'Bushwick' - Movie Review

The movie starts with Lucy (Brittany Snow) and her boyfriend Jose (Arturo Castro) heading for the exit in a Brooklyn subway station, chatting about him meeting her family. But as they approach the exit, someone on fire staggers screaming down the stairs. At the exit, Jose is killed by an explosion. Lucy finds a semi-organized armed force crawling the neighbourhood, and is driven into an uneasy alliance with "Stupe" (Dave Bautista). The two spend the entire movie trying to get across the neighbourhood.

This is essentially a disaster movie: law and order are out the window, and our two heroes take up arms to survive. It's implied - eventually, about 40 minutes into the 90 minute movie - that this is a regional problem only, but it's certainly affecting a large chunk of New York. And the neighbourhood of Bushwick is what the movie looks at. (Although apparently its representation of Bushwick is inaccurate and has locals up in arms.) The movie implied a side-line in social commentary (when the origin of the attacking armed force is revealed), but then completely failed to address the subject.

Bautista puts in a good performance as a damaged but decent man struggling with his own demons. Snow, who's been an actress all her life, fails to keep up with the former wrestler. She's not bad, I just found it interesting that he was doing the better job. They're the only actors that matter on this one, their screen time dwarfs anyone else on this project. The filming is claustrophobic and tense, shooting in an almost found-footage style (happily not shaky-cam). The camera follows them very closely as they try to get one block without dying - as if you're there with them. This stylistic choice is very effective, but overall the movie feels kind of weak and pointless.

Being "pointless" in a social commentary movie about armed warfare? Practically de rigueur. In a disaster movie? Not unheard of. But in an action movie - which is what this most wanted to be? Uncommon and unwanted, and another reason for its failure.