The very first lines that are spoken in .45 more or less sum up the experience you’re about to go through as you watch it. So does the MPAA rating of “Rated R for pervasive strong language including graphic sexual references, violence, sexuality and some drug use.” The first one of these is definitely the most frequently abused by the film, with almost every line of dialogue containing one or more profanities.
Now, I’m not one to want a movie to be censored in any way shape or form. But in cases like these, the writers should know better. Using the same word over and over again makes the work lose its meaning. It also gets annoying. The writing comes off as if it was written by teenagers who just learned what curse words were. By the closest estimation I could find, the “F-bomb” is dropped somewhere between 400 and 500 times throughout the picture. And that’s only that one word. This estimate doesn’t include other profanities. There’s no estimate for these, because they fly by too quickly to count, and you’d have to watch .45 at least 3 times in order to count them all. And nobody should be forced to do that.
Here is how the plot of .45 works: Kat (Milla Jovovich) has a love-hate relationship with her partner, a man named “Big Al” (Angus Macfayden). Some of the times, they’ll be friendly towards one another; they’ll enjoy a couple of drinks and smokes together, for instance. However, there are times when they get into fights, and during these fights, Big Al, the much larger, will become abusive towards Kat. Oh yes, and he’s also a gun dealer, meaning there are plenty of weapons for him to use if he feels the need.
For approximately 3/4 of the film, that is all that the plot consists of. We’ll see their relationship go well, or turn sour, but regardless of which occurs, we know that the other one will happen in a couple of scenes. There’s very little tension, and we don’t see the plot actually advancing any time soon, except for the Kat continually looks depressed, despite claiming that she still loves Big Al. I’d be cautious of spoiling the final quarter, but since the poster and trailer already have done so, I’ll touch on it as well. Kat finally has enough and decides to find a way to get out of the relationship, despite claiming that Big Al will find her and kill her if she does. That’s all I’ll say about that, because the resolution to the film is one of the few things worth praising.
The other thing worth praising is the acting. At least, for the most part, it was pretty solid. Milla Jovovich can act in a drama, while Angus Macfayden showed his slovenly side with Big Al (at least, when he doesn’t break character and dip into a fairly heavy Scottish accent that isn’t used in 90% of his scenes, but when he does, it’s really noticeable). The dialogue still made it a little bit difficult to take them seriously, and I’m sure that made it even harder to act, having to spout some of the lines in the film. Or maybe director Gary Lennon just told them to make it up as they go along, but be as profane as possible. That’s possible right?
There’s one other thing that I liked about .45, and that was how funny it was. It’s not a comedy by any stretch of the imagination, but there are scenes where I couldn’t help but find myself laughing. Some of these were probably unintentional, but I laughed anyway. And if I’m getting something out of a scene, and in this case, it’s enjoyment, then I consider that scene a success.
The funniest parts come from when side characters, like Kat’s mother or one of Big Al’s friends, talks directly into the camera, telling us about one of our two lead characters. Except they’re commenting after the film’s plot concludes, which means they know things that we don’t. It creates an interesting puzzle game of the audience trying to fit the pieces we’re given into place. It’s just too bad that it doesn’t go anywhere, and that none of the clues given have any direct correlation to how the film concludes. So consider that a lot of wasted effort after you finish watching it.
This fits right along with how the rest of the film works out: Nothing really matters. You can have the point made in 5-10 minutes that Kat and Big Al’s relationship needs work, but instead we get more than an hour dedicated to it. And then a lawyer gets involved later on, who factors in heavily. (Definitely not in the way you might be thinking either). Things happen, but they rarely lead to anything important later on. And when they do, it’s blatantly obvious that the writers thought they were being clever by connecting them. Oh, that one gun you mentioned in an earlier scene got used, and we’re now remembering that you mentioned it? Good job guys. Really good job. (It’s a .45 gun, if you were wondering where the title came from).
The one thing I have to say about .45 is that it is interesting. It isn’t good, just because there is so much wasted by the time it concludes that you’ll think that you wasted your time watching it. But it is a unique film. The ending is one of the best parts it has, and the acting is overall fairly solid. It’s hard to get past the very loose plot though, and it’s very difficult to get past the terrible dialogue. It’s unlikely to be a film that you’ll gain much enjoyment or insight from, so I suggest skipping it.