First Hit: This film tries to be interesting and fails.
Using the politics of forced mining in the Congo as a backdrop, what the story is about is how a man slowly comes to grips with his killing past. What is unfortunate is that using this and his redemptive actions of drilling for clean water to make Terrier (Sean Penn) someone we care about failed.
I did not care one iota about Terrier’s self-redemption. Walking into the theater I expected to sit through a bunch of scenes of people shooting (and missing) at each other but for it to be so poorly done was disappointing. True to Penn’s own publicly pushed political stance – there are scenes where he’s the good guy, however, he’ll do anything to keep himself and his girlfriend Annie (Jasmine Trinca) alive and shooting people is what he resorts to doing. He continues to state that he's got no choice.
Javier Bardem, as Terrier's co-worker Felix, was a poorly created and acted character. He’s required to be extremely jealous and a drunk, and neither of these were done well. At least 3 times during the film, I was sat there thinking, I just wanted this movie to be over.
The best part of Penn’s performance was that he was in great physical shape but to have him smoking in so many scenes is downright stupid. His character didn’t need it. Trinca was OK and although she exemplified being a good person in love with someone who has a history of killing people for money, she rose above the stupidity of this film and delivered what she could. Bardem was a wasted talent in this role. Ray Winstone as Stanley, Terrier’s only true friend, was strong in his supporting role. He was the only bright light in this film. Don MacPherson wrote this mess and Pierre Morel did his best to shoot this film in an interesting way.
Overall: Poor story, poor acting, and lousy characters make for a waste of time.