Welcome witches and warlocks,

Today I will be reviewing the action/suspense feature BUSHWICK by directors Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott. To best describe the story, I will use my own plot summary:

“A young woman bringing her boyfriend home to meet her parents finds her plans going off the rails when an unnamed military force begins attacking her Brooklyn neighborhood. With the help of a former war veteran, she hopes to survive the attack.”

It has been a while since the technical prowess of a film truly blew me away, but I have finally found a movie that scratches that itch. To begin with, our introduction to our lead and her boyfriend is one long take that lasts about fifteen minutes and includes a man running through the subway on fire, a helicopter flying overhead, an explosion, and a run through the streets of Brooklyn. When this shot broke, I was a little disappointed as I figured the rest of the movie would never match that quality, but then they pulled a rabbit out of their hat. The second shot in this piece lasted over twelve minutes and, apart from two brief exceptions lasting less than two minutes; each subsequent sequence was over ten minutes in length.

The utilization of the long takes added a sense of urgency to this picture that grabbed me right from the first hint of something being wrong. By keeping the lens firmly upon the characters we also remain just as in the dark as they are as to what exactly is happening. This effectively builds the suspense, but at the same time keeps the entire plot feeling very intimate and very ground level.

One of the main stumbling blocks, for me anyways, was the motivation behind the attacks. That is not to say that the reasoning does not make a certain amount of sense, it does, but it was just a shade too odd for the rest of the fairly logical proceedings. When it was finally revealed why the city was under siege, I kind of wished they had not bothered telling me as I preferred some of my imagined reasons.

Amidst all this action, the writers were still able to weave in a few character based moments to give our leads some meat on their bones. These interactions were paced in such a fashion that they never broke the forward momentum, but still gave us a moment to breathe in between all of the chaos. I thought that the cast did a great job of selling these scenes as they were able to keep the desperation about their characters even when they were opening up to one another.

All in all, this is a technically impressive action/thriller that still manages to weave in some decent character moments. While I may not have been a huge fan for the reasoning behind the attacks, it made up such a small part of this feature that it is easy enough to look past. Fans of movies like Stake Land (2010) and The Purge: Anarchy (2014) will find that this has a similar flavor.

Nightmarish Detour

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