January 30, 2024
by Carla Hay
Directed by Kimani Ray Smith
Culture Representation: Taking place in the United States, in 2006 and in 2023, the action film “The Painter” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few African Americans and Asians) representing the working-class and middle-class.
Culture Clash: A former CIA operative, who has changed his identity to become a reclusive painter, is being hunted by various people and has his past come back to haunt him when he gets a visitor who says she’s the daughter of his ex-wife.
Culture Audience: “The Painter” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and don’t mind watching mindless action movies.
“The Painter” is such inept garbage, this forgettable action flick about CIA agents doesn’t have any international CIA activities in its main plot. What you’ll see is a lot of bad acting and supporting actor Jon Voight in some laughable disguises. This is one of those time-wasting movies that just has a bunch of chase scenes and fight scenes around a messy, nonsensical plot until the movie reaches a very predictable ending.
Directed by Kimani Ray Smith and written by Brian Buccellato, “The Painter” (which takes place in the United States but was filmed in British Columbia, Canada) begins in 2006, by showing a botched undercover CIA mission. CIA operative Peter Barrett (played by Charlie Weber) is married to another CIA operative named Elena Maran (played by Rryla McIntosh), and they are each working on an undercover case that they have kept secret from each other.
Peter is the adopted son of a single father named Henry Byrne (played by Jon Voight), a retired CIA operative who now works for the CIA as a consultant. The only times that Henry seems to show up in the movie is when he’s wearing these cheap-looking disguises and tries to fool Peter into thinking that Henry is someone else. Flashbacks show that when Peter was about 11 or 12 years old, he was adopted from an unnamed European country by Henry, after Peter’s parents were killed in a terrorist attack. The attack bizarrely left Peter with hyper-sensitive hearing, almost like a superhero.
In 2006, Peter is in the midst of busting the leader of a crime ring. When it comes time to eliminate Peter’s chief target (played by Doug Chapman) in a dark parking garage somewhere in the U.S., Peter finds out that Elena (who shows up in the same parking garage with her team) has been looking for the same target, but she has opposite motives. Peter has been ordered to kill his target, while Elena says that the target needs to be arrested and kept alive because he’s a key witness for her case.
A shootout ensues. Elena, who is about eight or nine months pregnant, is shot by the target and ends up in a hospital. She is told that her baby did not survive, and she had an emergency operation that has now prevented her from ever getting pregnant again. This traumatic experience eventually ends the marriage of Peter and Elena.
The movie then fast-forwards to 2023. Peter (who still looks the same 17 years later) is now a reclusive painter in an unnamed U.S. city, where he lives in a remote wooded area. He has changed his name and identity to Mark Nicholson. A 17-year-old girl named Sophia (played by Madison Bailey) suddenly shows up at the dive bar where Peter/Mark sells some of his paintings. Sophia, who says she is Elena’s daughter, seems to know who Peter really is, but he denies knowing who Peter Barrett is and insists that his name is Mark Nicholson.
Peter soon finds out that several other people are looking for him because they think he has classified data that he stole when he was a CIA operative. They include a smirking assassin named Ghost (played by Max Montesi), tough-talking CIA section chief Naomi Piasecki (played by Marie Avgeropoulos) and special CIA special agent Kim (played Luisa d’Oliveira), who is very subservient to Naomi. It all leads to chase scenes and shootouts, with Peter’s super-sensitive hearing being a ridiculous and ultimately unnecessary part of the story. “The Painter” is just an embarrassment for everyone involved.
Paramount Global Content Distribution released “The Painter” in select U.S. cinemas on January 5, 2024. The movie was released on digital and VOD on January 9, 2024.