ELEKTRA (Rob Bowman, 2005)
Jennifer Garner reprises her DAREDEVIL role as the eponymous red bustier-clad assassin in ELEKTRA. When she discovers that her latest high-paying job requires eliminating a father and his teenage daughter, Elektra balks and declines to carry out the hit. Along with her mentor Stick, played by Terence Stamp, Elektra protects them from the villainous organization called The Order of the Hand.
As a supporter of the much-maligned DAREDEVIL, a Jennifer Garner fan via ALIAS, and even a backer of director Rob Bowman’s stupid but enjoyable dragon movie REIGN OF FIRE, everything would seem to be in place for me to throw my recommendation behind ELEKTRA. I can’t do it because the film is an enormous mess, not the least of which is its failure to define all of the characters. Contrary to most comic book adaptations, ELEKTRA does not tell her origin story. It’s a novel and not inherently bad decision that could juice up a genre that usually follows a strict outline; however, ELEKTRA’S lack of structure plays like the filmmakers followed every idea scribbled in the screenplay’s margins. The film’s visual style alternates between hiding everything in murk, as if the production couldn’t afford enough lights, and casting scenes in a reddish-orange tone that looks as if the light was filtered through a can of tomato soup. ELEKTRA’S muddled story and formal unsightliness aren’t filmmaking tragedies of Greek proportions, just Hollywood’s latest casualty of concept over character.
(Review first aired on the January 18, 2005 NOW PLAYING)