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Cherry (Movie review) with Tom Holland

Cherry (Movie review) with Tom Holland
6 10

PLOT: A young man (Tom Holland) comes home from the War in Iraq with a severe case of PTSD. He and his young wife (Ciara Bravo) quickly get addicted to opiates, and he starts robbing banks to feed their habit.

REVIEW: CHERRY has all the subtlety of a jackhammer, something which I’m sure is feeding into its so-far largely negative reactions from critics. Anthony and Joe Russo’s first film since Avengers: Endgame, the two boldly adopt an operatic vibe in their adaptation of Nico Walker’s semi-autobiographical novel. A real-life war vet who became addicted to drugs and robbed banks, just like his on-screen alter-ego, as played by Tom Holland, his story is turned into a 2.5-hour epic by the Russos', who seem to be relishing their detour into hardcore R-rated territory.

If Captain America: The Winter Soldier was their tribute to seventies paranoia thrillers, Cherry is their tribute to nineties crime epics by Martin Scorsese and Brian DePalma, specifically the final act of Goodfellas’ (charting Henry Hill’s spiral into addiction) and Carlito’s Way (with one of the film’s signature musical choices - “Watusi” showing up in a pivotal scene). It’s a heavy movie, but also a very entertaining one, which features a terrific star turn from Tom Holland.

cherry Tom Holland

Young and vulnerable looking, Holland is no one’s idea of a classic Hollywood tough guy (although he can indeed be tough - check him out in The Devil All the Time), something which makes his character all the more compelling. He’s delicate and you worry about him. He has a similar vibe to a young Michael J. Fox (particularly in heavier stuff like Casualties of War and Bright Lights, Big City), and is convincing both as a naive young college drop-out, a war medic in way over his head, and an eventual junkie criminal.

Notably, the film never expects you to sympathize too much with his plight, specifically once he becomes a bank robber, which stems from a boneheaded decision he makes to rip-off the dealer who’s fronting him (Jack Reynor as a character appropriately named Pills and Coke). You get the idea he’s a total mess and utterly doomed, and Holland never plays him as too noble or conventional.

If the movie has a failing, and it's a pretty big one, his relationship with Ciara Bravo’s Emily rings hollow. His ever-present voice-over tells you over and over again that these two are in love and meant to be together, but they never come off as anything more than a desperate couple that are terrible for each other, making the movie’s big, over-wrought climax nearly laughable, although it's redeemed by Holland's acting

The Russos' also fall prey to what’s quickly becoming a big cliche - shifting aspect ratios - with the Iraq scenes shot in a window-boxed format. The war scenes are startling, however, with the Russos' driving home the terror of war, with Holland making lots of appealing friends who, in the blink of an eye, die horrible on-screen deaths that are shattering.

Technically, the film is impeccable, with the Russos' giving it an epic feel - perhaps too much so as in the end they’re telling a gritty, personal story which occasionally gets lost in all of the style. At its best, it's riveting, with a terrific score by Henry Jackman and Holland’s performance anchoring the film. At its worst, it's a touch over-wrought, such as in the hugely inconsistent first act. The movie only comes into its own once our anti-hero goes to war. Still, I have to bristle at the relish some seem to be attacking this with, as the Russo Bros have been so successful with Marvel it feels like some seem bent on taking them down a notch rather than giving the film a fair assessment. Is it a perfect film? No, but it’s far better than some will have you believe.

Source: JoBlo.com

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