Blackhat Review and Blu-ray Features
15 Jan 2015
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
The title “Blackhat” refers to the term that describes a villain (named after the practice of villains in Westerns wearing black hats). In hacking, a black hat hacker will commit cyber-crimes for maliciousness or for personal gain.
Terrible bad guy
When the main bad guy turned up I couldn’t hear what he was, he was talking too fast.
I guess it was Mann’s choice (and/or his screenwriter) that the main bad guy was a nobody, like a sloppy tourist…it was quite ironic (and sad) at the end, all these deaths and disasters for MONEY, greed.
The film’s plot was inspired by the Stuxnet’s case, a computer worm designed to attack industrial programmable logic controllers. Discovered in 2010, Stuxnet ruined almost one-fifth of Iran’s nuclear facilities and its origin couldn’t be officially identified.
The much maligned love story
Everybody’s complained about this but I thought I’d point out:
1) Hathaway’s been in prison how many years and presumably hasn’t touched a woman all that time. I would assume no conjugal visits because he apparently doesn’t have anyone.
2)Chen Lien tells him he looks different than his pictures which implies she may have had some fixation/fascination with him before they even met.
Couple these circumstances with the fact that they just escaped from death together (a rather intimate experience full of adrenaline ) and it’s a little easier to buy a romance developing. Mann is a subtle director and you have to read between the lines with a lot of his stuff. This is a flawed film, however. It seems like Mann is experimenting with how much he can go without explaining. He’s actually been doing that for years-throwing the viewer into a situation without setup like “a day in the life” approach.
I thought the love story was one of the best things in the film.
Tang Wei was very good and it was rather subtly handled, mostly focussing on early gestures, glances, etc the taxi ride, airport scene.
I like how their relationship becomes stronger and stronger BECAUSE of the surrounding horror and violence, first the fight in the restaurant, then the brother’s death, both Lien and Nick embracing vengeance in the film’s last third.
Very true, Mann more often implicits things with his directions than “hammering” you the ideas and feelings with explicit dialogues, you have to read between the lines..
I thought the film was very persuasive as to the love relationship. Going through adversity only strengthened the sexual attraction that was going on at the beginning. Lien thought Nick was handsome from pictures. Not like that’s never happened. He began to be attracted to her for her looks obviously, but also because she spoke directly to him, authentically, concerning what his real situation was. An effective combo, followed up by the anvil of adversity strenthening them. Something else children would not have experience with.
Indeed. I like the restaurant scene, where she talks frankly to him, telling him who he is, the good man he is capable to be, and the unfair way he wastes his life until now…this little scene was a nice piece of writing, acting and direction and made the characters and their relationship compelling.
I also like the subway scene with the pared down dialogues/lines and the “deal” they make together because of what happened to them: “We go on…together”
Also Lien’s long stare at Nick in their room before the final parade showdown is very telling about her feelings towards him, her fear that he is going to commit a kind of “suicidal” act confronting the bad guys…telling stare, glances body language more than dialogues/lines…typical Michael Mann storytelling here.
RT/Meta Critic Review
This is a brilliant movie like most or all of Micheal Manns movies. The set pieces are meticulously stage and have a particular pleasing geometry. The mood, the cities, the cinematography is classic Mann and classic excellence. Just go see the movie. There are very (very) few directors working with the level of artistic excellence that we see throughout this movie…in every edit, every performance, music choice and every frame we’ve been given. Bravo and thank you once again Mr. Mann. (Proteus/MetaCritic)
Blackhat‘s 1080p transfer enjoys solid production all around but it never reaches the heights of format greatness. The movie plays with a somewhat flat feel about it. Even brighter scenes aren’t dazzling, settling for a solid color foundation and good general definition. The palette is fairly pedestrian with some splashes of brighter coloring in dense city signage and bright green radiation suits but is otherwise heavy on the dull side with only solid basic coloring at the core. Details are likewise solid but not eye-popping in presentation. Faces reveal good amounts of intimate lines and pores and clothes are likewise wells defined, whether more basic T-shirt fabric textures or more precise and complex heavy military uniform lines. Skin tones don’t struggle too much with wayward coloring but blacks tend to waver a bit between slight crush and mild paleness. A moderate amount of noise interferes with some of the darker backdrops.
Blackhat features an oftentimes impressive but occasionally misfiring DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. On the plus side, the track offers a big, wide stage that handles subtle effects and large, dense elements equally well. Whether light sounds of modern communication maneuvering through the stage in the opening moments or deep, heavy gunfire echoing through an enclosed space midway through the movie, there’s an unmistakable sense of welcome fullness and vitality to the track. Minor street level ambience helps set the stage for the film’s more densely populated locations, while larger open air shootouts are defined by hard-hitting gunfire and realistic impacts in flesh and metal surfaces. Explosions are also potent and deliver a healthy bit of energy into the stage. The track can get a little rattly at the very bottom, however. Dialogue is, surprisingly, the most inconsistent element. It seems to drop out momentarily at the 4:36 mark (repeatable on rewind), as it also does later during some “pillow talk” around the 45-minute mark that’s more a fading effect than a full drop. There are several occurrences when dialogue simply sounds detached (the 19-minute marks being good examples, particularly as the man with whom Hathaway is speaking seems dubbed over when the camera’s pointed at an over-the-shoulder angle). There’s a general unevenness to verbal cadence throughout the movie that can become a distraction.
Blackhat contains three featurettes. Inside the Blu-ray case, buyers will find a DVD copy of the film and a voucher for a UV/iTunes digital copy.
- The Cyber Threat (1080p, 13:02): Cast, crew, and experts discuss the real world of hacking and the threat of cyber terror and how it’s all depicted in the film, interspersed with clips from the movie.
- On Location Around the World (1080p, 9:30): A look at the importance of real locations overMANUFACTURED sets and an overview of the key locations found throughout the film.
- Creating Reality (1080p, 17:01): A discussion of how building authentic characters from the ground-up benefits the film.