Civil war has returned to America in Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion’s tenacious action thriller. Texas and the other Southern states are attempting to secede from the USA and ominous soldiers have poured into the New York neighbourhood of Bushwick. Girl-next-door Lucy (Brittany Snow) is forced to transform into a warrior when she steps outside of an eerily quiet New York subway station into a war zone. Bushwick has warped into complete anarchy: bodies line the pavement like slabs and bullets ricochet off cars and buildings. The repetitive bursts of splintering pellets resonate like a percussion backing track, accompanying the amounting tension of an otherwise music-absent film. Amidst the jolts and blows that surround her, Lucy eventually finds refuge in the basement of Stupe (Dave Bautista) a brawny marine-veteran-turned-janitor who hesitantly helps her cross five perilous blocks to her grandmother’s house and safety.
It is the Bushwick residents’ confusion and lack of information about what’s happening that is particularly plausible and extremely captivating; they are denied answers by media outlets, left instead to rely on hearsay and circulating rumours from other frantic citizens. It is only until Stupe corners and threatens the life of one of the soldiers that the working-class neighbourhood’s fate is revealed. Bushwick is targeted due to its melting pot of culture and ethnicity that make it supposedly easier to invade, allowing Milott and Murnion to expose not only the brutality of war but to also shed light on the unfortunate and continued frosty relationship between races in America.
Filmed entirely using a hand-held camera, Bushwick mimics the chilling and traumatic footage from battlegrounds that are so often disseminated across television and social media feeds. The queasy camera technique lends a credibility to the turmoil of war, which makes up for some of the rather detached exchanges between characters, and the unrealistically impassive reactions to the deaths of loved ones, which are at times completely devoid of genuine emotion.
Overall, the movie is provocative; its exploration of opposing political ideologies in America and the possible threat of secession creates a compelling and gritty plot. Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion successfully illuminate this disquieting “what if” scenario, which fits in alarmingly well with the current political climate.
Bushwick is released in nationwide on 25th August 2017.
Watch the trailer for Bushwick here: