First with ‘Ghostbusters’ and then with the most recent installments of Thor we have seen Chris Hemsworth tend more and more towards his comical side with his bit of making fun of himself with complicity. It is what has been applauded the most by far, above his pure action efforts (‘Tyler Rake’) or his punctual -and undervalued- turns to make strange and disturbing characters (‘Bad times at the Royale’, the recent ‘ Spider-head’).
We are not talking about the actor with the highest rank in the world, but that does not mean that there are no good opportunities in which to take advantage of both their physical presence and to subvert it. I wanted to try something like this in one of his most notorious failures which, at the same time, is one of his most praiseworthy attempts to get out of his comfort zone and try to rescue an increasingly endangered middle-class thriller. We are talking about ‘Blackhat: Menace in the network’, a phenomenal movie available on Netflix.
hunt on the net
A phenomenal film that, yes, was quite misunderstood, which together with a very inauspicious moment for its premiere -in the United States it ran into the worst storm in years- and a critic who was not quite clear that he had just been plant. Not that it is unusual in Michael Mann’s career to run into the misunderstanding at first to later gain cult over time. It hasn’t completely happened yet with ‘Blackhat: Threat in the network’ but it is a matter of time, as with his ‘Miami Vice’.
Here Hemsworth plays a muscular tech expert and cybercriminal – a bit of a foretaste of his character in “Spiderhead” – who is the only solution for the FBI and the American and Chinese governments to curb the threat of a mysterious hacker. After a notable terrorist act committed remotely, with signs of clear hacking, international authorities are forced to resort to everything in order to neutralize the threat.
Mann, again, does one of his meticulous and ultra-specific exercises that tries to introduce us to a world as complex as cyberterrorism -with more or less success, which many experts will surely have problems with, but he clearly knows how to make it intriguing-.
‘Blackhat: Menace in the network’: fuzzy but fascinating
He also falls into several of his vices that make his movies something more sensory and less clear at the plot level. His films for some time now have become nebulous exercises in intrigue that seek more to interrogate the moods of their characters than to offer a well-chopped and exposed plot with hair and signs.
But it works, because precisely manages to convey like few others the urgency and tension experienced by protagonists like this, so canonical within his work, and the dangerous underworlds in which they are introduced. Hemsworth is an unusual choice for this role, as well as a markedly less talented actor than Mann’s other leads. But he manages to rise to the challenge that is set before him, giving the film robustness and playing with the emotional restraint that these characters usually submit to.
It is clearly a film that goes out of its comfort zone and an unconventional choice, despite the fact that a priori it seemed like a clear exercise in star leading a medium-almost high-budget thriller as it has always been done. But Hemsworth manages to get the best of himself under the orders of Mann, who does another film that only gains in virtues and appreciation with time and viewings. Come on, the usual in him.