Ewan Gleadow

Review: Dragged Across Concrete

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The dramatic return of Mel Gibson since 2011’s The Beaver has offered up some of his greatest work; meanwhile, Vince Vaughn’s sudden resurgence as a dramatic actor has offered similar results. When thinking of great movie pairs, the mind may wander to Abbot and Costello, Carrey and Daniels or even Pitt and Freeman.

But would you ever have thought the pairing of Vaughn and Gibson would offer up one of the most groundbreaking, fulfilling and resounding movies of the modern wave of cinema? 

Dragged Across Concrete is just that, pairing the Braveheart star with the Dodgeball comedian in two of their finest roles. Gibson takes on the role of Brett Ridgeman, with Vaughn playing Anthony Lurasetti, two cops struggling to make ends meet after a video of their brutal police work goes viral. The two wade into the crime world, getting in over their heads in spectacularly quick fashion. 

Clocking in at near enough three hours, the movie is paced perfectly. We’re given enough time to not only grow on these characters but explore their faults, something movies are often keen to brush over. We see Ridgeman as a family man, Lurasetti as a plucky charmer who debates on whether or not to propose to his long-term girlfriend. They’re everyday characters with regular problems thrust into a world neither they nor audience will understand in the slightest. 

That’s the charm of Dragged Across Concrete though. Some members of the supporting cast feel more like throwaway characters than anything, but this doesn’t stop Tory Kittles from standing out amongst them. His performance as Henry Johns is more scattered than the leading duo, yet still works in impressive fashion to coincide with a lengthy arc of storytelling. It’s impressive to see a story this long unfold over such a long period of time, stopping off along the way to intertwine the characters. Rather than draw focus to it, the direction plays more with the proximity of the characters and how they never fully interact until the climax. 

S. Craig Zahler may be the best up and comer in the directing field, with a tremendous focus on the relationship between Ridgeman and Lurasetti.  Even deeper than that is an exposure of the dark underbelly of crime, and the extent people will go to secure a future for themselves.

Helped along superbly by an unprecedented and unpredictable chemistry between the two leads, Dragged Across Concrete is a fresh and exciting drama that makes me hungry for more Zahler projects.