A former war general attempts to become the titular type in this drama from writer-director Brad Silberling.
When the former Yugoslavia was brought down, the war generals responsible for a series of massacres and genocide were brought to justice. All except one. The only one remaining has been in hiding since the end of the country, protected by his most loyal supporters. However, his attempts to lead an ordinary life is constantly threatened and results in his constant moving. When he is forced to hide again, he meets Tanya, a young maid who has now become in his service.
At first, things don’t go well for Tanya and the General. They do not get along and the General feels he must try to drive the maid out so he can go about his business. However, as he gets to learn more about her, a bond slowly forms between the two. It gets to a point where the General feels like he can trust Tanya. That is, until one fateful night at a party where Tanya reveals herself to be the latest agent in charge to protect the General. The General decides to make a decision that could change both of their lives forever, all in an attempt to become an ordinary man.
Brad Silberling is quite an interesting talent behind the cameras. While he has delved into the work of television, his film work has shown his versatility, from directing the 1995 adaptation of the Harvey Comics character Casper to the drama Moonlight Mile in 2002, based on a tragic event in his real-life. For this film, Silberling has crafted a film about a war criminal’s attempt to live an ordinary life and yet finds himself constantly under threat for his past actions, thus hindering him from leading such an ordinary life. To add some fuel to the fire, the film is also a conversation between said man and his new maid, who is both repulsed and has a connection to him, not in the romantic sense, but in a mutual kind of way.
Ben Kingsley is great to watch as the General, the war criminal in hiding who attempts to become the “ordinary man” of the title. When we first see him, he is at a local grocery store testing vegetables out only to learn the shopkeeper is being robbed. The General decides to take matters in his own hands and knock out the robber. While walking out of the store, he finds himself taken learning he has been compromised. What is interesting here is that his protection may seem worried that the General may get caught, but it is clear their actions prove they can be as brutal as the General once was when they practically force him into the getaway car and take drastic measures to ensure the General’s protection.
Hera Hilmar brings grounded reality to the role of Tanya, the maid who becomes the General’s only way to lead an ordinary life. Not so much because of the revelation of who she really is, but she is the only one capable of bringing the General down to reality. The General clearly thrives on his past actions and his blunt way of conversation. However, Tanya clearly shows she is not one to back down and while she does have a sense to put on a front at first, her true colors slowly become revealed and thus, shows that the General, thinking he still has some sort of power, may have someone who has not only outsmarted him in a sense, but actually shows a sense of respect for her.
An Ordinary Man is a look at a war criminal’s attempt to live a regular life but finds himself constantly under fire and even more so, finds himself outwitted and respecting someone he never expected to be in his life. Kingsley and Hilmar have great chemistry in terms of attempting to outsmart each other and ultimately respect each other.
WFG RATING: B+
Saban Films presents an Enderby Entertainment production in association with Lavender Pictures and Reveal Entertainment. Director: Brad Silberling. Producers: Brad Silberling, Ben Kingsley, and Rick Dugdale. Writer: Brad Silberling. Cinematography: Magdalena Górka. Editing: Leo Trombetta.
Cast: Ben Kingsley, Hera Hilmar, Peter Serafinowicz, Robert Blythe, Edmund Kingsley, Milorad Kapor, Marija Opsenica.
Saban Films will be releasing this film to select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on April 13.