Directed by Joe Lynch
In describing Everly, Joe Lynch’s ultra-violent revenge romp starring Salma Hayek, some have been quick to compare it to Die Hard, if only for its Christmas setting and, well, ‘cause it takes place in a tall building. If you’re Lynch, there is also an undercurrent of “Dogme 95” throughout the film, with the director professing before the screening I attended that the film has a very Lars von Trier feel to it.
None of this is true and is little more than a desperate attempt at assigning to the film a point that goes beyond the gratuitous violence and boob jiggling that unfolds over ninety minutes.
Everly opens with the aftermath of what we can only presume is a vicious gang rape on the title character. As we quickly learn, Everly (Hayek) has turned into an informant against Taiko, the mob boss to whom she has been enslaved for the better part of the past four years, and he is none too happy. With a $50,000 bounty on her head, her attempts at leaving the large apartment to bring a bag of money to her mother and young daughter to start a new life are thwarted at every turn by a seemingly endless barrage of hookers, mobsters, and other miscellaneous assassins brandishing pistols, machine guns, shotguns, and in the case of one oddly well-prepared prostitute, a pair of sai.
Little time is spent on getting to know these characters before Everly is thrown headfirst into madness. After dispatching those that raped her with a handful of well-placed gunshots, she is quickly attacked by a quartet of hookers, one of which brandishes the aforementioned sais. And then a guy with a shotgun. And so on and so forth until the apartment is a mess of bloodied bodies. It’s never boring, and the action scenes are fast-paced and creative enough to keep things from becoming stale too quickly.
Much of this is due to Lynch’s fluid direction, the camera moving swiftly and with ease throughout the confined space of the apartment and its hallways. It gives a very unique and, dare I say, fun feel to the excessive violence, though his tendency to find every opportunity to highlight Hayek’s cleavage, however impressive it may be, bordered on the egregious. Even simple, quiet moments, such as lighting a cigarette for an injured mobster, are met with a clear view of her swaying chest. It’s hard to create a strong female lead when much of her screen time is spent being objectified, especially when the impetus for everything is a gang rape.
Everly is a serviceable film, providing enough crazy, over-the-top action to entertain you in spite of its ridiculous story. In a weird way it has a companion piece in the forthcoming Keanu Reeves film John Wick. Both feature insane amounts of gunplay and violence with blood spraying with purpose from the heads of multiple victims; however, whereas Wick dispenses story in favor of a tight and efficient action film, Everly tries to shoehorn one in, in what is a mostly misguided attempt at giving credence to the title character’s struggle. A solid revenge film would have sufficed, if only because Lynch all too often strays from the action in an attempt to tug at the heartstrings.
Though not a horror film, it’s got enough bloody violence, filled to the brim with severed heads, disembowelment via acid, and blood-spurting arteries, that those who like their action filled with gore will get a kick out it.