Mortdecai, 2015, US/UK

By Ryan Javier

The new film starring Johnny Depp is a very tame, light-hearted and easy to swallow comedy/murder-mystery.  Lord Mortdecai (Depp), British nobleman and art enthusiast, is tasked by Mi5’s inspectors with recovering a priceless painting.

A renowned restorer of masterpieces of art has been found dead, the painting in which she was last working on is missing and the police are clueless. As the only option to turn to, lead Inspector Martland, portrayed by Ewan McGregor, reluctantly enlists the assistance of Lord Mortdecai. Bumbling yet suave, the naive and often inebriated Mortdecai is an English gentleman who straddles on the line between legal and illegal art world. Owing 8 million pounds in overdue taxes and on the brink of bankruptcy, Mortdecai agrees to help in exchange for some much needed tax relief from the government.

While the police concentrate on the murder, Mortdecai and his faithful man-servant, Jock (Paul Bettany) begin the daunting task of tracking down the missing painting. With Mortdecai running around town, his childhood rival Martland sees this as the perfect opportunity to put the moves on Mortdecai’s wife, played by Gwyneth Paltrow.

I simply loved this film. Mortdecai is a hilarious movie filled with classically styled one-liners and packed with enough thrills, twists, turns and double-crosses to appease even the most discerning viewer. The film flows so perfectly and smoothly, even the least perspicacious audience member can follow with the greatest of ease.  Moving at an incredible pace, Mortdecai traverses contrasting locations within several countries as we follow the characters on their adventure. Everywhere he turns, Mortdecai is faced with obstacles such as cruel gangsters, determined terrorists and shady art dealers, all the while attempting to prevent his wife from being unfaithful.

Compiled upon themes and elements that harken back the comedy capers of Peter Sellers and Chevy Chase, watching Mortdecai is like stepping through a time warp. They simply do not make movies like this these days. Mortdecai is Rated R, however I feel that even as an “R Film”, Mortdecai is so soft and is so nearly harmless that it would be great for a family movie night for parents with mature teens. Often so much of what I see is too independent, too foreign, and/or too violent for younger people, so it’s quite refreshing to be able to recommend a film to a broader audience. Mortdecai will be released in the US on DVD/BluRay on May 12, 2015.



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