Movie Review: Spenser Confidential

By Andrew McManus

Directed by Peter Berg

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Winston Duke, Alan Arkin, Iliza Shlesnger, Bokeem Woodbine, Post Malone

Runtime: 111 minutes

Rating: R (for violence, language throughout and sexual content)

Release Date: March 6th, 2020

Streaming Options: Netflix

First and foremost I hope everyone is being safe. Like I said last week this column has now changed. You would think to have ANY movie at my hands to review it would be an easy pick. This was my hardest. I originally was going to pick an animated film. (That will be next week!) Scrolling through Netflix I noticed a new addition. they now have “ratings” (top 10 in the US) I saw this film and saw it starred Mark Wahlberg. It was #3 on the list of top US films currently so I fired it up. I then noticed the director Peter Berg. Wahlberg and Berg and collaborated together in 5 films including this one. They’ve worked on Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, Patriots Day, and Mile 22. From the list, it’s obvious the films are hit or miss. I was hesitant going in but wanted to find a “classic” action film you could sit down and turn off everything going on for a couple of hours. On a side note, this is based on a novel called Wonderland by Ace Atkins on characters created, namely Spenser.

Onto the film.

We open with Spenser (Wahlberg) being taken off to prison. He has attacked his superior (as a Boston police officer) this isn’t just a typical fistfight. He nearly kills the man. His partner Driscoll (Woodbine) tries to stop him. The damage is done and he’s arrested and taken to prison for 5 years. We meet him as he’s about to get out. He speaks with a fellow inmate named Squeeb (Malone) who has a going-away present for him. A fight ensues.

As Spenser is released he reconnects with his friend Henry (Arkin) and older man who he moves in with. The person he DOES NOT want to see is his former lover Cissy (Shlesinger) She wasn’t too thrilled with him going to prison and destroyed all of his stuff. She brings flowers to greet him but he gets away before she sees him. A cat and mouse between the two plays throughout and adds plenty of laughs. We then meet Spensers soon to be partner Hawk(Duke) Fans will remember him from Black Panther. I personally thought he was the best of the group. He portrayed his character as humble and at times timid which was surprising for such a large man.

I won’t delve too much more into the plot. Let’s just say a conspiracy is in place and people are dying. Of course, Spenser is getting the blame. I had hopes this wouldn’t be your typical cookie-cutter shoot-em-up. It is. While there is plenty of laughs and the chemistry between the cast flows (especially Duke and Wahlberg) this film falls flat for me.

Our villain, who I won’t spoil, is your wooden “villain” He doesn’t have the sinister mustache but his motives are thin as is most of this plot. The saving grace in all this is Wahlberg. Yet he’s playing Mark Wahlberg. Throughout the previous 4 films the star and director have produced together it has had its ups and downs. I feel like this is one of the weaker entries. The good news is. If you already have a Netflix subscription it’s included with the other films and tv series currently available. So give it a watch if you’ve been scrolling for 15 minutes with nothing to watch (it happens) but don’t expect any Oscar nominations. I’m curious on my readers take on this. Would you prefer I started a tv-series and we can go week to week until the “stay-at-home” order has passed? I ALMOST started with Westworld (HBO series) which I love. I’m open to your suggestions. Like I said give Spenser a watch but it’s one you’ll watch once and be done with it. We will try again next week! Stay safe. 2 stars out of 5 #ATHOMEREVIEWS

By Andrew McManus