short notes on The Equalizer 3
I went to see The Equalizer 3 by myself like a loser (just kidding! I love going to the movies alone, I’m a loser in other ways <3) and I was a little nervous. There was no one next to me so I had no arm to seize or bury my face in, no one to hear my brilliant commentary. (I just said it under my breath). I have to refresh my memory of the previous two films but I think this is the best one in the series. Don’t read this for a coherent review or plot summary. Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is in Italy this time and befriends the locals who are terrorized by the mafia. And naturally he rids them of the threat.
“Are you a good man or a bad man?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then you’re a good man. A bad man wouldn’t say that.”
(Not the exact quote but I have no way to confirm).
excessively violent thriller against a backdrop of stillness and quietude
unnerving tension, always anticipating a bolt of violence to shatter the silence
a lovely, quiet Italian village rent by cruelty and violence
so much Catholic imagery, especially of the Virgin Mary
how does a close-knit village of devout Catholics fight such evil attacks? they don’t retaliate; Jesus didn’t and preached nonviolence
as a lover of cinematic violence it’s something I struggle with, this command to turn the other cheek. I pray for peace and yet cheer on vicious fights. I wish I was physically strong. what if someone caught me off guard and tried fighting me and it’s on a day when my arthritis (spiritually I’m 80 years old) flares up and I can’t even ball my hands into fists??
I could not help but think of the controversy when ITZY released
Mafia in the Morningand how everyone kept saying all of Italy was against them
there are many jokes about the whole thing and one very famous tweet from a suspended account (and BAEKHYUN stan 😭) about how mafia isn’t an aesthetic. it gets circulated and mocked every three business days
I’ve always felt a little uncomfortable laughing at Italians who are upset about the glamorization of the mob and this discomfort was heightened watching the movie which is fictional I know but still
Denzel is strict and wouldn’t find it funny either btw
I really want to visit Italy especially the countryside, Denzel having himself a Roman Holiday ooh
Denzel’s bald head
Robert was in a silly goofy mood despite the movie’s fraught tone, Denzel is a natural comedian
Robert simultaneously won the idgaf war while caring very much
there is something elegant about this film. the methods used to kill and maim, by knife or gun. hard to watch but also pretty cool
I think some shots would be described as ‘obvious’ or unsubtle by critics like the straight line of blood on the St. Michael stained glass (in the mob boss’s mansion…? like I love the hypocrisy there but he doesn’t live in a church so what gives) which I thought was so beautiful
there’s a procession with a Virgin Mary statue very similar to one my Cape Verdean parish does every Mother’s Day. it’s a tradition most nonwhite & non-American cultures follow I think
anyway the procession happens at night and it’s all gold lighting up the black night, they pray the Hail Mary and I did too! lovely
during a confrontation Robert tells the mafia boss that he is starting to understand what peace is thanks to his new friends - he just wants to continue living a quiet life with them. all I could think of was Christian King’s impressions of him
as I jokingly(?) boo his newfound commitment to peace, I am reminded of this quote from The Third Man: “Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”
there is so much precision in the way Robert takes out each member of the mob. moving stealthily through darkness he catches them all off guard, slits their throats unseen, leaving their bodies strewn throughout the mansion for the boss to find. a brilliant sequence which also recalls the opening scenes
the boss is reduced to fearfully asking “Who are you?” but when he finds out it will not be quick or painless
Denzel’s performance is so simple, he’s not phoning it in but it’s not the most challenging role. of course there’s still depth to Robert, like his uncertainty about being good. he also just radiates calm. nothing makes him raise his voice or lash out in anger. whether using his hands or other weapons he just unleashes a storm of violence without betraying any emotion
and because Denzel can do anything this calm demeanor is never stiff or lifeless
if you have read this far I am blowing you a kiss. or am I throwing a knife at you in the dark? duck!!!