Friday, February 15, 2019

Movie with Abe: Donnybrook


Donnybrook
Directed by Tim Sutton
Released February 15, 2019

All parents try to provide in the way that they can for their children. For those who make six-figure salaries, that can mean offering luxuries and unparalleled comfort so that their children can achieve great things and in turn raise their own children in the same way. For those with a considerably less stable income, their dedication may be the same but their means entirely different. Molding minds and ensuring a safe environment are paramount, but not all people are able to do that in the same way depending on their skills and fortune.

Jarhead Earl (Jamie Bell) robs a local gun shop so that he can have some money to get him to a vicious fighting ring, the Donnybrook, that offers a high prize for the last to survive a brutal competition. Returning home to his family, Earl finds his wife Tammy (Dara Tiller) being tempted with drugs by local criminal Chainsaw Angus (Frank Grillo). Leaving town with his son Moses (Alexander Washburn), Earl begins his journey as Angus and his sister Delia (Margaret Qualley) remain all too close and a strung-out cop, Whalen (James Badge Dale), follows a trail of victims left by them.

This is inarguably a grim film, one that never presents much positivity for any of its characters. To try to get to this hellish competition, Earl leaves his wife and daughter in a motel room and has his son serve as an accomplice to help him stay one step ahead of the law. Angus seems to delight in the brutal killing of anyone he comes across, while the participatory Delia at times seems like an unwilling collaborator who is also a victim. Whalen is the least stable of all of them, stalking his ex-wife in the parking lot of her grocery store job and indulging in many of the criminal activities he as the law should be stopping. This is not a film for those seeking any sort of humor or even anything approaching happiness.

This is, however, a worthwhile film that shows the love that Earl has for his family yet must express in a way that involves doing whatever it takes to get to a place where he will ultimately need to fight another man to the death. Bell captures that mentality and portrays it effectively on screen, supported by Qualley as a conflicted criminal and Grillo as the cold, soulless villain. This film knows just how dark it wants to be and uses that to its advantage, engaging its audience in a foreboding, captivating thriller that proves to be inviting if far from appealing.

B+

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