xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
The "Up" documentaries, they're called. Every seven years, the British director Michael Apted revisits a group of people whose lives he has been chronicling since they were children. As he chats with them about how things are going, his films penetrate to the central mystery of life, asking the same questions that Wim Wenders poses in "Wings of Desire": Why am I me and why not you? Why am I here and why not there?
They also strike me as an inspired, even noble, use of the film medium. No other art form can capture so well the look in an eye, the feeling in an expression, the thoughts that go unspoken between the words. To look at these films, as I have every seven years, is to meditate on the astonishing fact that man is the only animal that knows it lives in time.
"The child is father of the man," Wordsworth wrote. That seems literally true as we look at these films. The 7-year-olds already reveal most of the elements, good and bad, that flower in later life. Sometimes there are surprises; a girl who is uptight and morose at 21, vowing never to marry, blossoms in the later films into a cheerful wife and mother.
And consider Neil, who for most followers of the series has emerged as the most compelling character. He was a brilliant but pensive boy, who at 7 said he wanted to be a bus driver, so he could tell the passengers what to look for out the windows; he saw himself in the driver's seat, a tour guide for the lives of others. What career would you guess for him? An educator? A politician?