John Wick and The Importance of Details

The John Wick Movies are one of those few action franchises that's beloved by both critics and moviegoers alike, and one of the biggest reasons for this is that it’s clear the creators were incredibly attentive to detail and committed to realism. Part of this is that Keanu Reeves, as a gun aficionado himself, easy sells the idea that his character is very practiced at shooting people, but the success of the series goes well beyond one actor’s bona fides. Gunshots sound as they would in real life in the John Wick movies, the fighting is choreographed perfectly, and John Wick is genuinely exhausted and beat up by all of it. All in all, from the top down the John Wick movies are meant to display a real person who is genuinely skilled as his craft operating in a real environment. However, today I wanted to draw attention to a minor moment in the second movie of the series that nevertheless shows just how attentive and careful those who crafted it were.

At one point around the middle of the movie, John Wick is shot just above his waist on the right side of his body. As is expected, he beings to bleed, soaking his white dress shirt and putting him in serious danger. However, he manages to make it to a person who can save his life and stitch him up just in time, and after a few minutes of low-action film time to give him (and probably us) some time to coalesce from the preceding brutality, he’s back on his feet with a whole body and a pristine new suit. All is well, and in any other movie the wound would have essentially never happened, and never would have surfaced again.

However, here’s a shot of him at the end of the film:

The wound from earlier has returned! It's important to note that Wick hasn't been shot there again over the course of the movie's ending, so this is the original gunshot wound that's bleeding through his shirt now. While at first glance this might seem like a sloppy mistake, it's actually evidence of a devotion to realism and an incredible eye for details. After all, by the time of the movie's finale it's only been a few hours since he was sewn back together. Given that he spends those hours accomplishing the minorly strenuous task of fighting his way through a gauntlet of elite assassins, how could the wound not reopen? It's a minor detail, one that's easy to miss in the helter-skelter of the film's last hour or so, but it's minor details like these that reveal the dedication of the filmmakers.

This is, of course, a minor detail, which means that by definition it probably doesn't seem like much. There have been great action that don't take care to make sure stitches rupture in a profoundly realistic way. However, you can read a lot about a movie and the people that made it from details like this, and in a movie like John Wick, that is very much concerned with how an elite hitman would operate in the real world, these details are central to the entire artistic project. Things like stitches tearing realistically are crucially important, because it's often such small details that separate reality from fantasy. The fact that people lauded John Wick for its realism and incredible quality prove that details like this one had an effect. People notice these small touches, and this one contributed to the incredibly good impressions that the second John Wick movie made on casual viewers and critics alike. People noticed. They just might not have noticed that they noticed. 

With excitement and optimism,

Alex