The Painter is a tense crime thriller with good acting from Charles Weber and Madison Bailey. It is a decent story, despite some overused spy tropes.
When ex-C.I.A. agent Peter’s (Charlie Weber) battered past resurfaces, he must fight his most emotional and challenging battles yet. The Painter is a crime thriller replete with action and intensity. It tries to bring an original story to a classic crime film, and mostly succeeds outside of a poor script and some overused tropes.
Charlie Weber gives a great performance as the main character balancing his past and present lifestyles. He is supported by Madison Bailey as Sophia and John Voight as Byrne, the former of whom gives a surprisingly strong performance. The chemistry and tension between the three of them is poignant, supporting an otherwise weaker script. Many moments in the film utilize expositional dialogue too liberally, weakening the film’s tension at times. The story, however, has unique and original elements that viewers will enjoy.
What makes this film more unique than many crime thrillers is the characterization and development; many interweaving backstories are genuinely strong. For Peter “The Painter,” the stakes for completing his mission are tied to those he loves most. The contrast between fighting for the people he cares for, and trying to leave behind a life of violence and secrecy in the C.I.A. is palpable.
Perhaps the best moments in The Painter are intense fighting scenes. Every exchange of blows and bullets involving Peter and corrupt C.I.A. agents is very well choreographed. They offer both realistic fight tactics and visually appealing moments. There are many brutal kills, revealing that Peter’s hardened character is still one punch away from being summoned again.
In all, The Painter is a decent film and a tense experience. The final act softens the tension, however, and unfortunately the story can never get back to the first act’s higher stakes. It relies too heavily on tropes. However, the final scene with the film’s main characters offers an emotional climax and brings Peter’s development to rewarding fruition. This scene is where John Voight’s performance excels. Though his acting is decent throughout the film, his best moments come at the end, driving a nail in the coffin of the characters’ emotional ties. Still, the ending feels unbalanced by last-minute plot twists and double crosses. The score, editing, and production design are satisfactory and fitting for the film. Apart from some overused spy tropes (high tech screens and cliché lingo), The Painter’s editing and storytelling are well done.
While John Voight’s performance is good, the most memorable and surprising performances are from Charlie Weber and Madison Bailey. Voight seems to show up at odd times and his character seems the least developed of the three, until the end. Nevertheless, the film’s mystery reveals are good, if not a slight bit predictable.
The Painter is a good film for those seeking a riveting action thriller with solid acting and a satisfactory payoff. It relies on relentless kills and nearly nonstop tension, but also contains much emotion atypical to the common crime thriller. Despite a poor script and too many double crosses, the film is a fun watch with original characterization and storytelling.
The Painter will be released in Select theatres on January 5, 2024 and on digital platforms on January 9.