The low-fi, B-movie Thriller lives on in Bushwick. Still isn't very good.

Bushwick appears to have been afforded a level of respect above that normally granted to low budget Thrillers, starring a recently ex-wrestler. For reference, see early John Cena vehicles The Marine and 12 Rounds, or rather, don't.

Some snappy pacing and a dedication to grit aside it's difficult to see why Bushwick has been elevated out of its particular allotted place. Dave Bautista, the man formally known simply as Bautista, has shown significant promise in Guardians Of The Galaxy, but here he's back being another ex-wrestler who can't really act, given a sound mix which unkindly suggests he can barely speak. Predictably he does finally get a shouty moment to prove he can act/annunciate, barking at co-star Brittany Snow just before he breaks down and gives her his life story.

That odd couple are paired together when Lucy (Snow) emerges from the subway with her boyfriend (soon departed) to find her old neighbourhood of Bushwick at war. With whom exactly isn't made clear and the film is all the better for it the longer it isn't made clear. When one of the black-suited men is finally cornered and spills the beans on the 'plan' (after Bautista has performed the obligatory 'looks like a scrap, might be a wrestling move' on him) mouths start to open and eyes start to widen. Really? Is that really the excuse for the film's violence? Are we expected to believe that one of the antagonists sat down and seriously thought that was going to work? Does he also have a job as a Scooby-Doo scriptwriter?

The logic then is lacking and the same goes for the co-director's (Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott) exploration of the themes on show. Bushwick is a multicultural, integrated neighbourhood and whilst the antagonists think it should just roll over, the residents are banding together to fight back. Cue scenes of orthodox Jews charging armed men with assault rifles and the local gang (or 'club', if you believe the leader's mother) supplying munitions to the citizen uprising. It's a nice idea, but it's muddled and ill-explored. There seems to be scope in Lucy's family to explore the idea of strength through integration and harmony, for example, but her sister is introduced far too later in proceedings to matter, which also ends up undercutting some of the plot machinations.

Murnion and Milott shoot mainly in close-up and behind the characters, following them at close quarters as they navigate the warring streets. This produces effective imagery of armed men disappearing behind the car Lucy and Stupe (Bautista) are using to hide and exiting, frame right. It's effective on this level of budget and whilst it doesn't entirely convince you that Bushwick is now Iraq, it does get close. Too soon though there's a lack of logic as to why the characters are going where they are going. There's an almost videogame level of hopping from place to place to get this person or complete this quest. It becomes an excuse for another effective scene behind a car, a reason for the characters not to just stay in a flat and wait it out, rather than anything more involved. That fact is eventually proven when the finales start and your emotional engagement stays at home.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

No comments:

Post a Comment