In 2015 S. Craig Zahler
came out with Bone Tomahawk, his directorial debut. While I was
disappointed that Timothy Olyphant dropped out of the original cast, I was
absolutely delighted when I watched the film. I felt that from then on, that
Zahler was going to do some great things. That he was going to make films the
way he wanted to make them, however that may be. Then came Brawl in Cell
Block 99 and I felt that my first sense about Zahler was being reinforced. Brawl
in Cell Block 99 wasn’t the best movie, if I had a top 100 films of all
time, I couldn’t say it would be a feature on the list. But once again, it was
unique to Zahler, the confronting brutal violence that was a feature of Bone
Tomahawk, was a presence in Brawl, now with some fun, 70’s style
Dragged Across Concrete, Zahlers newest offering, stars Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn and Tory Kittles amongst a host of other screen veterans. Like Zahlers previous two directorial efforts, Dragged Across Concrete was also written by Zahler, which brings upon another one of the constant features in his films, great dialogue. Zahler tends to write strong, witty dialogue that make for great conversations, which is a must for his films, as they are not the fastest paced movies on the market. The crime drama focuses on two cops who’ve, in particularly Gibson, who’ve got nothing to show for the service they’ve done for the city, and in a moment of frustration decide “we have the skill and right to acquire proper compensation”.
This decision leads them on a crash course with Tory Kittles, who steals the show with his cold and calculated performance. Kittles has been on my radar for a long time ever since the exceptionally b-grade 2004 film, Frankenfish. He’s continued to pop up in film after film, Dirty, The Sapphires and TV show Colony, in which both his character Colony and in Dragged Across Concrete share a lot of similarities. Gibson and Vaughn are also good, but Gibson takes the cake between the two, delivering lines like the seasoned performer should. At times, when Vaughn’s character was wearing glasses, I actually wasn’t sure if it was Vince Vaughn at all, that maybe Gil Bellows had stepped off of the Patriot set to shoot some scenes with Zahler.
The violence once again
is very brutal, a Zahler signature at this point. A Zignature, if you will. I
don’t think I can even name a modern director that is able to consistently and
successfully blend gory violence with drama in the way that Zahler can without
the film being a horror film. Jennifer Kent does it well in The Nightingale,
but it’s so far, it’s not a consistent feature of her films.
Like most films these days, story that Dragged Across Concrete offers is not necessarily anything new, but it doesn’t have to be. You read user reviews of almost any film on IMDB and someone says that the film they’re talking about ripped this idea from here, and that idea from there. But who really cares? For me, it’s not about the story itself, it’s about the dialogue, the good guys, the bad guys, the innocent bystanders. These are what need to stick out, and Zahler does this so well.
Jennifer Carpenter’s character is developed enough to make me wonder what her purpose in the film is within a minute. Who is she, where is she going? Later on, it all becomes clear, and it’s this character that separates this film from others that are just, average. The same goes for the at least one of the antagonists. He is not the average thief, and I don’t care about the fact he is robbing a corner store in the same fashion a thousand other antagonists have done in a thousand other films, the character is presented differently. It made me think, “hey, who’s this guy? He’s dangerous”. The list of well written characters, despite screen time, is long.
Concrete may not offer anything overly new, but what it does offer is a
tremendous cast perfecting impactful characters, with great dialogue that will
hold your attention for the entire two and a half hour run time.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.