Bent feels like a movie we’ve all seen a million times before, assuming you watch films about cops who get framed for something they didn’t do and spend most of their time afterward trying to either prove their innocence or get revenge against the people who wronged them. Sometimes, a bigger conspiracy is unraveled, as is the case here. It’s a dime-a-dozen project, and even if it’s not bad on a technical level, it offers little of value for prospective viewers.
The cop in this case is Danny (Karl Urban), who does a job which winds up killing another police officer and lands him in prison. After getting out, he seeks to find get revenge against the real villains. We only really have his word for it, but he’s the protagonist and seems like a good guy, so we’ll roll with it. His quest eventually becomes more than just that, as a government agent (Sofía Vergara) gets involved, and a bigger conspiracy is uncovered. A muddled one you won’t care about, but a conspiracy nonetheless.
If any of that sounds interesting to you, then maybe Bent will be worth your time. Also, congratulations on watching your first cop movie. It’s sure to be a fun ride. The truth is that Bent is such a generic thriller that it struggles from its first moment to even moderately increase your heart rate. Chances are, it’s not going to succeed. Once you know what the story outline is—and you already do if you’ve read up to this point—you can pretty much guess, beat for beat, how it’s going to play out.
Okay, so if the story isn’t anything special, something like Bent would need a different attribute to make it stand out. Great characters for whom we can root, thematic depth that’ll make us think, or maybe great action scenes to get our heart racing where the lacking-in-thrills story fails. It doesn’t have any of that, unfortunately. The characters are all archetypes, there’s almost no thematic depth, and the only action happens in its last 20 minutes, well past the point at which you’ll have stopped caring.
On the other hand, it doesn’t look like a cheap, direct-to-video movie. It has strong production values, some pretty decent acting, and good cinematography. It’s nice to see Karl Urban get a leading role, regardless of what it’s in, and he tries to make something out of a largely bland character. Sofía Vergara is fine, and Andy Garcia gets a few solid scenes. Bobby Moresco both directed and wrote the screenplay—adapted from a J.P. O’Donnell novel—and while the direction is solid, it’s really the screenplay that lets the production down. Almost all of its problem stem from that, and how bland and generic everything that’s been shot feels.
Bent is Every Disgraced Cop Movie Ever, which gives it such a bland, uninspired feel. The screenplay is filled with cliches and generic moments, beats, and characters. The acting is good, and the film looks solid, but it has nothing in it remotely interesting. It’s doesn’t have the story, characters, themes, or action that would make it even remotely involving for us.
Conclusion: Bent feels like a few dozen other, better movies, and does nothing to distinguish itself from the pack.
Recommendation: While it’s technically sound, there’s no reason to seek out Bent unless you’re a huge fan of cop movies.