Sunday, June 12, 2005

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

I saw this movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith Friday night. It was fun. It was everything it had been advertised to be, a slick action film with stunningly beautiful co-stars, but it was a bit more then that as well. The film was structured as a comment on marriage, particularly a marriage on the rocks. Assassination was presented as a metaphor for infidelity. This was done in some transparent ways—Mr. Smith takes off his wedding ring when he goes out to kill someone and puts it on when he gets home; Mrs. Smith dresses up in a sexy outfit underneath a raincoat and sneaks out to rendezvous with her victim in a hotel; typically, the both almost get caught by one another. But it is also done in some subtle ways as well. In one great exchange, once they’ve begun being honest with one another, Mr. Smith asks “how many.” Mrs. Smith tells him to go first and he says something like “I don’t really keep count, but, fifty or sixty,” to which she quickly responds, “Three hundred and Twelve.” Of course, he repeats incredulously “THREE HUNDRED AND TWELVE?!” At no point do they specify what they are talking about. It is assumed that they are talking about the number of murders they have committed, and this is how it is portrayed, but that same conversation could be about the number of people they’ve each slept with (I’m reminded of the cry “Fifty-seven?!” from Kevin Smith’s Clerks). What makes this movie special is that it could be about anybody. In fact, it is possible to see this whole films, which begins and ends in a marriage counselor’s office, as an elaborate fantasy they’ve concocted to spice up their marriage (don’t laugh: this theory is given a bit of credence by the fact that at one point a person Brad Pitt is interrogating is wearing a “Fight Club” t-shirt--fight club was, aftr all, a big fantasy created by the main character to spice up his life). This universality makes a pretty enjoyable little action flick into a hilarious and very interesting film. Check it out.


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