This is like watching a grown man finally learn the alphabet. It's an achievement, but he still can't read.
I felt like the movie was half baked, like there was a serious point it was trying to make, but didn't have the cinematic chops to make that point work withing the context of the narrative. Technically it reminded me of something I would've watched in film class from a fellow filmmaker who didn't really belong there...ham-fisted is what comes to mind.
It was like Smith trying to channel Tarantino (insane tone changes, characters coming in and out of the story, self aware and lengthy dialogue, religious musings, lots of violence) and doing it...I wont say badly, because it's pretty much his best film, but he does a poor job of imitating a master.
It's certainly watchable and has some interesting things going on in it, but it's too inept and doesn't really go anywhere.
As an aside, I'm currently in the middle of reading Smith's new book. He explains some of his decision making regarding retirement, and I can sort of see why he's doing it. He reasons that he's only got dick and fart movies in him, and that he's tired of doing those, and rather than become a studio journeyman director (Warners offered him plenty of directing assignments), he said he'd rather retire from filmmaking and become an "artist", whatever that means (he doesn't really specify). He says he's had 20 years and is amazed he got that far, and honestly I'm amazed he made it that far too...but he's not a very talented filmmaker, so I'm not going to miss him.
Edited by Ambler - 7/21/12 at 3:23pm