VOD film review: Momentum
Ivan Radford | On 20, Nov 2015Reading time: 2 mins
Director: Stephen Campanelli
Cast: Olga Kurylenko, James Purefoy, Morgan Freeman
Watch Momentum online in the UK: iTunes / TalkTalk TV / Amazon Video / Rakuten TV / Google Play
From Beyond the Lights and Beasts of No Nation to Ethan Hawke sci-fi Predestination, VOD is an invaluable tool for smaller films: it can help a hard-to-sell drama reach a global audience of millions or elevate a tiny, innovative thriller that doesn’t deserve to be overlooked. Momentum isn’t either of those things.
The signs are all there for a cult treat, from a surprisingly starry cast – led by Olga Kurylenko – to the opening set piece: a heist conducted under the exciting pounding of trash can drummers outside. But that potential is never fully realised, as the movie sprints between mildly incoherent and disappointingly predictable.
Kurylenko is suitably tough as Alex, who finds herself tracked down by a mysterious – and not very nice – man, not because of the diamonds her gang stole, but because of the electronic MacGuffin in the bag with them. The ensuing game of cat and mouse moves from the streets to art-adorned apartments, with guns toted and blood splattered efficiently, but while the Cape Town locations bring a refreshing change to the norm, things never hang together as well as you want them to.
It falls to James Purefoy as the malevolent Mr. Washington to keep you watching, a nice against-type turn for the actor, who is clearly enjoying being so mean while speaking so politely. Even his bad guy, though, isn’t given convincing material to work with. A parachuted-in Morgan Freeman, meanwhile, only distracts as a senator caught up in the conspiracy.
As the various strands double-cross over each other in an attempt to be as smart as possible, the relentless string of action sequences brings to mind Luc Besson’s Lucy, which showed how to strip down a plot to focus on the thrill of the chase. If Adam Marcus and Debra Sullivan’s generic screenplay doesn’t quite click, though, director Stephen Campanelli’s sense of speed at least leaves an impression. Thanks to editor Doobie White, Momentum certainly builds up a head of a steam. If only the end result managed to be more than hot air.