Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Movie Review: The Skulls 2 ½ Stars

Townie Luke McNamara (Joshua Jackson) works several demeaning part-time jobs to put himself through Yale and is desperately hoping to get into the Skulls, a powerful secret society that is rumored to pay for its members law school tuition. When he gets in, an immediate rift erupts between Luke, his roommate Will (Hill Harper) and the girl Luke pines for, Chloe (Leslie Bibb).

Luke, however, is consumed with Skull initiation rites and his Skull brother and “soulmate,” Caleb Mandrake, the son of Judge Litten Mandrake (Craig T. Nelson), a Skull himself. As it turns out, Will has been investigating the Skulls for an in-depth newspaper expose. Caleb discovers this with unwittingly lethal results. Litten Mandrake and the Skulls launch a massive cover-up, which Luke uncovers, putting his and Chloe’s lives in danger.

If you are willing to completely suspend disbelief, forgive gaping plot holes and discount painful exposition, The Skulls is probably a thoroughly entertaining film. As a matter of fact, I was entertained even though I was unwilling to pardon any of the movie’s numerous problems.

I suppose this stands as a testament to director Rob Cohen’s prowess and the hearty performances of the cast, but regardless, The Skulls is problematic. The premise hinges on accepting that a powerful secret society could so easily be unraveled by a college newspaper reporter and a member with a conscience. If they were as powerful as we are led to believe, the murder/accident would be easily buried, hush-hushed and swept under the rug, while Luke would be quickly and quietly “silenced.” This is, after all, the secret society that birthed the CIA during World War II.

And a quick memo to Hollywood--no matter how in love or how hot-and-bothered or how close in proximity to a shower, people don’t have sex when they are being chased by a brotherhood of gun-toting hooligans.

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