7/10 I just recently came across the filmography of writer/director S. Craig Zahler. His two previous films to this were “Bone Tomahawk” and “Brawl in Cell Block 99” and I absolutely loved both of them and how well they were written but also how raw, gritty and violent they were. My excitement for this film was high based off of his other two films and after having seen this I can now say that although, this film isn’t as great as his first two, it is still a solid film worth seeing. This film is about 2 hours and 40 minutes which is long but Zahler never wastes a moment of screen time. Critics might think certain scenes could be cut but I think they really add to character development, building tension and creating a slow burn that his entire filmography has in common with each other. A supporting character normally wouldn’t have much time spent on them, especially if they are killed off but this film even develops those characters, which seemed very refreshing and unique to me. I also loved the script and the dialogue. Social justice warriors will complain that this film isn’t politically correct but that is part of the point. People like cops aren’t generally politically correct people and how they were portrayed felt super realistic. The social commentary the film provides rang true and was a fresh perspective from what you would normally get out of a Hollywood film. You could tell Zahler didn’t sacrifice his vision for the film and made the film he set out to make. As for the negatives, they are mostly minor. The soundtrack sometimes feels a little out of place/doesn’t fit the film in parts. Comparing this to Zahler’s first two films, it definitely lacks a little bit of the bite that his first two films had and a bit of the depth that his first film had. The acting is very solid all around and I like that Zahler is starting to make established relationships with some great actors. It is nice seeing Vince Vaughn, whom started out making serious dramas before moving to comedies, go back to his serious, dramatic acting roots. This film may fall short of his previous films but Zahler is a director and writer to really keep an eye on as he doesn’t shy away from darker subject matter and writes extremely well. I look forward to his next film with great anticipation, even if I hope it is closer to his earlier films than this one.
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