A law unto them­selves

DRAGGED ACROSS CON­CRETE (18)

Llanelli Star - - FILM REVIEWS -

★★★ ★★

AE­SOP’S fa­ble of the tor­toise and the hare teaches us that slow, steady, dogged de­ter­mi­na­tion al­ways win out against stealthy and reck­less bravado. Writer-di­rec­tor S Craig Zahler has taken this life les­son to heart, set­ting painfully long fuses on his first two films, blood-soaked western Bone Tom­a­hawk and testos­terone-fu­elled riot Brawl In Cell Block 99.

Both pic­tures clocked in – un­nec­es­sar­ily – at a but­tock-numb­ing 129 min­utes, punc­tu­at­ing self­con­sciously stylised di­a­logue and mo­ments of quiet in­tro­spec­tion with lurid splashes of sick­en­ing vi­o­lence.

His third fea­ture adopts sim­i­lar shock tac­tics to re­count a bank rob­bery from mul­ti­ple per­spec­tives and tests our pa­tience and phys­i­cal stamina by ad­ding half an hour to the bloated run­ning time. I hope you’re sit­ting very com­fort­ably.

Dragged Across Con­crete de­liv­ers plenty of scraped flesh and a lot of navel-gazing as cor­rupt cops and morally con­flicted crim­i­nals trade bul­lets and wise­cracks against a vivid back­drop of racial ten­sion and eco­nomic hard­ship.

De­tec­tives Brett Ridge­man (Mel

Gib­son) and An­thony Lurasetti (Vince Vaughn) bend the law they are sup­posed to up­hold.

Their heavy-handed treatment of one sus­pect is cap­tured on film and sparks a de­bate about po­lice bru­tal­ity on var­i­ous news chan­nels.

“Dig­i­tal eyes are out there,” ” de­spairs Lieu­tenant Calvert (Don John­son), who is forced to sus­pend Ridge­man and Lurasetti with­out pay. Both men rely on their pay cheques.

Ridge­man’s wife Me­lanie (Lau­rie Holden) is a for­mer cop with mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis and soar­ing med­i­cal bills, while hile Lurasetti has re­cently in­vested in an en­gage­ment ring for his girl­friend (Tat­ti­awna Jones).

To make ends meet, the cops in­tend to mus­cle in on a rob­bery or­ches­trated by Lorentz Vo­gel­man (Thomas Kretschman­n).

Lurasetti is un­con­vinced by a plan he de­scribes as “bad – like lasagne in a can”. Mean­while, ex-con Henry Johns (Tory Kit­tles) ac­cepts an of­fer from best friend Bis­cuit (Michael Jai White) to work as Vo­gel­man’s getaway driv­ers.

It will be easy money that will help Henry to wrest his mother from the jaws of drug ad­dic­tion and pr pros­ti­tu­tion, as well as se­cure a brighter fu­ture for his teenage brother (Myles Truitt).

Dragged Across Con­crete face-plants sub­tlety in ev­ery brutish, m mus­cu­lar scene.

O One char­ac­ter is disem dis­em­bow­elled in stom­achchurn­ing close-up while another loses their pinkies.

Gib­son oozes de­spair from ev­ery pore, riff­ing con­vinc­ingly with Vaughn while Jen­nifer Car­pen­ter de­liv­ers an eye­catch­ing sup­port­ing turn as a bank teller, who is re­luc­tantly re­turn­ing to work af­ter ma­ter­nity leave.

Tory Kit­tles as Henry Johns Michael Jai White as Bis­cuit Bent cop­pers: Vince Vaughn as An­thony Lurasetti and Mel Gib­son as Brett Ridge­man

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