Terminal review – Margot Robbie hit-woman thriller misfires

It’s set in a dazzling dystopian metropolis, but this strained attempt at hardboiled noir is deeply dull

Judging by her dropped aitches, the Australian actor Margot Robbie, who is playing a cockerney hit-woman here, has been watching Martine McCutcheon in Love Actually on repeat. Robbie’s serviceable accent is one of the few things this deeply uninteresting take on hardboiled noir gets right. That and its dazzling dystopian metropolis, all flickering strip lighting and neon-drenched pavements. Though somewhat distractingly, while the city is straight out of Blade Runner, the crims all talk in Guy Ritchie “shut your fackin’ face, you ponce”-style banter.

Robbie plays Annie, a femme fatale with two aliases. As a purring hit-woman, she strikes a deal with mysterious mob boss Mr Franklin to take over the contract for his hired killings. Franklin agrees, but only if she first eliminates the competition – a duo of geezerish likely lads (Dexter Fletcher and Max Irons) holed up in a filthy flat waiting for the nod on a job.

Annie also works the night shift as a waitress in a station’s greasy spoon. One night, in walks a suicidal English teacher (Simon Pegg) who planned to throw himself on to the tracks but missed the last train and is waiting for the 4.04am. The pair’s pretentious philosophising about life and death is almost as dull as the script’s double-crosses and pointless cat and mouse games, brazenly pinched from better movies.

In the past couple of years, ex-Neighbours star Robbie has become Hollywood’s go-to for unpredictable badasses, female characters who do the unthinkable and say the unsayable (Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad; disgraced Olympic skater Tonya Harding in I, Tonya). But while her performance here is game – borderline unhinged at times – her swallowed-a-lightbulb star wattage is wasted in a film that no one would argue advances the representation of women on screen.


Cath Clarke

The GuardianTramp

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