eventually discover it’s the spouse. So they come together to grab the prisoner from a super-secure facility and discover that he’s bait in trying to get the Smiths to kill each other which leads to a shoot-em-up climax and finis!

I guess Pitt and Jolie might have some chemistry here, but it’s not developed as in an old movie. This is an actioner, so it’s a series of set pieces with practical effects and it looks to be some wire work. So it doesn’t look quite as video-gamey as today’s fare but is does employ on some video-gamey camera work. One wonders if what it would look like if made today–probably Mr. Smith would be a punchline and not an equal to his wife, although when they have a long hand-to-hand combat sequence that destroys their house, Mrs. Smith equals her husband already for drama’s sake which is, erm, stylized? Idealized? A physical confrontation like that would only take place in a movie. In real life, it would be a lot shorter and likely less favorably for Mrs. Smith.

At any rate, not a bad film. A product of its time. Which is a bit now, but mostly then.

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