Fans of incessant flashbacks and endless whooshing zooms into close-ups will find much to love about Assassin’s Bullet; less satisfied, alas, will be those with a fondness for lucid plotting, compelling intrigue, and credible performances. Director Isaac Florentine can’t go five minutes without indulging in a sudden, jarring jump back in time to the death of Vicky’s (Elika Portnoy) parents at the hands of a suicide bomber, a childhood tragedy that she continues to wrestle with as an adult on the couch of therapist Dr. Kahn (Timothy Spall) in Sofia, Bulgaria. Those memories are shot in overblown whites and depicted in a goofily fragmented manner that bluntly hints at Vicky’s close relationship to an assassin of “bad Muslim jihadists” being tracked by “exemplary” American federal agent Robert (Christian Slater), who’s still grieving over his dead wife. As Slater broods with over-the-top intensity, Donald Sutherland (playing Robert’s U.S. ambassador boss) sleepwalks through a role that only requires him to smile and occasionally twirl a coin around his fingers. Meanwhile, the eventual Manchurian Candidate–style revelations are telegraphed a mile away, and yet still manage to make no logical sense unless one simply assumes that the main characters are, in fact, literally blind.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 1, 2012