The Mother (2023) Movie Review – Netflix stinker comes in all guns blazing but has no heart

Netflix stinker comes in all guns blazing but has no heart

Every now and then, Netflix will turn up a film like The Mother, sucking away all joy from life. With it, the belief that it has reached a saturation point, at least for some kind of films.

Lately, we have seen many high-status celebs donning the role of stoic, emotionally unavailable expert gunmen. Mary Elizabeth Winstead (in Kate), Elsa Pataky (in Interceptor), and Karen Gillian (in Gunpowder Milkshake) are all interlinked with The Mother and Jennifer Lopez. Each of these films are led quite well by these actresses who look cool while wielding guns and killing multiple men with relative ease and on the go. But all the films are all smoke and no fire, ergo, they are bad.

Ever since John Wick revolutionized modern cinema in the late 21st century, action films are always measured to that high standard. The language of cinema has drastically changed. Viewers have now become more demanding and critical in their assessment. And given how stuffed the action genre is with one-man-army characters, it seems unlikely that The Mother can change that.

Production houses must realize that such endeavours will not be embraced warmly – not anymore. From minute one in The Mother’s tedious runtime, we are headed forwards with one singular outcome: seeing Lopez as the titular character killing other people to “protect” her estranged daughter Zoe.

But whom does she need protecting from? It turns out that former evil lovers of The Mother have turned sour after she goes to the FBI to rat them out. She is encouraged to give up her newborn child (who grows up to be Zoe 12 years later) and live a life of isolation, waiting nervously for any misgivings from FBI Agent William Cruise. She saved Cruise’s life as Adrian Lovell came to kill her in the FBI safe house.

Cruise signals to Mother that Zoe has come under Hector Alvarez’s radar. Hector is the other bad guy. She comes out of hiding and frenetically scampers to save Zoe from these evil men.

Well, that is mostly about it from The Mother, with some more filler content in the form of useless weapons and survival training in Alaska. If watching the film was this bitter, reading the script would be an even bigger headache. No wonder Hollywood isn’t paying its writers enough money. There are cliches after cliches in The Mother.

The viewers have no respite from the endless predictability that is deeply off-putting. We travel almost half of the time in the movie’s run time, beckoning the question: why was the film so long?

The filler content is roughly half an hour if one sits down to attentively spot the laziness of the creators. The Mother could have literally been wrapped up in 80 minutes tops with non-stop action and little attempt to give the appearance of emotional exposition.

We all could have turned off our brains and dove straight into the action, quite like The Raid. But no, we have to sit through almost 2 hours of virtually non-existent emotional rollercoaster as director Niki Caro never acts on it. Exploring this aspect of the story could have turned the wheels somewhat. But it is as neglected as Jons (you probably don’t even know who he is: my point exactly).

Lopez definitely puts in the work and that must be appreciated. She disappears into a role that requires her to emote scarcely but emphatically. Lopez credibly maintains the hardened exterior and nails all of her action sequences, looking believable and menacing when on the move.

Lucy Paez, though, is torridly miscast. She is absolutely given no support from the writers and director, who paint him as this obnoxious 12-year-old who is always angry and crying and makes stupid decisions – even after all that training. None of the other actors are put to good use, except maybe Omari Hardwick for the first half.

The Mother is lazy filmmaking. It is the kind of film that respected filmmakers like Niki Caro do without thinking too much about. Remember Sian Heder’s cameo in HBO’s Barry in episode 4? Caro must be in that exact frame of mind as she revisits this blunder of a mistake in her illustrious career.

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  • Verdict - 4/10

1 thought on “The Mother (2023) Movie Review – Netflix stinker comes in all guns blazing but has no heart”

  1. “No wonder hollywood doesn’t pay its writers enough” Wow shameful. Perhaps they’re not writing masterpieces BECAUSE they’re not being reimbursed? Such a catty tone. The film wasn’t bad.

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