I’ve said before I am a Jason Statham fan and while the terrible Parker Parker would not convince anyone to join me in that assessment, Hummingbird might be the kind of thing that does win over some admirers.
Statham plays Joey (Smith? Jones? We’re never quite sure), a former commando now living a homeless life on the streets of London. Through a stroke of luck, Statham lands the opportunity to get back on his feet and a shot at redemption (Redemption being the US title). He continues to help out the local mission who used to feed him, and still feeds his former homeless community, and develops a friendship with the nun who runs it. He keeps a lookout for a friend he used to spend time with on the street and, when she turns up dead, he tries to track down the killer.
Themes of right and wrong, redemption, salvation and forgiveness, run rife through the film but where in Snitch (another ‘serious’ film with an ‘action’ star) all the themes and messages are underlined and printed in bold at every turn, here it is down to the viewer to seek the messages out and read between the lines. That’s perhaps to be expected from a writer (and now director) like Steven Knight and this film certainly feels of a piece with Eastern Promises and Dirty Pretty Things, both award winning films rightly praised for their writing.
Hummingbird is perhaps a little less focused than those, but no less well shot, often the opposite problem than those faced by writers-turned-directors. The film attempts to spin many different storylines together into a haunting tale where everyone is damaged by choices they made in circumstances they had no control over, and none of these stories are totally realised, but the London Knight gives us is shot through with colour and intrigue and not like the London typically seen on screen.
But any faults in the narrative are, in a sense, to be welcomed. They are a sign of ambition – a film trying too much is far more appealing than a film trying too little. In addition, Statham’s bruised and scarred (physically and mentally) Joey shows some good acting chops – a depth rarely seen by his fellow action stars.
All in all, Hummingbird is a far more interesting film than many would expect from Statham, but it’s a great showcase for his talents and also for his skills at picking some more off the wall choices for vehicles. I only hope he continues in a similar vein (though hopefully dropping the Parker’s of this world).
Film length: 1hr 40mins – Feels like: 1hr 40mins
Warning, the film is mis-sold as more out and out action than it actually is, so don’t totally believe this trailer.