Short take: Dragged Across Concrete

2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

Short Take: A film industry term that means something that only takes a short time.

Reel Dialogue Short Take

A short review of a film with potential discussion points

Summary: Brett Ridgeman (Mel Gibson) has been an award-winning police officer on the Bulwark force, but has failed to play the political game over the years. In the twilight of his career, the grizzled senior statesman manages to go a bit too far with his tactics on a routine drug bust with his partner, Anthony Lurasetti (Vince Vaughn). These actions lead to the officers being suspended without pay by Ridgeman’s former partner and current head of the department, Lt. Calvert (Don Johnson) as a means of keeping the media watchdogs at bay. The financial pressure on both police officers forces them to consider reaching out to their criminal connections to find a method of income. 

Their search causes the officers to cross paths with ex-convict Henry Johns (Tory Kittles). His motivation upon release from prison is to find a means of helping his wheel-chair bound son and his drug-addicted, prostitute mother. He must rely on his friend, Biscuit (Michael Jai White), to get work as a getaway driver with Lorentz Vogelmann (Thomas Kretschmann). The psychopathic mastermind who is about to undertake a bank heist of monstrous proportions. The criminal mastermind manages to get on the attention of Ridgeman and Lurasetti, who do not want to stop the robbery, but hope to hijack the robbers in the process. The game of cat and mouse led to a violent series of events that will cause inevitable changes in the lives of all who are involved. 

Short-take: Reminiscent of crime dramas of the late 70s, director S. Craig Zahler (Brawl in Cell Block 99) uses a minimalist approach to convey this dark and violent portrayal of desperation. He relies on the charisma and strength of his lead actors to pull the audience through this brutal world. The stark and drastic editing makes for an abrupt viewing experience that adds to the discomfort of the intense screenplay. Vaughn and Gibson do have the chemistry that does provide the lighter moments within the story,. The issue is that most of these humorous lines are spoken so quickly, it would be surprising if audience members even can discern the jokes. This tale contains very few glimpses of light and travels down a dark tunnel of violence and inhumanity that makes it impossible to enjoy.

REEL DIALOGUE: How far does your loyalty go? 

Loyalty is both fascinating and confusing, it is defined as being faithful to something on someone. People will put their money, careers and lives on the line for the sake of loyalty to family, friends or countries. In Dragged Across Concrete, most of the characters lose their lives or livelihood because of the dedication to friends, family or workplace partners. It begs the question, why do we choose to be loyal or faithful to someone else? 

It seems to be rooted in wanting to place implicit trust in the person we put our faith and knowing that this loyalty will be reciprocated. The Bible plies a deeper meaning to the idea of loyalty. What can be seen is that God is the only one that is entirely faithful. He is faithful even when his followers are faithless. The thing to consider is that with mankind, loyalty can be fleeting, but with God we can find real commitment and someone true to their word.

1. Is lying ever justified in life? (Proverbs 19:9, Psalm 101:7)

2. Can we ever find justice? (Proverbs 21:15, Romans 12:19)

3. Is revenge ever justified? (Romans 12:17-21, 1 Peter 3:9)