IRON MAN 3-Directed by Shane Black, Written by Drew Pearce and Shane Black

Starring Robert Downey Jr. Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Ben Kingsley

THE COMPANY YOU KEEP-Directed by Robert Redford, Written by Lem Dobbs and Neil Gordon, Starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie,Shia LaBeouf

I try to tell a story the way someone would tell you a story in a bar, with the same kind of timing and pacing.

Chuck Palahniuk

No one in a bar would ever tell either of these stories. Both suffer from pacing. IRON MAN 3, of course, has a pace designed to please people who spend a lot of time playing computer games. THE COMPANY YOU KEEP has a pace designed for people (sorry I can’t resist this and God will probably get me for it) with pacemakers. Neither film worked for me.

I enjoyed the first IRON MAN film. It was fun watching Tony Stark figure out how to solve his physical problems, create his costume, invent himself. The jokes were abundant and quick-witted and there was plenty of action to go with it. By the third film, we have eliminated almost everything but the action sequences. Tony is twitchier than ever, but the film is unwilling to let him spend a minute on that problem as they pave his road to hell with bodies, explosions, and more special effects than anyone could possibly want to see. His relationship with Pepper Potts has to be the dullest romance ever put on a screen. How can such a lively mind find such a vacuous one interesting? The plot concerns the Mandarin (Pearce) who seems unstoppable, but guess what? Last summer’s AVENGERS showed us how to make a film like this work. But this team didn’t follow the blueprint.

THE COMPANY YOU KEEP had pacing problems too. Now that we have TV shows like HOMELAND, BREAKING BAD, and THE AMERICANS that manage to be exciting week after week, it is hard to understand how this film about tracking down the last remnants of the Weather Underground’s terrorists could lack any suspense. Briefly the plot concerns a sixties radical who turns herself in (Sarandon) and the attempts of the FBI to round up the other participants in the crime she took part in. LaBeouf plays the obscure reporter that Sarandon mysteriously calls in to hear her story. This should be Redford’s story, and it is, but he seems too old by at least a decade, to be running in the forest or the father of an eleven year old. The timing of the events and the technology of today have continuity issues too. If the film was not going to be suspenseful, it should have at least done more to flesh out its characters, but instead we follow Redford around the country wearing a variety of baseball caps as a disguise. Eech.


If you think you will like IRON MAN 3, you probably will. I am not sure anyone will like the second film. These actors should have been served by a better script and a better director.

Patti Abbott