When it comes to movies, I’m not one that complains a lot. In fact, I would probably even watch something I don’t like during the first hour, just in case it has something to redeem itself. I’m willing to give that much time to a bad movie. But sometimes, I come across a movie that just leaves me perplexed. And not essentially in a bad way. But perplexed nonetheless. And I’m not really sure how I really feel about it. Is a perplexing movie good, or is it just bad in its own unique way. Whatever it is, American Ultra is one such movie. It is one that left me wondering what I was even watching, right after I asked myself why I was. These were just some of the existential questions this movie made me ask myself. Probably even got me to do my fair share of introspection.
And I’m not kidding when I say all this. It is really that absurd of a movie. And that is really the defining characteristic of this movie. You know it’s something you’ve never seen before when the selling point of a movie is the degree of weirdness that it portrays over its runtime. Bringing together a cast of highly talented actors and actresses who are famous for their roles in movies like the Social Network, American Ultra is one that had a lot of expectations weighing it down, which probably didn’t help with its highly experimental and downright weird premise. Now I’m not saying the premise is bad. It is actually one that held a lot of potential and had some very interesting ideas up its sleeve. But it is not one that I would really call a conventional one. And that is really what makes American Ultra stand out.
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American Ultra: About the Movie
American Ultra, at its core, seems to be an action movie. Do note my use of the word “seems”. That is because it is not actually an action movie. It is actually a romantic movie. Or maybe not that either. Maybe it is a superhero teen flick. But that doesn’t sound right either. In fact, no genre I can state sounds right for the movie. It is in a league of its own. It is the story of a stoner Mike Howell, who is played by the charismatic Jesse Eisenberg. Now Mike is no regular stoner. At the surface, he is just another guy who works down the street at the nearest convenience store and stones himself given the chance. But the actual reality is that he is some super trained superhero assassin cum hitman cum special CIA project cum stoner cum lover.
Now if that is not weird, then I don’t know what is. Sure, it is an interesting concept, but not one that works out very well once you think about it. I’m sure I wouldn’t want a stoner protecting me from evil. And I’m sure the way Jesse’s character is portrayed, he is no one’s dream. In fact, he’s far from it. A stoner with a clingy vibe and undiscovered superpowers that even he himself is unaware of. Every woman’s dream, I tell you. And what is more absurd is the fact that his girlfriend Phoebe, again played by the elegant actress Kristen Stewart from the Twilight Saga, stays with him, and continues to do so happily. It might help that she loves to get high herself. But it doesn’t make sense when you consider the whole picture. But I’m sure people might disagree. Oh well.
You might be asking what’s so bad about that. Well, I’m not finished yet. Because I’ve watched the movie in its entirety, and I still do not get the point of it. What makes Mike so special, that he needed to be this way. This weird, weed inhaling, gun toting, spoon killing expert is the central point of the story. And nothing makes sense about him. In addition to the fact that nothing that happens around him makes sense. So much for a top secret government program. I’m sure they left Captain America to stone himself after they buffed him up.
All the criticism for American Ultra stems from the fact that it does not make any sense. No, I’m not hating on the movie. In fact, I tried to really like it. And I even might someday, if I was as stoned as Jesse’s character in the movie. But it really doesn’t help to watch something that numbs my brain as American Ultra does. I get that they tried to go for something different. But it just doesn’t work here in my opinion. Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart too have tried to give great performances in the movie, but it is quite clear that it isn’t something that is up their alley. It is not a true reflection of their talent, but it is not the best work they have ever done. If I was someone else in some other dimension, I might have liked the movie. But for what it is right now, I have mixed feelings about it.
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American Ultra: The Verdict
The verdict for American Ultra is going to be quite simple. Definitely watch it. No, not because it is good. But simply because of how weird it is. Watch it to experience a level of absurdness and unrealness you have never experienced before. We are sure you are going to be surprised. Unless you’re high as a kite. In that case, you’re probably watching the right movie. And that is really going to be my verdict for the movie. Nothing more to be said about it.
American Ultra can currently be watched online on Netflix. Click on the following link to watch the movie:
American Ultra currently holds a rating of 6.1 out of 10 on IMDb, based on multiple user reviews. IMDb is our preferred platform for all movies and TV shows.
What do you think about the movie? Did you like it? Do you agree with the review? Let us know in the comments down below.
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