“Having OCD Was Probably Never So Awesome.”
Boyhood ran for 2 hours and 45 minutes, and after awhile it felt as if Richard Linklater had it in for me because what started out as an interesting theatrical experiment devolved into a bizarre and inhumane form of punishment.
By way of comparison, Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer ran for an hour and half, yet felt significantly shorter.
Now, to be fair, no people are killed in Boyhood–though there should have been at least one death, especially during what I like to call the ‘chainsaw blade scene’–but the violence in The Equalizer more often than not happened to people that deserved it, so it came off as cathartic, as opposed to gratuitous (which isn’t to say that there wasn’t a lot of it).
In fact, it’s odd to see a movie where the audience is actively rooting for someone to kill someone else, which wasn’t uncommon (at least at the showing I caught).
Part of what made Denzel Washington’s portrayal of Robert McCall so interesting is that the character has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which means that he’s developed quite a few repetitive behaviors and rituals, the point being that his condition was what made him such an efficient killer.
I have read reviews that compared this tendency to that of Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbach) in the BBC’s Sherlock, though it’s not a valid comparison because in the case of Sherlock you’re watching a representation of a mental process Holmes is going through to arrive at a certain conclusion, while in the case of McCall you’re looking at him plot the motion of what physical action he’s about to commit to.
The Equalizer, based upon a CBS television series that aired in 1985, starring Edward Woodward, moves briskly and almost feels like a guilty pleasure of sorts, which isn’t a bad thing.