Review: Bushwick

8 10

PLOT: On her way to visit her grandmother, a young woman finds herself on the run from what appears to be a military assault. With the help of an ex-Marine, the two must make their way to safety while facing insurmountable odds of survival.

REVIEW: BUSHWICK is a riveting new thriller from filmmaking duo Cary Murnion and Jonathan Miliott (COOTIES). Taking place during a violent military attack on the city, the filmmakers bring an added inventiveness to the proceedings as nearly the entire film is (seemingly) shot in one take. Sure there are about three or four clear cuts, but that is all. This particular style is an interesting one for a film of this nature. Another positive is the clear influence of John Carpenter, right down to the electronic score by Aesop Rock. It also offers a slight hint of story and structure from ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 and ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. This is a solid feature that has a tinge of relevancy thanks to recent news coverage - especially when it comes to the main villains. Even still, it is not overtly political, but it's a pretty impressive action flick that manages to build to a powerful conclusion.

We first meet Lucy and Jose (Brittany Snow and Arturo Castro) stepping off a subway train, and we learn a little history about the couple. The two are heading to her grandmother’s house so Lucy can introduce her new boyfriend. Things take a suddenly terrifying turn when they realize all hell has broken loose on the streets of New York. Soon, Lucy finds herself alone and she is desperate to find sanctuary while men with guns and flame throwers are killing nearly everyone in sight. Lucky for her, she runs into a janitor and ex-Marine named Stupe (Dave Bautista) who reluctantly helps the young woman to safety. Who are these strange men and why are they creating an all out war? Will Lucy and her new found partner Stupe be able to survive the horrors all around them? You’ll have to watch to find out.

When I first sat down with BUSHWICK, I had no idea as to what I was about to take in. Aside from its stars, I knew very little and I preferred to go in fresh. Frankly, I’m glad I did. Imagine the staircase scene in the recent ATOMIC BLONDE lasting for an entire film and you’ll get the idea of what is going down here. And with all the gunfire and intense chase sequences, it is pretty impressive that the tension carries as well as it does for nearly the entire hour and a half run time. Occasionally, the actions taken by Lucy seem beyond foolish and merely a way to keep the camera moving, but that is a minor squabble. It is absolutely impressive how much we have going on and how the camera is able to catch all of it, all the while raising the stakes at every turn.

Another plus is the casting of both Brittany Snow and Dave Bautista. Snow, is terrific as a young woman thrust into a nightmarish war zone. She conveys the fear and horror rather well, but it is when she must fight that we really connect with her. As for Bautista, he is the perfect choice for this particular character. This is an impressive performance that has a whole lot more range than you’d imagine. There is one scene in particular where his past is revealed and it is far more touching and emotional than I would have ever expected. Considering the entire film follows Lucy, and later Stupe, we really have to care about their survival, and I for one was completely on board nearly the entire time.

With two solid leads, there is one point in which the movie tends to feel a bit forced. This may be thanks to the introduction of Lucy’s sister Belinda, played by Angelic Zambrana. Whether it is her performance or the way the character is written, it doesn’t really work. They fail to really realize her relationship with Lucy, and only briefly touch on how “sisterly” they really are. And to top it all off, Belinda is a stereotypical stoner. If only they had tried a little harder with this character because it's a tired and uninteresting choice. Thankfully, she isn’t utilized that much and they tone down the pothead quality as the violence really erupts.

BUSHWICK is a taut thriller that manages to successfully use the one take treatment. Both the leads are quite good - Bautista really impresses - and they manage to make the most out of the script by Nick Damici and Graham Reznick. It also helps that the filmmakers appear to really enjoy Carpenters’ early work. There is a real sense of urgency, and yes, the reasons behind the villains aren’t terribly far-fetched. This is a far cry from the directors last feature, and that can be a good thing. A little range in genre is always welcome. The two clearly know how to build suspense and keep the audience questioning what is going to happen next. And again, nearly the entire film is continuous with only a couple of obvious cuts. This is a strong second feature film for the directing duo, so much so that I look forward to what they bring us next.

Source: JoBlo.com



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