I got to see the new movie Bushwick the other night during the Sundance Film Festival.
Starring Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect) and Dave Bautista (SPECTRE, Guardians of the Galaxy), Bushwick was written by Nick Damici and Graham Reznick, and was directed by Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott.
First, some impressions (and spoilers, so be warned):
Shot in the now-ubiquitous “long-take, no-cut” style, it’s kind of impressive from that point of view. Using 8-10 cuts (that I caught…) throughout its 92 minute run time, it does allow the viewer to feel involved in the flight of Stupe (Bautista) and Lucy (Snow) as they maneuver through the few blocks in the titular New York City neighborhood that has come under attack from we-don’t-know-who until halfway through the film.
But it does start to wear thin after a while. I mean, Birdman was great, but maybe, generally, this technique should be used more for short projects…? Just a thought.
The acting isn’t bad, as the movie mostly consists of Lucy whining and Stupe telling her to shut up or they’ll get shot.
As the takes are so long, it almost feels like at points the script merely said, “make small-talk was you dodge-duck-dip-dive-and-dodge your way from this building to that building,” leaving the camera crew to try to keep up, and the audience to decide if the dialogue is important or not.
Also, I can’t decide what side of the political spectrum the film falls on. The invading force is told that Bushwick will be pacified easily due to its “diversity,” i.e. the people don’t like each other enough to work together to resist. That idea, of course, is immediately shot to hell, as it turns out that being a New Yorker/American is more important than being a whatever. [Editor’s note: YES!]
Secondarily, the planned peaceful siege is upended–forcing the invaders to declare Bushwick a “shot-first” zone–because “there weren’t supposed to be so many guns,” as they are illegal in Bushwisk. [Editor’s note 2: YESSSSSS!]
Don’t fuck with Americans. You will lose.
But, despite those two seemingly clear indicators of political alignment, I couldn’t help but feel like the filmmakers were, in a way, mocking those ideas, especially, and here comes the biggest spoiler of them all, so if you don’t want to know, stop reading now:
Both Stupe and Lucy die.
Yep. Stupe gets killed by a cowering girl in a laundromat bathroom when he goes to take a piss, and Lucy is killed as she tries to drag her druggie sister through the park to the Army helicopters that are evacuating American’s from the fight zone.
What. The. Actual. Fuck?
Who kills the damned leads? BOTH of them?
Like I said, this made the movie a little bit contradictory to me. Sure, I could sit here and try to justify those endings as how the strong will be killed by the weak, but that doesn’t really seem to fit here.
So what are they trying to say, exactly?
I don’t know, but I know that, overall, I enjoyed the film, just not the last 3-5 minutes of it.