‘Asher’ shows off the best of Ron Perl­man

The Kansas City Star - - Fyi Movies - BY RICK BENT­LEY Tri­bune News Ser­vice

As soon as Ron Perl­man (“Sons of An­ar­chy”) read Jay Zaret­sky’s script for “Asher,” he knew it was a char­ac­ter he wanted to play. Perl­man’s in­stincts were not wrong, as “Asher” is a cap­ti­vat­ing char­ac­ter study pre­sented with an equal amount of ethos and pathos.

Asher is a former Mos­sad agent who has spent most of his life killing peo­ple for money. He lives a sparse, struc­tured life where his time is di­vided be­tween work and his in­ter­est in cook­ing. But he soon re­al­izes he can no longer trust the com­fort­able world he has built around him­self.

Against his bet­ter judg­ment, Asher be­gins to have feel­ings for So­phie (Famke Janssen), a woman he got to know after a meet-cute that would only be ap­pre­ci­ated by the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Hired Killers.

He knows the only way he can have love in his life is to erase the man he has been and be­come some­one new.

Perl­man is one of the few ac­tors who can play an evil char­ac­ter but still make him sym­pa­thetic.

In one scene, Asher tracks So­phie down at the dance stu­dio where she works. Only a faint smile crosses his face, but it is enough to show a glimpse of the man Asher could be­come if he can sur­vive.

Zaret­sky’s di­a­logue is ca­sual ban­ter a cou­ple might share on a first date. The only dif­fer­ence is Asher strug­gles with re­veal­ing too much about him­self. At the same time, So­phie is deal­ing with her own prob­lems that in­clude tak­ing care of her mother (Jacque­line Bis­set, who is par­tic­u­larly good).

But the sim­plic­ity in di­rec­tor Michael Ca­tonJones’ tale about a man look­ing to re­de­fine his con­cept of right and wrong is pow­er­ful enough to carry the movie.

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