Dragged Across Concrete
We last saw Vince Vaughn on our screens as Bradley Thomas in the 2017 movie Brawl in Cell Block 99, crushing skulls in his hands in a role that revolutionised the way any cinemagoer could ever have imagined viewing the actor. Looking to very much continue this rebirth as a gritty, violent yet versatile actor, the star is back once again creaming said heads, taking up the offer from the grizzliest actor/director in the game at this time – none other than Mel Gibson – to star in S Craig Zahler’s buddy cop, neo-crime, blood-splashing brutality thriller that we would no less come to expect from these two experienced actors.
Two detectives who like to take justice into their own hands and hold a little too tightly, Brett (Gibson) and Anthony (Vaughn) find themselves temporarily forced to hand in their badges when an operation is perceived to be heavy-handed. In search for vengeance and the justice they feel they truly deserve, they begin trailing a criminal organisation that leads them into circumstances they did not originally anticipate. All the while, racial prejudices drive various motives and as crossfires begin to cause the victim count to pile up, the safety of our off-duty cops becomes shrouded in doubt.
There are a number of front car seat scenes in which Vaughn and Gibson converse at length both on topical and highly irrelevant subject matter, proving intimate and entertaining through the fog of crude language. There is a sense of realism injected into these scenes. The exchanges are visceral, right down to the consumption of an egg salad sandwich (we feel your pain, Mel). Wit and humour are woven into the darker story arc, delivered brilliantly by the two protagonists, and although a little tricky and fudgy to follow, it’s what you witness with your own eyes that makes Dragged Across Concrete a riveting, yet melodic, watch.
Zahler has a wonderful ear for music and chooses to unleash this into the film to terrific effect, adding drama, ambiance and even intensity to scenes that both justify and enjoyably contradict the requirement for such rhythmic reverberations. This, paired with splendidly curious cinematography, makes the bloodshed incredibly palatable and all the more enticing as the plot unravels.
The flaws? Well, the movie is long – with a runtime of over two and a half hours – so buckle up, but also settle in for a picture that sustains and drives your attention, alongside your will power and long distance persistence, in the most provocative and violently absorbing manner. Lengthy but not painful seems the most appropriate summary, with Zahler’s imagination and creativity commanding the screen in what is ultimately a successfully striking character study on numerous counts. Think Reservoir Dogs meets The Nice Guys and you won’t be far off.
Dragged Across Concrete is released nationwide on 19th April 2019.
Watch the trailer for Dragged Across Concrete here: