“An eye for an eye”: the essence of Guy Ritchie’s film Wrath of Man (2021): plot summary, essence, meaning of the film, explanation of the ending.
Country: UK, USA
Genre: Action, Thriller
Year of production: 2021
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Actors: Jason Statham, Holt McCallany, Jeffrey Donovan
Guy Ritchie is always skillfully manipulating his gigantic talents as a hit artisan and simultaneously releasing authentic cinema for the soul. The plot of the film Wrath of Man is far from new: the picture tells the story of the revenge of one hardened criminal against another. This is the most serious, brutal tape does not raise philosophical questions and has no hidden meaning. Its distinguishing features are restrained style, minimalism and the presence of very interesting references.
What is the movie about?
A brief description of the content of the film Wrath of Man. A new employee enters the service of the cash collection company Fortico – a man named Patrick Hill, whom acquaintances, friends and foes simply call H. He is stern, laconic, collected and restrained.
The role of Patrick Hill was played by Jason Statham. Frame from the film.
The company constantly suffers from raids, as a result of which money disappears, collectors die. In contrast to the general anxiety, H is always calm. He deals with potential robbers in a matter of seconds. Threats don’t work on him, he doesn’t care about money. Perhaps the only thing that interests him is the peculiarities of the work of the entire company. This makes a lot of sense – H wants to solve a robbery that took place a few months earlier, which claimed the life of a person dear to him.
Gradually, the cold-blooded and super-professional H wins the respect of his colleagues – partner Dave, the curator nicknamed “Bullet” and the head of the company Terry. Dana’s handsome colleague openly likes him, and H, who also likes the girl, spends the night with her. However, the idyll soon collapses: in Dana’s house, the hero finds a cache with an impressive amount of money. The girl reluctantly admits that she really embezzled the company’s money. The meaning of her act was simple: receiving a fairly modest salary, Dana wanted to secure a comfortable old age. Eir chose to believe her, although he warned her that she would now be constantly in his field of vision.
Soon, the van, located in the center of Chinatown, is attacked again. To the surprise of colleagues, when they see H, the attackers prefer to retreat.
The answer here is simple: H (his real name is Mason Hargreaves) is the leader of a crime syndicate and in the last raid he ran into his subordinates. Gradually, his motives become clear. About six months ago, an American syndicate was preparing a raid on one of the Fortico trucks. During the “special operation” there was a skirmish between collectors and bandits. As a result, Mason’s son Duggie was shot dead. By the way, the guy was not a member of the syndicate and he was eliminated as an accidental witness. This happened in front of Hargreaves, while he himself was seriously injured.
Holt McCallany as Bullet, Josh Hartnett as Dave. Frame from the film.
After rehabilitation, H becomes literally obsessed with the idea of finding and punishing all those involved in the death of Daggie. To do this, he raises the entire underworld of the city to its feet and establishes contact with his old acquaintance, FBI special agent King. He concludes a kind of deal with him: within a month, the syndicate will do all the dirty work for the FBI, and the feds, in turn, will not interfere. King agrees and even gives Hitch a list of suspects, whom he cannot yet arrest due to the lack of necessary evidence. King also reveals that the raiders at Fortico have an informer whose identity is still under wraps.
Several months of searching lead to nothing: Mason still fails to trace the perpetrators of the death of his son. Then he is offered to change his strategy and leave for a short time in London. The assistant creates a new identity for him and so Mason Hargreaves turns into Patrick Hill.
A little later, it turns out that a group of retired soldiers who fought in hot spots is behind the attack on cash-in-transit vehicles. Extremely dissatisfied with their position in the country and the amount of benefits paid to them, they formed a criminal syndicate. It was they who developed the plan to attack Fortico. It was at the hands of one of them, Jena, that Duggie died.
The group plans to carry out a new attack on collectors on Black Friday – it is at this time that there is a real opportunity to hit the big jackpot. Jen comes up with a daring plan – to attack not an individual truck, but a depot. From the alleged reward of the criminals literally blows the roof – $ 180 million is at stake.
Toward the end of the film, Bullet calls H to a conversation and informs him that he is the informant of a dangerous group. He offers his friend not to interfere with them – and then he will remain alive.
Wrath of Man Ending explanation
Explanation of the ending of the film Wrath of Man. In the finale, Jen’s group attacks the depot. A bloody brawl ensues, in which both raiders and collectors die. H, who already knows that Duggie died at the hands of Jen, manages to escape. He finds his enemy’s apartment and kills him with four shots – in the liver, then in the lungs, then in the spleen, and finally in the heart.
The meaning of the ending of the film Wrath of Man is that H literally followed the Old Testament commandment “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” – this is how his son was killed. Having committed revenge, Mason leaves the money stolen by the group to the feds and leaves the city.
The meaning of the film Wrath of Man
In their analysis, viewers note that “Human Anger” is not an original picture, but a remake of the French thriller “Collector”. The hero of the original tape was a simple guy, in front of whom a loved one died. He was deeply unhappy and literally stood on the edge of the abyss: according to him, he had nothing to lose. This was the essence of the film “Collector” – the picture told about how a real civil servant who did not have a criminal past took revenge on the criminals, gradually becoming exactly the same as them.
The key idea of ”Wrath of Man” can be caught already from the title. In Guy Ritchie’s tape, we are talking about the thirst for revenge, violent anger and the inability to forgive his enemies.
Frame from the film.
As a genre movie, Wrath of Man looks very good. This is a tense and, oddly enough, beautiful picture, most of the elements of which work properly. But it would be foolish to think that Guy Ritchie’s film is a typical action movie, designed for a certain target audience – for those people who grew up in the pictures of the VHS era and perfectly remember the “same” nasal voice of Volodarsky.
Wrath of Man aims for a much more serious league: Richie filled his picture with biblical references. According to the interpretation of the director himself, his tape is dedicated to the seven deadly sins. The main antagonists are not even “bad” criminals (“there are no good ones” in the plot at all), but passions that are dangerous from the point of view of Christianity – Anger and Greed.
The picture is divided into several chapters with different narrators and time periods. But the director does not confuse the viewer – his film is simple and linear, and all its meanings lie on the surface. The director deliberately makes his characters minimally similar to ordinary people. Both H and everyone else are not people, but symbols that reflect this or that passion (Mason himself symbolizes anger, Jen – greed, Bullet – pride). And this makes the film of the British director related to parables.
There were also provocations, which, probably, can be perceived as a mockery of Christianity: an “innocent victim”, the death of which leads to a chain of bloody events, the name of the hero, which can be called an allusion to “Christ” (it is highly debatable, but such an opinion exists ), the notorious “an eye for an eye” and even references to the story of Abraham and Isaac. Some even see Eyche as Yahweh himself. However, this is debatable.
According to the Bible, anger can be righteous. And we are talking not only about Yahweh and his prophets, but also about Christ himself – one has only to recall the mise-en-scene with the merchants in the temple. But is it possible to compare a deity with people? Only the wrath of God can be righteous. Human anger is the most monstrous sin. Having caught fire in the heart, it is able to burn out all human feelings. When it fades, it leaves behind only a monstrous void.
Frame from the film.
Here are a few films that are similar in meaning to Wrath of Man:
- “Fight” (USA, 1995). Vincent Hanna is one of the best detectives in Los Angeles. He has to catch one of the most dodgy and smart criminals – Neil McCauley.
- “Roll into Asphalt” (Canada, UK, USA, 2018). Two reckless police officers are suspended by the department. Once out of work, they find a job in the criminal world.
- “Hunting for Thieves” (USA, 2018). Tough cop Nick learns that a tough thief is planning to rob the country’s Federal Reserve Bank and decides to stop him. By any means.