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When trouble comes, trouble comes big in Suburban Cowboy, the latest thriller from the combined efforts of writer/director Ryan Colucci and co-director Dragan Roganovic, a hard-boiled, pulse-pounder about a drug dealer who finds himself on the wrong side of a very, very bad situation.
Jay (Frank Raducz Jr.) is a dark comic-book-loving drug dealer on Long Island. He not quite small time, moving a decent amount of soft drugs with a few runners, but he’s not a big dog yet. He lives with his stripper girlfriend Victoria (Alandrea Martin) and has plans for a family but there’s a snag. His oldest friend Alex (Matty Finochio), a scrappy runner for Jay, has gone and cheated a punk he thinks is a nobody out of a load of cash, though it turns out that’s not quite the case. That nobody works for a Serbian cartel and now they want what’s owed and then some, putting it all on Jay’s shoulders. Problem is, it’s more money than Jay’s got or can get and he’s only got a few days to deliver or else they’ll start with Victoria and end on him.
Sure, it’s a familiar story, one that’s circled the track a few times before, but Colucci’s script has plenty of punch nonetheless, even with a bevy of has beens in the loop. Jay is stretched as far as he can go and has to call upon his crew and a few others to pull together to get him the money, all the while under constant threat from the Serbs, led by a particularly menacing Zoran Radanovic playing Vul, a man who likes to strop straight razors while looking you in the eye. Jay has a lot of power and he holds great and terrible threat over those beneath him, but next to Vul … well, he’s nothing but a blip. It ain’t about the money for Vul.
That’s where Suburban Cowboy has its greatest strength, balancing the dynamic relationships in the story, and Colucci and Roganovic (a Grammy-nominated musician who also supplies the film’s electrifying soundtrack) strike it right, mixing hardened and colorful street dialogue with unexpected moments of stillness as we get inside Jay and Victoria’s plight. Two in particular show off the sea-saw best with a dialoge-free drive upstate and a film-defining sequence involving the shadows of a beast and a tragic comeuppance. It’s as terrifying as it is beautiful.
Suburban Cowboy has its minor flaws with some small pacing issues that pad but it’s hardly enough to overshadow the excellent performances and story. This is a tale of desperation, about what a man must do to stay alive even as the world spirals out of control around him. There are no heroes in Suburban Cowboy, only sheep … and a wolf. A ferocious, vengeful wolf.
Movie description: Suburban Cowboy is a 2017 thriller about a drug dealer on Long Island who finds himself over his head when one of his soldiers robs a connection to ruthless Serbian gangsters.
Director(s): Ryan Colucci, Dragan Roganovic
Actor(s): Frank Raducz Jr., Alandrea Martin, Zoran Radanovich