Tuesday 22 August 2023

REVIEW: The Engineer (2023) - Starring Emile Hirsch

Review by Jon Donnis
"The Engineer," an action thriller written by the talented Kostas Kondilopoulos and directed by Danny A. Abeckaser, thrusts its audience into the heart of the turbulent political landscape of the 1990s Middle East. This gripping film, driven by intense performances and a harrowing plot, paints a vivid portrait of relentless determination in the face of danger and desperation.

Emile Hirsch takes on the role of Etan, a rugged expat whose unwavering commitment to completing a ruthless mission is both admirable and unnerving. Teaming up with Israel's security agency, Etan's relentless pursuit of the elusive Engineer is portrayed well, with Hirsch capturing the character's inner turmoil and strained relationships with his superiors and comrades.

Angel Bonanni delivers a captivating performance as Avi, a seasoned hitman and interrogator driven by personal vengeance. His portrayal adds depth to the story, giving viewers a glimpse into his tragic background and the violent methods he employs. Avi's turbulent journey from the shadows of political manipulation to a quest for retribution is both gritty and emotionally charged.

The film's plot navigates the treacherous waters of the early 1990s peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine, where a series of suicide bombings threaten to derail the fragile progress. As Etan and Avi tread different paths to apprehend the mastermind behind the attacks, the film intensifies its grip, exploring the two men's distinct approaches to achieving their shared goal. The narrative weaves together the brutality of their methods with the broader political landscape, crafting a tense atmosphere that keeps viewers on edge.

Prospective viewers with an affinity for Middle Eastern political thrillers and true-story-inspired action films, such as "Zero Dark Thirty," are likely to find "The Engineer" a compelling watch. The film excels in painting a gritty picture of the morally ambiguous world of espionage, where the line between right and wrong is blurred by necessity.

However, the film isn't without its shortcomings. Some viewers might find themselves longing for more suspense, as the tension occasionally wavers due to pacing choices and plot developments. Additionally, while the majority of the film is meticulously paced and developed, the last 30 minutes feel rushed, potentially leaving audiences wanting for a more satisfying conclusion to such an intricately built narrative.

In the grand scheme of things, "The Engineer" earns a solid score of 6 out of 10. While it may not reach the pinnacle of the genre, it undoubtedly offers a riveting cinematic experience for those who appreciate the intricate dance between politics and covert operations, as well as the sacrifices made in the name of justice. With its visceral performances and an unapologetically brutal depiction of pursuit, "The Engineer" stands as a commendable addition to the action thriller genre.

Out Now on Digital at https://apple.co/3E8SHiU