A few months ago, maestro Martin Scorsese turned the movie community upside down again with a new and highly successful essay in which he warned about the dangers of today's industry; a machine in which feature films, regardless of their quality and claims, seem to have ceased to be works of artistic expression with a narrative will to become simple and plain "content".
After the publication of his reflection, there were many who raised their hands to the head, but this apparent devaluation of the cinema is the only reason I can think of to make sense of the fact that 'Without remorse' is not generating much more conversation or it has become a new milestone in modern action cinema; being buried among the gigantic catalog of the streaming platform of the day.
And it is that the new of Stefano Sollima after taking over from Denis Villeneuve in the remarkable 'Sicario: The day of the soldier', adapting very freely the homonymous novel by Tom Clancy, encloses among its tight 110 minutes of footage an exercise that leaves in diapers to many - if not most - of their counterparts in recent years. Then I explain myself using the odd spoiler.
If there is one term that can help describe as accurately as possible 'No Regrets', it is 'neatness'. From its opening credits to a post-credit sequence that puts all the meat on the grill for an approach to the 'Rainbow Six' universe, the film exudes technical and artistic authority, sobriety and style even in its most badass and self-conscious moments as the fight in the cell.
The film's intense introductory sequence already points out ways, offering a tactical action recital that manages to fully immerse you on the battlefield thanks to its credible use of military jargon, to the power of its interpretations - which transcends the battlefield to add an extra intensity to the segments marked by the dialogue— and, above all, to the realization of a Stefan Sollima again in a state of grace.
Accustomed, with honorable exceptions, to a jug action that chooses to camouflage its deficiencies between effects and various tricks - as exemplified by 'Tyler Rake' -, it never ceases to surprise that a production of these characteristics combines the most grandiose show - tremendous set piece of the plane— and enormous elegance. Sollima doesn't need formal outbursts like false sequence shots to dazzle; just pose situations with a powerful conflict, such as trapping a group of Spec Ops inside a building flanked by three snipers.
Above the impeccable sequence that marks the transition to the first act of the film playing with the canons of home invasion —and with a fantastic use of the flashlights—, the segment set in Murmansk rises like a master class in which the director , together with the director of photography Philippe Rousselot, demonstrate how a scene of these characteristics should be approached in terms of planning, blocking and space management.
With such a chaotic approach, there is always the temptation to exploit the resource of the uncontrolled hand-held camera located above the protagonists to amplify the sense of false tension, but Sollima and Rousselot choose to play the card of the organic and the fairly static now not only to shoot adrenaline levels, but to allow the viewer to perfectly locate each of the threats and suffer with each shot and each movement of a character that leaves their cover.
As the apartment scene progresses and evolves from a siege situation to a desperate escape with hand-to-hand combat as the leitmotif, 'No Regrets' reasserts himself as a flawless actioner; demonstrating the importance of a serene assembly, of a precise cut and adjusted to the movement, and of the amplitude in the plane scales to shine within an oversaturated market of proposals of similar cut.
There is no doubt that die-hard readers of Clancy's bibliography will be tempted to rip their clothes off when seeing how "No Regrets" practically confines itself to adopting the title and a couple of details from the original novel. However, it must be recognized that Taylor Sheridan has managed to extract gold from the marked clichés of the house, permeating the story of that dryness and that sober tightness that gave him such good results in 'Comanchería', 'Wind River' and the aforementioned ' Soldier's day'.