“Spencer Confidential” was directed by Peter Berg and is based on the 2013 novel, “Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland”. The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Winston Duke, Alan Arkin, Bokeem Woodbine, Iliza Shlesinger, Marc Maron & Post Malone. This marks the 5th film that Berg directed that Wahlberg starred in following “Lone Survivor”, “Deepwater Horizon”, “Patriot’s Day” & “Mile 22”. The film was released exclusively on Netflix.
After serving 5 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, former Boston police officer, Spencer (Wahlberg), is released and picked up by his longtime friend, Henry Cimoli (Arkin) and returns home and meets Henry’s new tenant, Hawk (Duke), a ex-con looking to start an MMA career. Spencer’s old partner, Driscoll (Woodbine), comes to question him about the mysterious death of their old Captain, the same man who framed him 5 years ago. Later that day, another police officer is killed and linked to the Captain’s murder. Spencer originally, investigated the disappearance of informants to a case involving dirty cops, crooked politicians & local gang members. However, Spencer was framed for asking questions & the 2 officers were killed. Now, Spencer & Hawk make a vow to the officer’s widow that they clear his name seeing that was trying to do the same thing that Spencer was doing 5 years earlier but their dangerous investigation leads to an old fashioned showdown at the race track known as “Wonderland”.
Peter Berg’s film are known for gritty action especially with Mark Wahlberg in the lead role. His charisma and acting carries the film. He also has a great deal a chemistry with both Winston Duke and Alan Arkin. Duke also gives a great performance. My main issue with the film is the cliche and very predictable storyline. The plot of dirty cops and corrupt politicians plays out as it should and since I’ve seen that before, many times, its becomes a bit of bore despite the great performances. Another issue is a not so great antagonist performance. Its another cliche and becomes just as predictable as the storyline. Berg does capture the look and feel of Boston but its the storytelling that is really off.
Overall, this was a run of the mill dirty cop crime drama. Great performances from the 2 leads doesn’t help the cliches and predictability. Mark Wahlberg and Winston Duke are great and the direction is good but the storyline is formulaic and bland. This is the least entertaining film of the Berg / Wahlberg collaborations but still entertaining.