One of the things I like quite a lot about Ben Kingsley is that he really just seems to enjoy making movies. Here we have a guy who has been in critically acclaimed pieces for decades, like Gandhi and Schindler’s List, and even last year was in one of the biggest blockbusters (Iron Man 3), and yet, if there’s a role he just wants to do, he does it. A Common Man definitely understands the lifeline it’s been thrown by having Kingsley involved, and as such, all material regarding the movie features Kingsley head blown up to enormous proportions on the cover with little else. Which is fair enough, I would too.
A Common Man is reportedly a remake of a 2008 Indian movie (titled ‘A Wednesday’) and I’ll take their word for that. Kingsley plays an unnamed, mysterious terrorist who hides 5 bombs throughout a city in Sri Lanka, and warns that he will detonate them one at a time unless certain prisoners are released. While this is a plot that would work well normally, and especially by being set in Sri Lanka, which is represented lightly in western film, the simple fact is that nobody can keep up with Kingsley, and while he is therefore good, the lack of talent in other aspects of the feature just kill whatever tension might have been.
The most egregious example of this is with the basic dialogue. For those who don’t know, scenes are often shot and dialogue recorded separately in films, with the dialogue dubbed on later to keep it clean and audible. Whoever did that job for this movie failed miserably at that simple task, and left half the dialogue an inaudible, out of place mess that distracts and causes laughter much more than it supposedly would tense us up.
A Common Man attempts some fun twists, but never really had a chance at bringing the audience into its world for us to enjoy it. Maybe it will have a remake of a remake one day, and we’ll see what can be done with this plot, for now it doesn’t do much here.