Hummingbird (film)

Hummingbird (released as Redemption in the United States) is a 2013 British action drama film written and directed by Steven Knight, in his feature film directorial debut, and starring Jason Statham.[4]

UK theatrical release poster
Directed bySteven Knight
Produced byGuy Heeley
Paul Webster
Written bySteven Knight
StarringJason Statham
Agata Buzek
Music byDario Marianelli
CinematographyChris Menges
Edited byValerio Bonelli
IM Global
Shoebox Films
Distributed byLionsgate
Roadside Attractions
Release date
  • 17 May 2013 (2013-05-17)
Running time
100 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom[2]
Box office$12,6 million[3]


Joseph Smith is a former Special Forces soldier who went AWOL from his unit while deployed in Afghanistan, and is now living as a homeless drunk in London. One night, he is attacked and chased by a group of thugs engaged in shaking down homeless people; he successfully hides by breaking into an apartment. Realizing that the residents are absent, he explores the flat and deduces that the owner, a successful photographer named Damon, is in New York City until the first of October - several months away. He decides to squat there until Damon returns, and establishes a new identity for himself: calling himself Joey Jones, wearing Damon's clothes, driving his car, and spending his time searching for his homeless friend Isabel, from whom he was separated some time before. He finds Damon's new debit card in the apartment mail, and begins stealing from him to fund a regimen of self-improvement. Meanwhile, Isabel has been coerced into becoming a prostitute by the same gang that attacked Joseph.

Joey is friends with Sister Cristina, a Polish nun who runs the local soup kitchen, and she helps him with antibiotics for the wounds he received in the fight with the thugs and information on Isabel's whereabouts. To deflect suspicion of Damon's neighbors, he tells them that he is Damon's boyfriend. To avoid using any more of Damon's money from the debit card, Joey gets a job at a Chinese restaurant. One night at work, the management call upon him to help deal with some rowdy diners. The fighting skill he displays brings him to the attention of senior manager Mr. Choy, who is connected to a London Chinese organized crime syndicate; he hires Joey as a driver and enforcer, tasked with collecting extorted payments and delivering drugs. He saves some of the money he receives and begins to do charitable work, ordering pizzas for the homeless at the soup kitchen and buying gifts for Cristina. The homeless begin calling him "Crazy Joe". He finds Dawn, his ex and mother of his young daughter, and starts giving her money.

Joey invites Cristina to dinner at a barbecue in the street behind the Chinese restaurant. Cristina attends, but shows him a police photo of Isabel, who had been beaten to death and thrown in the river. Joey becomes upset, but Cristina is able to calm him, and encourages him to start an honest life. He finds the street thugs who chased him away from Isabel and viciously beats them, interrogating them about Isabel's murder, acquiring a rough description of her killer. Joey meets Cristina at an art gallery showing off Damon's work, to give her this information to pass on to the police. She gets a bit tipsy, opens up to Joey, and they kiss. She tells him about a ballet ticket she has for the same date as when Damon is due to return.

The police eventually learn of Joey's activities, and begin questioning Cristina. Joey finds her later, and they share life stories. As a child, she was sexually abused by her gymnastics instructor in Warsaw, and eventually killed him. Being too young for prison, she was instead sent to a convent. Cristina is ashamed of her relationship with Joey, and asks her mother superior to be transferred to another mission in Sierra Leone. Joey continues his search for Isabel's killer, trading services with Mr. Choy's boss. He is given the keys to a truck with boxes containing Chinese victims of human trafficking to be delivered.

Meanwhile, Isabel's killer, Max Forrester, is savagely beating another hooker. A neighbor finds Max's invitation to a rooftop cocktail party, and the invitation finds its way to Joey, who had put the word out that he wanted information of someone fitting Max's description. The party is on the first of October.

Joey meets Cristina the day of the first of October. He asks her to take photos of him for his daughter, and he hints that he won't be the same for long. She tells him that she is leaving for Africa, and that she wants to be with him before she leaves; the last of her "crazy patch" she's going through, she says. The two consummate their relationship as the apartment's owner returns, and they escape through the back. She invites him to the ballet. He delivers the photos and a bag full of cash to his ex and daughter, who does not recognize him.

Cristina waits for Joey, but he goes to the rooftop cocktail party instead. He finds Max Forrester and throws him from the roof many stories down in front of the guests, killing him. Cristina leaves the ballet, still looking for Joey. She finds him drunk and sleeping on the curb near the ballet theatre. He reveals that he is wanted by the military police for court martial for a random revenge killing he carried out in Afghanistan in payback for the deaths of five of his men, who were slaughtered in front of him in a tank. He often has random hallucinations of the innocent man he hanged and hallucinates hummingbirds; as thus was what the aerial drones in Afghanistan were designated. He explains to her that when he is sober and functional, he hurts people, because that is what his training turned him into. Joey tells her that he is going to return to life as a wandering drunk because that way he doesn't hurt anybody, but not before he gives the police information on Mr. Choy's human trafficking operation.

The next day, Cristina is leaving for Africa, and receives a note from Joey. He has paid his debts with everyone and is homeless again. As he walks the streets, the police are closing in, and he is hunted by a surveillance drone similar to the one that witnessed his crimes in Afghanistan.



Hummingbird was almost entirely filmed at night. Filming sites included popular streets for homeless people, some of whom were involved in the shoot. Statham stated that before filming started some research was undertaken into the mental health issues of his character, including ex-servicemen asked about their experiences.

The Dartford Crossing is featured in Hummingbird twice – when Joey drives a van across the bridge and when a lorry approaches the toll.[5] The area around the Covent Garden Market was featured in several scenes. Among the buildings used was St Paul's and Royal Opera House.

The sound track features "Malka Moma", a Bulgarian folk style song, with lyrics and music by Neli Andreeva and Georgi Genov. The song is performed by the Bulgarian National Folk Ensemble "Philip Koutev". Neli Andreeva, choirmaster with the ensemble, is the soloist. [6]


Hummingbird was released in the United Kingdom, the United States (as Redemption) and France (as Crazy Joe) on 28 June 2013.[7]


Based on 50 reviews, Rotten Tomatoes gives a score of 50% with an average rating of 5.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "While it certainly has more on its mind than the average Jason Statham action thriller, Redemption doesn't quite capitalize on its premise – or on its star's strong, committed performance."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 43 out of 100 based on 14 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[9]

See also


  1. "Redemption (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  2. Debruge, Peter (20 June 2013). "Redemption". Variety. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  3. "Redemption (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  4. Shoebox Films (26 March 2013). "'Hummingbird' trailer shows Jason Statham punching his way through London's underbelly (video): Movie trailer". Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  5. Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office Hummingbird Article".
  6. "Bulgarian Song Included in Statham's Hummingbird Hit Movie - - Sofia News Agency".
  7. Woffenden, Tom. "Watch Jason Statham in the Hummingbird trailer online now". Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  8. "Redemption (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  9. "Redemption Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
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