Mark Wahlberg is ex-cop, ex-con Spenser, and he's good at it.
Movie reviewed: Spenser Confidential
Director: Peter Berg (Mile 22)
Screenplay: Sean O’Keefe, Brian Helgeland (Legend) from Ace Atkins, Robert Parker Wonderland novel.
Cast: Mark Wahlberg (Mile 22), Winston Duke (Us)
Runtime: I h 51m
By: John DeSando
“What, do you work in a Brazilian steakhouse?” Cissy (Iliza Schlesinger) to some very bad boys carrying machetes.
If the coronavirus has you down, get up with a derivative cop thriller that has enough laughs to lighten you up for a few minutes. Although I doubt if crime film Spenser Confidential has an original moment (it is about a former disgraced cop, Spenser, played by Mark Wahlberg, back into the game), it has charming actors having a ball in Boston’s South Side.
Spenser spent a few years in the clink for beating up a deserving cop, his superior; now Spenser’s on the trail of whoever murdered that corrupt public servant. Will you see more bad cops before one of them is fingered for masterminding drug operations? yes. However, you will also enjoy the banter between Spenser and sometime girlfriend, Cissy. It’s not screwball comedy, but it’s a cut above the comic thrillers it relentlessly copies.
Schlesinger is a delightful discovery as the tough Cissy, whose Southie accent and take-no-prisoners attitude is unusually humorous, in a way similar to the stone-faced, kick-ass Betty Gilpin as Crystal in The Hunt. The rough-and-tumble heroine is becoming a cliché in these #MeToo times, but these two ladies have real comedic chops revealing real acting talent.
While Spenser gets beaten up every few minutes, he is after all an ex- cop and ex-con who knows his way around fists. And he’s played by Mark Wahlberg, who’s been charmingly doing this blue-collar South- Boston thing forever. So has Alan Arkin playing his crusty mentor, always a joy to be with even though he’s never quite with you, just putting up with the idiots that people a formulaic movie.
Watching Spenser Confidential on Netflix because theaters are shut down has the salutary effect of forcing me to enjoy unartful drama with satisfactory moments of character and a few funny lines. Until the virus decides its exit, I could do worse than watch Mark Wahlberg and friends.
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JohnDeSando62@gmail.com.