Synopsis: Two distraught mothers, whose children were gunned down in a drive-by, team up to avenge their deaths after local authorities fail to take action.
Release Date: July 17, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Drama, Thriller
When it comes to playing mothers, Viola Davis has had a rough couple of years. In Prisoners, her character’s daughter was abducted. Now, in Lila & Eve, her son is murdered.
Lila & Eve stars Davis as Lila, a woman who, having just lost her son, Stephon (The Maze Runner‘s Aml Ameen in flashbacks), joins a support group for mothers whose children have been killed by senseless street violence. In the group, she meets Eve (Jennifer Lopez from Parker and The Back-Up Plan), who agrees to be Lila’s sponsor in order to help her through this rough time in her life. When the police, led by Detective Holliston (Shea Whigham from Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle), seem to be dragging their feet on trying to solve Stephon’s murder, Eve convinces Lila that they should take the law into their own hands, and the pair forms a two-woman posse of vigilante justice. They soon find themselves in over their heads when they learn that Stephon’s murder was not just a random drive-by shooting. Lila and Eve just need to hope that they can survive long enough to track down Stephon’s killer before Detective Holliston figures out what they’re up to.
Directed by Charles Stone III (Drumline, Mr. 3000) from a script by Pat Gilfillan (the writer’s only produced credit), Lila & Eve is a campy throwback to the vigilante movies of the eighties. Just don’t say that to its face, because it actually thinks that it’s a tense street thriller. Now, it’s not exactly Thelma & Louise, but that comparison is inevitable. In reality, it’s more like Shaft with Thelma and Louise as the main characters. If that sounds weird, well it is, but that doesn’t mean the movie isn’t full of pulpy fun. It is, but just because something is fun doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good.
The titular main characters of Lila & Eve find themselves in a typical fish-out-of-water buddy-cop scenario, forced to play both private detective and criminal in order to achieve their goals. At times it’s engrossing, but mostly it’s just routine; there’s not much in the plot to Lila & Eve that viewers haven’t seen before, or seen done better. Even the big climactic twist, which the film presents as a huge shock, is something that audiences have seen over and over again in better movies. For those who like to see the bad guys get their just deserts, Lila & Eve is good for some brainless action, but it’s not good for much else.
For what it is, Lila & Eve is pretty well cast. Neither Jennifer Lopez nor Viola Davis are action stars, and neither of them really pretends to be, but they both hold their own as pissed-off and fed-up moms. Although everyone carries their weight individually, where the cast really shines is when they are interacting onscreen together. Lopez and Davis have a comfortable tension about their conversations, sort of like Lopez playing the part of the devil-in-the-ear of Davis. Lopez’s Eve plays brilliantly off of the insecurities and doubts of Davis’ Lila, and while one can’t really call it fun to watch, it certainly is intriguing. Viola Davis also has a great chemistry with Shea Whigham, who plays Detective Holliston. Holliston has suspicions about Lila’s motives and behavior, and constantly gauges her reactions to their discussions, while Lila keeps up her guard while still playing the grieving mother. Both Davis and Whigham play their parts well, but the two performances together are off the charts. The supporting cast is hit-and-miss, but in a movie like Lila & Eve, all you really need is some solid give-and-take amongst the principals to put on a good show.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Charles Stone III
- Producer(s): Damian GanczewskiDarrin ReedSara Risher
- Screenwriter(s): Pat Gilfillan
- Cast: Jennifer Lopez (Eve)Viola Davis (Lila)Aml Ameen (Stephon) Shea Whigham (Holliston)Andre Royo (Skaketti)Chris Chalk (Alonzo)Michole Briana White (Mae)Marisela Zumbado (Joie)Julius Tennon (Ben)Rey Hernandez (Ojeda)Yolonda Ross (Patrice)Gino Vento (Aza Colon)
- Editor(s): Robert K. Lambert
- Cinematographer: Wyatt Garfield
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer: Ane Crabtree
- Casting Director(s): Tracy KilpatrickVictoria Thomas
- Music Score: Samuel Jones
- Music Performed By: Alexis Marsh
- Country Of Origin: USA