Glib Reviews of Recent DVD/Blu Ray releases
Directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Decent buddy flick/road picture from directorial tandem of Fleck and Boden. Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds have some real bro-chemistry, as an older/younger gambling team. Mendelsohn’s Gerry really personifies someone who rarely knows when to quit while he’s ahead. His desperation and addiction to one more hand, one more dice roll, is palpable in pretty much every decision the character makes. Why Reynolds’ obnoxiously charismatic Curtis gloms onto Gerry as much as Gerry gloms on to him, is a bit more of a mystery, that is perhaps simply, their chemistry. He seems to like hanging out with Gerry, as much as anything, but both characters are self destructive and complete committment-phobes.
There is a dynamite Blues soundtrack, and the montages of neon and nightlife from cities along the road from Iowa to New Orleans are well done, if a bit touristy. I really dug the more complicated than they seem relationships that everyone has with each other in this film, and the pace keeps it from feeling too long or stretched out, though there is some ineffable something missing from this film that constantly seems to be referencing Robert Altman’s ‘California Split’ which follows a similar sleazy card sharp journey with two unlikely buddies in George Segal and Elliott Gould. It doesn’t quite have that patina of New Hollywood of the 70’s, this picture though. Entertaining with some interesting characters, but it lacks the oomph to put it into the top tier of buddy or gambling pictures.
I enjoyed the film and would recommend it, but with the caveat that it’s a good film, not a great film. It has all the elements, but fails to quite capitalize on them at all. The ending, mind you, paid off really nicely, and elevated the film a bit for me, by avoiding several cliches while fulfilling itself. It can be hard to know where to end a picture like this, and here they got it right on the nose.
6.9768 times you went ‘all in’ and lost everything you owned including a tiger outta 10