Roger Donaldson is the kind of director who fascinates me. He’s not a great filmmaker by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s not a complete hack either. He’s the sort of workmanlike guy who keeps Hollywood going; he has made some good movies and one that I would consider actually great (Thirteen Days), and they’re all spread out across genres in a way that seems to make no sense on paper. Species to Thirteen Days is a weird jump, even with the bland Dante’s Peak right in the middle of them.
Donaldson has made some real shit as well – The Recruit is borderline unwatchable – but mostly he keeps chugging along making films that are nobody’s favorites, that win no awards, that make no top ten lists. Donaldson’s latest film, The Bank Job, is like the living embodiment of his work to date: enjoyable, doesn’t feel too out of place in the modern world of filmmaking, utterly forgettable. It’s worth noting that I have seen every single movie Donaldson has made since 1984, yet I would have a hard time telling you what made up the Roger Donaldson ouevre without consulting IMDB.
Now Donaldson’s tackling a paranoid thriller. The movie is Umbra, and details of the plot remain sketchy. All we know is ‘paranoid thriller,’ ‘Roger Donaldson,’ and ‘Relativity Media.’ Prediction: it’ll be a mid-budget movie starring some people we like but who aren’t huge draws and it will be enjoyable to sit through and then you’ll forget it was even released in whatever year it comes out.