previously admired – if not exactly enjoyed – Paul
Hills’ films The Frontline and Boston
Kickout, so this pan-European thriller had a lot of promise.
Unfortunately, it all falls apart very quickly.
Dougray Scott is Russian hitman Andrei, who is hired to take out
an informant who is about to spill the beans on criminal activity
to the police. When artist Rick (Andrew Lee Potts) witnesses the
shooting, he too is killed – but then Andrei attends his
just-opened art show and through an unlikely contrivance, meets
his sister Paula (Laura Elena Harring), and the pair fall in love.
This leads to a great deal of tedium for much of the running time
as the couple become closer, cop Jurgen Procnow investigates and
Andrei tries to leave his former life behind, only to be drawn
back in by his mysterious employers.
Going nowhere slowly, The Poet is a remarkably
dull and uninvolving film. The love affair between the two leads
in entirely unconvincing, and isn’t helped by the fact that
the cast give mostly flat performances, struggling with unwieldy
and ham-fisted dialogue, where exposition and motivation are painfully
spelled out for the audience. Harring is stunningly beautiful,
but has all the personality of a cabbage, and Scott seems equally
flat – the idea that either of these people could engage
in a passionate affair seems ludicrous. Procnow, meanwhile, has
very little to do.
There are some visually impressive moments, admittedly –
some lovely scenery, a dramatic murder in a nightclub, a mildly
kinky sex scene – but for the most part, this is a whole
lot of nothing happening, slowly. A depressing failure.
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