Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Dave Bautista, Brittany Snow, Christian Navarro, Arturo Castro, Jeremie Harris, Angelic Zambrana, Leo Minaya, Jeff Lima, Alex Breaux, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Quincy Chad
Written by: Nick Damici, Graham Reznick
Directed by: Cary Murnion, Jonathan Milott
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 94
Date: 08/25/2017
IMDB

Bushwick (2017)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Jersey Corps

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

An intensely physical, adrenaline-propelled experience, and with touching, vivid depictions of human connection, pain, and fear, this thriller about a full-scale invasion is also terrifyingly timely.

In Bushwick, Lucy (Brittany Snow) and her boyfriend Jose (Arturo Castro) step off the train in New Jersey, on their way home from college to visit Lucy's grandmother. The subway station is mysterious deserted, and then a man engulfed in flames runs by. Taking a peek on the street, they discover that something terrible is going on. Jose is burned alive, and Lucy is shot at by mysterious figures in black.

Running from the scene of an execution, she ducks into someone's home; that someone turns out to be former military man and medic Stupe (Dave Bautista). Using Stupe's weapons and knowhow, Lucy hopes to survive the handful of city blocks to her grandmother's house. But after that, can they get out of the city alive?

Shot, like Rope, Russian Ark, Silent House, Birdman, and Victoria, in what appears to be one, continuous, unbroken take (although hidden cuts are easy to spot), Bushwick plunges viewers into a street-level experience. Running alongside the characters, it's impossible to know what's around any corner, or what could jump through a door at any second.

Directed by Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott (whose distasteful Cooties never would have suggested anything this good), the camerawork in Bushwick is startlingly clear and intuitive, suggesting a human's point of view, and not a shaking camera's. It must have taken an impressive level of choreography and timing. That also goes for actors Brittany Snow and Dave Bautista, who turn in athletic, full-blooded performances under great duress.

Doing away with any foreign bad guys or greedy corporate types, this movie fits squarely into the Trump era; it is very simply about the deep, seemingly insurmountable divide between America's "red" and "blue" citizens. Yet the heroes — Lucy has a beloved Latina "sister" (Angelic Zambrana) that she fights to save — are squarely on the side of compassion and common sense.

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