Salma Hayek shines in a tough role as a long-time slave used for various purposes by an awful crime syndicate who catch her trying to escape. The controlled setting (a vast, luxurious apartment and parts of the building) is intriguing, but the content makes ensuing gory experience very excruciating. You know things are going to be bad with character names like “The Sadist” and “The Masochist”.
After the settings have been mopped and cleaned, Everly remains an extremely violent action-thriller that misses the balance of an audience’s tolerance of violent content and visceral, survivalist drama as the central character fights for her life. Audiences are always more demanding and expecting more excitement, but the tolerance of watching human suffering reaches high levels here that I never care to see again.
Filmmakers do not use flashbacks to show Everly’s internal thoughts and motivations. Audiences soon realize she knows the people (and visceral dogs) and the place well, as her character builds in extreme situations. The script by Yale Hannon and Joe Lynch (who also directs) adds Everly’s family, other nearby women in similar situations and a wounded man, played by Akie Kotabe, to give Everly some company as she continues to battle the invading army ordered to end her by the head of the crime syndicate.
We see Everly’s resolve in Hayek’s impressive performance. She is credible on all sides in her role as Everly, especially the physical demands were her fighting and weapons (Sais, Uzis, etc.) expertise is gradually revealed… and her action movie background (Once Upon a Time in Mexico, etc.) helps too.
Filmmakers miss opportunities and essentials here, which is partially offset by Hayek’s believable performance causing audience to forgo questions like where did Everly get her considerable fighting skills? Did she help fight off rival gangs at first as a loyal member before she was seemingly mistreated? Past situations have resulted in a maximized gang with seemingly endless resources to fulfill the high violence and body count requirements all driven by one ruthless leader.
Filmmakers can be commended for creating a framework with constant tension surrounding Everly’s survival and endurance with great sound and solid cinematography. The situations are realistic. Invading enemies want to please their boss and score a kill, so fear for their own life puts any perceived caution into the wind. They showcase her will, her strength, which echoes how a person would the save life of loved one by lifting the car that’s crushing them. Everly’s progressive words throughout the plot give audiences some hope, but I never really get to know Everly as much as I would want to. Hayek’s persona helps boosts the emotional aspects of the film giving audiences a character you actually cared about…well, a star you actually care about. Everly (*1/2 out of four stars) was shot in Belgrade, Serbia and is rated R for strong bloody violence, torture, nudity, sexual images and language.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler