This will not be showing at Images Cinema, but I want to write about Dredd.
This is not a film I would have watched on my own, in a theater or at home, if I had not received a high recommendation from filmmaker Stacy Cochran. I didn’t know it shared a screenwriter with 28 Days Later and Never Let Me Go, Alex Garland, or that it co-starred Olivia Thirlby, an actress who is most well-known as the best friend in Juno, who deserves more starring roles than she’s had.
It’s really good, the best action movie I’ve seen in a long while. It’s gorgeous, violent, thought-provoking. It has some visually stunning sequences, violent and otherwise, revealing the beauty that exists in mundane existence, even in a harsh dystopian future. The violence is in your face, visceral, sparkly, and somehow not glorified at all.
It’s a rare action movie that allows women to be people, not just witches, bitches, or hood ornaments. The villian of the film, MaMa, is fascinating, monstrous, but somehow also still entirely human. I keep thinking about the door to her suite, with a heart spray-painted on the door.
The other woman in the film is Olivia Thirlby’s character, Anderson, a rookie, being assessed by Dredd for her ability to be a judge. She doesn’t wear a judges’ helmet, which covers the head and eyes, because it blocks her psychic powers. Her strength is her vulnerability. There’s power in vulnerability!
And maybe that’s what its about. MaMa and Judge Dredd both seemingly invulnerable, Dredd behind his mask, with his arsenal of weapons, MaMa, with her mega block encapsulated against the outside world filled with people willing to risk their lives for her. But Anderson prevails because she’s willing to be vulnerable.