Bushwick

Review by Mark Allison @clueddownmark

Directed by

Cary Murnion Jonathan Milott

Starring

Brittany Snow Christian Navarro Dave Bautista

Anticipation.

Dave Bautista defending Brooklyn from paramilitary rednecks. Who knows, it might be fun?

Enjoyment.

It’s not. This is a heady blend of equal parts misery and boredom.

In Retrospect.

The sort of thing your Dad might watch on his day off work, and then completely forget about.

New York’s frou-frou suburb comes under attack in this less-exciting-than-it-sounds emo actioner.

The pandemic of extended, single-take tracking shots continues to exert its stranglehold over mediocre action cinema. No longer the preserve of innovators like Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, or Martin Scorsese, the technique has become a rote flourish – a form of directorial masturbation that is less impressive with each example (and, more often than not, badly stitched together during post production).

Bushwick, the second feature from directing duo Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion, represents another effort to board the single-take bandwagon. The entire film is structured around a series of elaborate action sequences, all of which are composed within a few lengthy Steadicam shots. It’s a gimmick which might help to disguise budgetary limitations but does little to bolster an otherwise turgid experience.

The premise sees the Brooklyn suburb of Bushwick invaded by a fully-armed troop of domestic terrorists. It’s a politically ripe concept which sounds like the basis for a whole lot of B-movie fun, but the execution is lamentably po-faced. The script strikes a cynical and humourless note which makes for a miserable viewing experience, while every character is so devoid of all warmth that it’s hard to want to invest in their survival. Most tragically, the dour tone proves to be a waste of burly star, Dave Bautistsa, whose self-effacing wit was put to sterling use in the Guardians of the Galaxy films.

The root of the problem might come down to delusions of grandeur, as the film’s ambitions stretch beyond its charmingly schlocky reach. Thus, the plot takes some heavy-handed swings at the contemporary political climate in the United States, while the final act crams in some ham-fisted character development. The moments of drama are invariably hollow and serve as unconvincing stop-gaps within an otherwise constant barrage of death and destruction.

Bushwick is a film which feels fundamentally confused about what it wants to be: is it a commentary on extreme political polarisation in the US; an intimate character study; or a brainless action choreography work-out? It gravitates towards all of these ideas, but never fully commits, leaving the entire project feeling muddled and aimless. Admittedly, the ongoing trend for single-take sequences and silky-smooth camera work comes as a welcome relief after a generation of incomprehensible shaky-cam, but visual trickery cannot compensate for a chronic lack of substance.

Published 25 Aug 2017

Anticipation.

Dave Bautista defending Brooklyn from paramilitary rednecks. Who knows, it might be fun?

Enjoyment.

It’s not. This is a heady blend of equal parts misery and boredom.

In Retrospect.

The sort of thing your Dad might watch on his day off work, and then completely forget about.

Read More

John Wick: Chapter 2

By Matt Thrift

Though not as svelte as before, Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves still deliver big with this awesome action-ballet.

review

Killing Ground – first look review

By Ed Gibbs

There’s shades of Straw Dogs and Deliverance in this effective Aussie backwoods horror.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard

By David Jenkins

This potty-mouthed road trip from Coventry to The Hague stars Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L Jackson and some top comic bants.

review

What are you looking for?

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, LWLies has been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.

Editorial

Design