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Film Review: The Equalizer 3

FILM REVIEW
THE EQUALIZER 3
Rated R
109 Minutes
Released September 1st

You don’t need to have seen The Equalizer or The Equalizer 2 to appreciate The Equalizer 3. All three movies are an age-old classic heroic tales told in different settings and with different characters, by the same director, Antoine Fuqua, and starring Denzel Washington as an elite ex-special forces commando named “Robert McCall” who is looking for a life of peace, a search that is repeatedly interrupted by innocent people in need of a champion.

The opening sequence in The Equalizer 3 sets the environment with drone footage artfully employed in a gently sweeping view, moving toward a gorgeous, quiet village built into the hills that meet the sea on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, a serene contrast to the chaotic action about to ensue.

The whole movie is finely tuned and visually beautiful. The shoot took place in the actual location of the story, Campania and the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Many of the darker sequences have the depth of old black & white films. The writing matches the style. There are no “hero gets the girl” cliched passages. Everything is implied visually, and dialogue is sparse. Emotions are felt in glances and sounds, and actions speak for themselves.

This is the 5th collaboration between director Fuqua and Washington, starting with Training Day in 2001. Fuqua began his career shooting commercials and music videos. In 1995, Jerry Bruckheimer gave him his big break with a chance to shoot the Coolio music video in Dangerous Minds, which Bruckheimer produced.

Washington has finetuned his character “McCall,” who is a reincarnation of the hero of ancient mythology. He has a flaw – everything around him must be in its place, and timing is controlled down to the instant. This OCD becomes his superpower. This urge for meticulous control gives him an uncanny ability to read the actions that those around him are about to take before they happen. Washington has the rare ability to portray this great everyman hero.

The rest of the cast turn in excellent performances. The villagers are genuine and identifiable. Dakota Fanning portrays an intuitive young CIA agent who masks her insecurity with a learned air of confidence. It turns out she has a link to characters from McCall’s past. Fanning and Washington starred together in Man on Fire 20 years ago when she was around ten years old, and you can feel the friendship between them.

The locales, the camera angles, the lighting, and the flow of the editing come together to make The Equalizer 3 one of the best films of 2023. The story is the classic heroic myth written by scribes and sung by troubadours through the ages. The hero takes on the task, with a superhuman vengeance, of protecting innocents who are trapped helplessly by their abusers against all odds. It’s not a story founded in realism, yet it’s based on the wish that we must make the world a peaceful place where beauty can be appreciated, and fear is nonexistent. The violence the hero encounters and fights seems exaggerated – or is it? Have you watched the news lately?

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which has been the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people. She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kboole@gmail.com

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