I had to skip several parts, they were so absurd. Surprised to come see the higher reviews on this one.
Yes, it's based on a true story. But much like Michael Bay ruined the Transformers universe, this movie based on reality was ruined as well. It's like he just can't help himself from making something with so much potential into complete garbage.
Wahlberg did a great job. You really do get the sense that he believed in his character's beliefs. Ed Harris did a great job as well. He gave this movie the credibility it DESPERATELY needed, but even he couldn't save it as it was just a complete dumpster fire.
First, anachronisms are everywhere. They went to the expense and trouble of finding era appropriate cars just to put modern cars visible 25 feet in the background? And same with the city scenes, just normal cars driving by that were sometimes nearly 20 years too new for the movie. Like, why go to the expense of shooting those scenes if you're not going to bother to even get it right? They go into an Ace Hardware store posing as a Home Depot, but later it's a warehouse store (that could be Home Depot)? They are all over the place.
The biggest problem with this movie is the how the characters are portrayed to the audience. They are portrayed as childlike people who don't understand consequences. The reality is the people that committed these horrific crimes were aware of the potential consequences, but they chose to try to get away with it anyway. There is NOTHING likeable about any of the characters, except maybe the stripper, and obviously Ed Harris' character. But the characters are pushed onto viewers as if they are likeable, nice guys, who are just trying to get ahead. No, they are cold, hardened criminals who show no hesitation or remorse. The only thing they got right is they weren't super bright. Dwayne Johnson has never been a good actor and never will so this movie is definitely within his abilities. But it was sad to see Walhberg stoop down so much. You'd think by the time this movie was made, actors would know to stay away from anything Michael Bay does, but I guess they just wanted the paycheck.
Another weird thing is they try to make it a comedy at times, but it doesn't match the darkness and the reality of the actions that are happening. It's almost like Bay wants us to be happily watching this movie chuckling about murder. Really and truly disgusting interpretation of actual events. The comedy isn't good of course, it's never relevant, and never necessary. It's almost like some assistant director said hey let's put a joke here to lighten up this very dark movie. But that's not what it does, it just confuses the purpose of the film more.
This would have been MUCH better as a documentary, because the real story is crazy enough it could have been much more worthwhile to watch in that format.
What you do with your time is your choice, but proceed with caution. Or even better, I wouldn't proceed at all if I had to choose again.