Film: Cherry (18)
- Credit: Apple +
Gripped by a superstitious belief that failure is contagious, Hollywood holds that you are only as good as the grosses of your last movie.
But when your last film was Avengers: Endgame - the biggest grossing movie ever - and your two before that (Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: Civil War) were the 5th and 22nd biggest, you have gained enough cache and cash to make your next a free swing. So if the brothers Russo want to play at being Scorsese for 2 hours and 20 minutes they can do so without fearing the consequences. Afterwards, the results can be discreetly buried on one of the more niche streaming services.
With Van Morrison and opera snippets on the soundtrack, overhead panning shots, dynamic montages, title cards and so much first-person voice-over narration it could be an audiobook, this is just like a sweeping Scorsese crime drama; but without the drama or the sweep.
The initial problem is that for more than an hour we don't really know what the film is. In the prologue we see Holland robbing a bank, so we know we've got that coming. Beyond that though, why are we watching him drifting around a poor neighbourhood in Cleveland, meeting the girl of his dreams, Emily (Bravo) and then joining the army when she dumps him? Only when the film goes to the Iraq War does the penny drop that it will be about his struggles to adapt to life back in the States.
The chief issue is a lack of personnel and content. Outside the central couple hardly anybody else gets more than two or three scenes and although Holland and Bravo are fine, this desperately needs some strong supporting characters. Part of Holland's appeal as Spider-man is that he plays it as a kid who is a little out of his depth. Here you wonder what a DiCaprio or a Gyllenhaal might have done with the role.
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Based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Nico Walker, the story doesn't have enough incidents to fill the time. Though the Russos attack the material with energy and visual invention, it stubbornly refuses to up the pace from an unwavering plod. 2/5 stars.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo. Starring Tom Holland, Chiaro Bravo, Jack Reynor, Jeff Wahlberg, Forrest Goodluck, Michael Gandolfini and Michael Rispoli. Available to stream on Apple+ from March 5. Running time: 140 mins.
http://www.halfmanhalfcritic.com/ for a review of the Criterion Collection release of Kurosawa's Kagemusha.
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