Marvel’s hitmakers make an embarrassing drama


Tom Holland in Cherry

Tom Holland in Cherry
Photo: Apple TV Plus

Note: The author of this review saw Cherry on a digital screen from home. Before making the decision to see it, or any other movie, in a movie theater, consider the health risks involved. Here it is an interview on the subject with scientific experts.


Cherry is a bombastic epic of suffering: the oversized, empty IMAX version of an “important” drama. At 140 minutes, it is as long as Avengers film, and also subtle. That is not a random comparison or a match. Its directors, Joe and Anthony Russo, are excited Endgame. How do you follow the greatest movie of all time? If you are these two, you play as Tom Jane and go into a gutsy addiction drama to show that you are a serious artist. Yes, Cherry it’s the duo Trash—A fake movie that might come to mind even if the filmmakers there was not cut your teeth directing episodes of Development arrested, including one with a callback to that same joke. The film, which chronicles two decades of anguish and misfortune in the life of a tortured young man, is as thirsty for prestige as its characters for something they can explode, shoot or snort. Yet it has been done with all the restraint and nuance you would expect from a popcorn movie with a rigid formula, in the immortally narrated words of Ron Howard.

On the blockbuster duty, the Russos are not far behind. Their superhero shows have a witty elegance, honed over years dedicated to enhancing the visual comedy of network sitcoms. But his approach is an egregious mismatch for Cherry‘s shady source material. The film is based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Nico Walker, an army veteran who turned to drugs to deal with his trauma and robbing a bank to pay for drugs. (He wrote the book behind bars). The Russos mostly treat their slightly fictional narrative as an opportunity to flex some unused stylistic muscles, to try out all the tricks they couldn’t while sticking to the Marvel template: dolly shots, jump cuts, extreme angles, travel sequences. of desaturated drugs and exaggerated changes in aspect ratio. At one point, they perform a rectal exam from the perspective of the rectum. It may be the defining image of a movie so far stuck in your own ass.

For a while, the two seem content with a mediocre Scorsese. (That filming began in October 2019, just as Marty made his controversial comments about Marvel movies, it almost leads one to wonder if the studio’s most trusted hitmakers didn’t set out to prove they could do what he does, easy. ). Cherry It begins with one of those “How did I get here?” moments when an outlaw (Tom Holland, also on Disney leave) turns to address the audience during a bank robbery. These fourth wall breaks will be offset by a voiceover commentary as the film goes back several years to the salad days of its anonymous protagonist as an Ohio college student, whispering sweet words to campus girlfriend Emily (Ciara Bravo). , the ill-defined. romantic center of his world. Those who wonder how good friends could play if it were narrated by the teenager obsessed with bags of American Beauty now they have their answer.

Cherry

Cherry
Photo: Apple TV Plus

Cherry has the “and then is it happened ”dramatic lack of form that often characterizes memories, but without the specificity of compensation. Its script, by Jessica Goldberg and the directors’ sister, Angela Russo-Otstot, retains a novelistic scope, taking place in six chapters, plus a prologue and an epilogue. But it’s more like an adaptation of a Wikipedia summary, going through entire incident paragraphs in the style of bedroom basics. Once the empty lover of Holland guy fights the blues of his breakup by enlisting, the movie becomes an optimized music video The metal jacket, allowing the Russians to ride through basic training en route to their own addition to the canon of full-length battle sequences and the guts out. (Is weak military criticism the atonement for his time in the trenches of to franchise linked to recruitment efforts?) Once back in Ohio, Walker’s on-screen replacement collapses into a hopeful Trainspotting, gifting us with the ups and downs of the “drug life,” with Jack Reynor as a disgusting dealer referred to simply as Pills & Coke.

For Holland, the youngest MCU star, this is a hit at typecasting. Slipping from both spandex and Peter Parker’s innocence, he starts to sweat and curse and jerk off and fire a gun and slip a needle into his arm. Cherryit’s almost as bleak and unheroic as last year’s change of pace for the actor, the southern goth misery ensemble The devil all the time. But he has no real character to play here; the lack of a name is appropriate for such a finely sketched figure, a type that appears to be half-done even before the heroine touches him. (It is a zombie in and out of the wagon). Bravo fares worse in a role that turns into a different kind of ungrateful in each chapter, as Emily goes from the idealized girl of her dreams to an incessantly loyal military wife to an out-of-town demon who screams when they’re gone. to be noted below. Drawn from the pages of Walker or not, the dialogue does not favor anyone. “Basically, he was being sad and crazy shit because of the horrors he had seen,” Holland bluntly diagnoses himself. Trash Reynor puts it less eloquently: “You’re a PTSD junkie son of a bitch!”

This is a movie with nothing new to say about love, war, trauma, addiction, crime, or America. He blows these themes into a mix of hyper-stylization, nonchalantly twisting his true story into the form of other better films. In its final stretch, delusions of grandeur have caught up with showboating, especially during a ridiculously lengthy slow-motion climax and an outcome that had to have been temporarily traced back to “On The Nature Of Daylight.” Leaves you wondering whether to work with $ 300 million budget rot your brain or at least kills your ability to do something small or remotely real again. Either way, you would think that a holding in some of The most postmodern television Comedies would, at the very least, give the Russo brothers a more pronounced self-awareness on the line that separates seriousness from mere pretense. Community I couldn’t parody this movie better than it parodies itself.

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