It is difficult to know where Clive Owen’s loyalties lie in the war of art versus commerce. He’s acted in garbage like “King Arthur,” “Derailed,” and “Shoot ‘Em Up,” but on the other hand, he earned an Oscar nominated for 2004’s “Closer.” When Owen does collect a Jason Statham-sized paycheck, it is often while working for great directors, who would never consider hiring a guy like Statham: Alfonso Cuarón (“Children of Men”), Spike Lee (“Inside Man”) or Tom Twyker (“The International”—actually, Twyker would probably work with Statham), and when Owen actually does act in a Jason Statham movie (this year’s “Killer Elite”), he makes sure that Robert De Niro is there to help take the hit.
Can Clive Owen be blamed if no one wants to see “The Boys Are Back” or David Schimmer’s “Trust?” Is it okay to star in the upcoming “Intruders,” from that guy who directed “28 Weeks Later” and mull over a potential “Sin City” sequel? The question of whether or not we can trust Clive Owen will be put to the ultimate test with “Recall,” his upcoming action film, which begins shooting in March 2012. The presence of director Harold Becker, who has the distinction of unleashing John Travolta’s worst post-“Pulp Fiction” pre-“Old Dogs” performance on the world with 2001’ “Domestic Disturbance,” is perfectly/awfully complimented by a rather standard plot involving an “NSA agent trying to piece together the events of a botched hostage rescue operation. As the agent begins to recall events and unearth the truth, he finds he can trust neither his fellow soldiers nor his own men.”
The wild card—and shot at excellence—is Paul “I haven’t sold out since ‘Cat People’” Schrader (“The Exorcist” prequel doesn’t count because the studio shelved it) who wrote the film’s screenplay. Schrader always adds an element of authenticity to his work, and hopefully he will give Clive Owen another one for the “win” column with this one. Think the plot sounds too dumb for the Schrader touch? Keep in mind that on paper, “Taxi Driver” sounds like a bad Steven Segal movie, and “Raging Bull” could have just been a black & white “Rocky.” Owen should simply hire Schrader to write all of his action movies. That would solve everyone’s problems and force Criterion Collection to release a Paul Schrader Action Movie Box Set. [Variety]