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From the Fantasia International Film Festival: Bushwick creates an intriguing scenario, one where the Southern states are persuaded by Texas to join in overturning the government. Their plan is to use insurgence to forcefully take over unwilling cities. Their next target is to get the Northern states starting with a small city named Bushwick, located in New York. As the insurgency starts, we meet with Lucy (Brittany Snow), on her way to her grandmother’s house to introduce her boyfriend. It doesn’t take long before they head out and realize that something is very wrong and she gets separated from her boyfriend almost immediately. Luckily, circumstances lead her to meet Stupe (Dave Bautista), an ex-Marine who knows everything she doesn’t about survival and has a few guns to protect as well. He reluctantly agrees to take her to her destination, while trying to figure out what actually is going on.
Bushwick is a tight and tense ride. While the subtext is the insurgency of the private military force, which terrifies the city itself and is the centre of all the danger, the best part of it all is truly the unlikely team in Lucy and Stupe. Together, the character development and and how they bond together, really only set over a few hours, is compelling and engaging. Bushwick has somewhat of a found footage look even though it isn’t, with a good example being the angle of the helicopters scanning the city from above. However, it succeeds most in how it chooses to follow these characters. We never seem to follow them directly in back but in fact, it chooses to go watch their feet as they scurry from location to location. It creates a sense of suspense as the camera plays with what we can see and in turn allowing us to be shocked just as the character by the unknown situations ahead.
Lucy and Stupe are two very different people. The story focuses on their journey while not making it too dramatic and keeping it with the action. It focuses more on the situation at hand and how they work together to get themselves out. Because of this, there are some tonal shifts throughout the movie. While it may seem to make us wonder how seriously to take Bushwick, it is well-timed and particularly makes Lucy’s character more believable when she makes some silly decisions in the beginning that may end up having serious consequences. As the movie moves along, their character’s growth and the value of their team is what will keep it intriguing as they see what this insurgency has caused the people around them, especially the reason why a small town like Bushwick was targeted. Snow and Bautista deliver two great performances.
Talking about the reason of why Bushwick is chosen makes this film seems like an obvious social commentary of sorts. It reflects perhaps on the disagreements and wars about the values and beliefs of Northern and Southern states in America. However, the more prominent one is the fact that Bushwick represents a lower class multicultural community which seems like they are disjointed because of that and make them an easier target. However, surprisingly, the film shows how the city’s varied groups each react differently to the insurgency but still that survival may just bring everyone together.
Bushwick has an interesting premise though it does have some contrived moments. Some are predictable, meant to shock however, it also succeeds in creating an engaging experience by delivering characters such as Lucy and Stupe that make us want to cheer for them. There are endearing bonding moments added in with some humor to slice through the tension. There is no doubt in the end that this is meant to be taken seriously and for the most part everything fits together for a suspenseful watch. It’s not so much about the politics of it all as it is about survival. Just for the performances and the premise and setting, Bushwick is worth a watch.
Bushwick releases August 25th.
Movie description: Bushwick is a 2017 action film about a Texas military force that invades a Brooklyn neighborhood, forcing a 20-year-old and war veteran to depend on each other to survive.
Director(s): Cary Murnion & Jonathan Milott
Actor(s): Brittany Snow, Dave Bautista, Angelic Zambrana, Christian Navarro, Arturo Castro