Film Review: Bushwick @ Sundance London 2017

★★★☆☆ – Bushwick is a fast-paced suicide run through race relations, class wars, and plenty of other social topics.

With Dave Bautista helming the explosive action-thriller, Bushwick is an intense imagining of the London suburb coming under fire from mysterious military forces. Opening with grad student Lucy (Brittany Snow) emerging into an abandoned tube station with her boyfriend, it isn’t long until they discover that they’ve stumbled into a warzone.

With the surprisingly quick flambéing of said boyfriend, Lucy is left to struggle through the streets on her own – narrowly avoiding death and rape in the process. Accidentally hiding in Stupe’s (Dave Bautista) basement, the gruff ex-military man teams up with the hopeless young girl, with the two setting out to find their respective families.

Bushwick is an odd film, in that whilst it’s definitely a B-movie, it’s a really good one. Filmed with the impression of ‘one long take’, directors Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott imbue the very cinematography itself with movement and fear – deftly following the protagonists with each dive, sprint, and jump they take through the destroyed city.

Whilst the filming follows the twists and turns of the characters, the narrative takes a few of its own – some better than others. We don’t know who is undertaking the attack on London or why for a good portion of the film, allowing tension to build up nicely amongst the pillars of smoke and background detonations. When we do find out, the quality takes a dip: in that what was previously pushing the film forwards is lost and we are channelled into a new objective – find the safe zone and get out alive.

There’s plenty that is a little clichéd, and rings similar to a lot of films within the same genre. I would say it’s like a lesser version of Cloverfield, without the extra-terrestrial discoveries along the way to keep it fresh.

In any case, the acting of the two protagonists is solid. The peripheral characters serve as lazy tropes, but do their jobs respectably as the ‘stoner girl’, ‘gangster’, and ‘matriarch.’ The effects make up for this lack of depth in turning the film into one of spectacle, and the writers are totally unafraid to cash in on this with an array of gory, shock deaths. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been following them – they can drop at any minute – a feature that works well for the film and is played out in a satisfyingly appropriate ending.

Overall, Bushwick touches upon some interesting and politically relevant topics – of which I won’t spoil for those interested in watching. As an action film, it does the job – and for a B-movie, it impresses.

Bushwick screened as part of the Sundance London 2017 schedule 1st – 4th June. It will be in cinemas 25th August 2017.

This article was originally posted on The National Student.

 

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