AMERICAN ULTRA is a really fantastic film with a unique premise, a great score and visual style and the ability to both capture a darkly comedic tone but also be a genuinely tense action thriller. It stars Jesse Eisenberg as a stoner called Mike who's actually the last man standing of a weird US spy programme designed to create and mind-control super-spies. When the ruthless CIA careerist played by Topher Grace decides to kill Mike, his handler Lasseter (Connie Britton) decides to activate him in order to save his life. We then get a series of really insane action scenes, as well some genuinely moving emotional scenes in which Mike wonders who he really is and how his relationship with girlfriend Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) is really operating. But what really impressed me was the feeling that the director an DP had a clear idea about how they wanted to tell the story. It's using cinema and all it has to offer to create powerful and complex and memorable storytelling. There's a superb scene near the end where our bruised and bloodied couple are hobbling out of a destroyed building to the sound of a Chemical Brothers attack, framed in smoke from the fireworks they've let off and covered in the green laser sight-tags of machine guns. The director, Nima Nourizadeh, decides to show the couple's interactions in silence with just the track playing. That's some memorable shit right there. My only slight gripe is the way that Max Landis chooses to end the film. Didn't feel right to me, and maybe a cheesy set up for a sequel.
AMERICAN ULTRA has a running time of 96 minutes and is rated R. The movie is on global release.
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