There is something about watching an action-thriller plot unfold at your favourite landmarks, especially those where you have been before and explored. And when they get involved in something bigger and more extraordinary, it’s strangely elating. It’s like Manet’s “Luncheon on the Grass“; why would it garner such a huge response if not for its familiar contemporary venue?
Tom Tykwer of Run Lola Run fame, understood the role of (iconic) architecture today, in creating an atmosphere of a literally international outlook. A close-up of Clive Owen with sans-serif introductory font amidst the pouring rain, in a bold simple composition set the movie’s sophisticated, corporate and severe tone. (cinematography: Frank Griebe) The Berlin Hauptbahnhof (main train station) enhanced that opening mood with characteristic German hyper-efficient glass and steel sleekness. In following scenes, architecture of various places lead the story and become actors with their emotive qualities.
Locations such as Milano Centrale, Galeria Victoria Emmanuel II, the Phaeno Science Center, Turkey’s Blue Mosque and Guggenheim New York were prominently featured, and fetishised to a high degree as backdrops, and in the lattermost case, that fetishisation carried out to penetrative excess. To everyone’s immense delight, and to Wright’s utter horror, a shootout! The stark bands of white and black, cool proportions of the central atrium, its unmoving elitism just beg for some dirt and scum and action, at least just once to play out that destructive fantasy which we all harbour. Watch this movie, maybe for its okay plot, but more for its unflinching brutal gaze on the built environment.
P.S. a behind-the-scenes look