Thursday, February 25, 2021

Movie with Abe: Cherry

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo
Released February 26, 2021

It’s expected that people will change over the course of their lives. New opportunities present themselves and unforeseen developments alter the perspective and potential which might have previously guided someone in the choices they made and actions they did. There is a point at which they may be headed down a path of no return, unable to prevent themselves from making clear mistakes with irreversible consequences. Following characters along an unpleasant journey has an appeal but can become less than invigorating when circumstances look particularly grim. Fortunately, that’s mostly not the case with this involving and creatively-told story of an extremely interesting protagonist.

Cherry (Tom Holland) is hopelessly infatuated with Emily (Ciara Bravo) when he first meets her when they are attending a local university together. Their whirlwind romance is upended when Emily announces her plans to move to Montreal and Cherry hastily enlists in the military. His time in a war zone as a medic profoundly affects him, and he returns home haunted by what he has experienced. His ensuing addiction to opioids becomes crippling, forcing him to turn to a life of crime, robbing banks to pay for the drugs he uses and the unstable life he leads.

This film feels like a true biopic, one that brings to the screen a version of the story of Nico Walker, who wrote the 2018 novel of the same name while he was in prison. It is presented in divided chapters whose titles summarize the events that occur within them, framing Cherry’s life in pieces, mostly related to Emily and his service as a soldier. There is a distinctly clever and inviting style that punctuates much of the narration and the presentation of plot points, something that doesn’t remain consistent throughout the film’s lengthy 140-minute runtime. There’s a jolt of energy necessary when it starts to feel like “American Sniper,” another worthwhile effort that occasionally got submerged in the excessive focus on details that don’t truly aid the effectiveness of the narrative.

Holland is a wildly popular actor best known for playing Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, and here he reunites with Anthony and Joe Russo, who previously directed him in “Avengers: Endgame” and other films in the series. He’s most reminiscent of Joseph Gordon-Levitt in his remarkable ability to snap to the material and deliver a controlled, magnetic performance of a generally affable and accomplished person undone by his circumstances. Opposite him, Bravo, whose career started as a child actress, matches him in passion and commitment. The two exist within a film that manages to be fascinating at its peak and is hindered only slightly by a tendency towards repetition and slow pacing. Overall, it’s a worthwhile investment that demonstrates both the kind of film that the Russo brothers can create without superheroes involved and the extraordinary talent of two young actors.


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