Author Topic: Dragged Across Concrete  (Read 1289 times)

Dragged Across Concrete
« on: March 23, 2019, 03:45:19 PM »
New police/exploitation thriller from the director of Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99, starring Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn. It's getting attacked for being very right wing and I've just watched it and it is for the most part. But there are touches to the film that question that worldview and I'm wondering how much of it is a provocation rather than a belief. It's actually a decent 90 minute film stuck inside a flabby 2 hours and 40 minutes one. I remain unconvinced that Vaughn is any good when asked to be anything other than glib.

Mister Six

  • Half-masted, bass-boosted, sling-backed
Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2019, 05:07:51 AM »
Just watche Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99 and enjoyed them both, but that runtime does give me pause. Then again, my favourite bits of those films were the long, meandering conversations, so if there's a load of them, maybe it won't annoy me as much as it did everyone else.

I'll be interested to see how much it's actually right-wing and how much is just showboating white New York liberal critics - the sort of people who treated Black Panther as the second coming rather than just a very good Marvel movie - having their circuits fritzed by moral ambiguity. Tomahawk and Brawl were fairly conservative in a way I suppose - both about big white American men facing off against dodgy Others (creepy Europeans, creepier Koreans, criminal Latinos and deranged Native Americans, with a few tokens to show They're Not All Like That) - but they didn't strike me as dreadfully right-wing in the dangerous way that we're seeing in, say, the fucking White House.

Haven't read that many reviews, mind you, and where I have I've tried to skim any of the bits concerning the plot. But the impression I get is that the critics actually had a lot of fun with this film and have been trying to come to terms with that...

Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2019, 03:47:36 PM »
Can this guy get somebody else to title his movies for him?

Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2019, 04:07:44 PM »
I think 'Bone Tomahawk' is a superb title, the words have a nice rhythm and the conjunction of the two is very intriguing.  However, I was disappointed to find that it had no thematic relevance.  A bone tomahawk features in one spectacularly gory scene, but that's it.

Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2019, 12:55:44 PM »
Slow burn at the start but i found the second half very tense till the end. Really enjoyed it. Don't watch if you need films that validate your world view.

Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2019, 01:39:08 PM »
I thought this was significantly overlong and ultimately a total mess.  It feels like two scripts rather hastily melded together, not really delivering on any of the themes or even narratives established early on.  Not that every film has to have a message or explore something profound, but this doesn’t do anything interesting even without that expectation.  Some unbelievably appalling dialogue too.

I liked Bone Tomahawk, gave up on Brawl about halfway through because it felt like a teenager had written it.  This wasn’t much different.

SteveDave

  • My LPs are still for sale in all good record shops
Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2019, 09:53:55 AM »
Some of the dialogue felt like a piss-take of Justin Quarantino written by a computer.

MEL GIBSON TALKS ABOUT SOME INSIGNIFICANT SHIT
VINCE VAUGHAN REPLIES WITH SOMETHING WITTY-ISH

There was no "OOooooOOOoh!" moment like there was in "Bone Tomahawk" and "Brawl In Cell 99"

There was absolutely no point to a lot of the scenes- the mother/bank worker section mostly.

PlanktonSideburns

  • lunch - small raw potato, peeled.
Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2019, 11:32:50 PM »
loved the stupid nonsense that was brawl in cellblock 99, really stuck with me as a film, despite it being some sort of teenage man fantasy. going to give this one a go, hope it dosent turn me racist! hope it has more of the earnest but rubbish music the director makes in it, that fake sounding soul music

PlanktonSideburns

  • lunch - small raw potato, peeled.
Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2019, 11:35:22 PM »
it does! ludicrous

PlanktonSideburns

  • lunch - small raw potato, peeled.
Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2019, 11:36:25 PM »
blokes in a metalband called 'realmbuilder'


hes basically garth merehngi isnt he?

PlanktonSideburns

  • lunch - small raw potato, peeled.
Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2019, 11:42:27 PM »
haha this dialouge is like its been written by a baby robot

PlanktonSideburns

  • lunch - small raw potato, peeled.
Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2019, 11:56:39 PM »
diner scene is a bit gervais

PlanktonSideburns

  • lunch - small raw potato, peeled.
Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2019, 12:03:50 AM »
"politics are everywhere, just like cellphones"


Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2019, 12:02:13 PM »
- but they didn't strike me as dreadfully right-wing in the dangerous way that we're seeing in, say, the fucking White House.

I agree with what you say about liberal critics, but it is still helpful to see how certain movies (even good ones) reinforce the ruling, as my avatar would say, ideology. Watching the films, it is clear that Zahler is a Conservative (possible a very right-wing one). Ideological critique should be a tool of the critic and not used to dismiss a film completely.

PlanktonSideburns

  • lunch - small raw potato, peeled.
Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2019, 12:26:36 PM »
Only halfway thru this, quite happy to have a conservative make my films, so far though with this one I'm finding these too old blokes with daily mirrorpinions a not very interesting fantasy,  with brawl in cell block 99 this was less of a problem with me for some reason. Also, the black characters seem pretty one dimensional

Maybe I should keep shtum until I've seen it all tho

Shit Good Nose

  • Several bags of balls
Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2019, 01:52:29 PM »
Half looking forward to and half dreading watching this...

I REALLY liked Bone Tomahawk (even if Matthew Lost's gimmicky character stood out like a sore thumb amongst the others), and thought Cell Block 99 was pretty good (although I think it could do with a bit more editing).  From what I've read about Concrete, it sounds to be a real patience tester, even for those fond of Zahler's other two films.  With the 2-odd minute single shot of Vince eating a sandwich, I do wonder if there's an element of Zahler taking the piss - out of his own films and/or the audience.

Still, it's nice to have a genre film-maker bringing a little more thought and a little less Tarantino to proceedings.  I totally disagree with the large number of people who say that Zahler is just trying to ape QT - he's far too restrained, grounded, patient and original (to be clear, all that is in comparison with QT specifically) for that.

Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2019, 02:58:10 PM »
Bone Tomahawk - modern classic western re-write (but curious portrayal of a particular tribe of Native Americans?).

Cell Block 99, it's a comedy right? With Vince Vaughn and his puffy funny face? There's something about the long take that makes certain tense or serious scenes quite funny.

Dragged Across Concrete - if they'd obsessed about the realism of the end gunfight a bit more this would be good. But here the long takes highlight the flaws that would've been made invisible by quick edits.

Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2019, 04:34:20 PM »
It seemed like the ending was trying to say something, but I have no idea what.  I'm not sure Zahler really did either.  It doesn't reflect on any of the earlier talking points, in any event.

I think Tarantino's dialogue is far better, even though it grates like fuck on me now.  A lot of Zahler's dialogue (at least in this and Brawl) sounds like it's from Max Payne.

PlanktonSideburns

  • lunch - small raw potato, peeled.
Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2019, 12:36:30 AM »
will finnish this on the weekend and have opinions

Old Nehamkin

  • Dance, Jimmy!
Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2019, 11:30:58 AM »
I liked this about as much as Brawl in Cell Block 99. A little less than Bone Tomahawk. 

I think Zahler is a bit of an idiot savant, really. His plotting is awkward and clunky, his dialogue has a stilted, overwrought quality which at best comes off as surreal and at worst as embarrassingly try-hard. There are a couple of scenes in this film that could have been written by a 17 year-old /pol/ user, and his work does seem to be deeply embedded in that kind of adolescent, reactionary worldview.

Despite all that, I've found all of his films incredibly absorbing and I think he's got more than enough raw filmmaking talent to elevate his less artful screenwriting into something that's endearingly weird and uncanny. A few times during this film I started thinking of the third season of Twin Peaks  - I dunno if that's a strange comparison to make, but I do think Zahler shares a little bit of the sensibility of latter-day David Lynch.

Anyway, I'm happy for him to keep making these grimy, indulgent exploitation films for as long as he wants.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2019, 02:13:19 PM by Old Nehamkin »

Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2019, 11:35:24 AM »
We're all in agreement that the sequence with the new mum bank teller was the best bit aren't we?

PlanktonSideburns

  • lunch - small raw potato, peeled.
Re: Dragged Across Concrete
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2019, 11:48:07 PM »
It seemed like the ending was trying to say something, but I have no idea what.  I'm not sure Zahler really did either.

Finally got round to watching all of this, - stopped about 30min in, and i was having a totally rubs time with it at that point - some proper shite dialouge, really agree with Nehamkin's description of it coming off as "surreal and at worst as embarrassingly try-hard" - some of the exchanges are marvelously strange and wonderful, Fred Melamed's scene is a real bit of fresh surrealism, the bank almost dreamlike in its evenly lit cleanlyness, his lines are so off and dumb, the whole reverse austin powers minion death section with the bank teller is really quite something. in other parts, it felt like it was trying to ham handedly read out bits that really annoyed it from the Metro on my lunchbreak and im balls deep in sad little racist boys in my work thank you very much, so it felt more like less funny version of my work week with more handsome old men

but fuck me, it did win me back quite a lot by the end. Noodle Lizards line about Zahler's lack of trying to say something, or lack of ability to say something, resonates, but for me the net effect of this lack of purpose was a good thing. If he did have something didactic to say about race, i would have probably sacked it off, but its so unwieldy and subtly weird in its relations, by the end i wasnt even convinced that it was a conservative film, - brawl in cellblock 99 is a film in the style of a conservative power fantasy, but its done so weirdly that i dont know if it really works as one, the biggest and realest baddie in that film for me was the dehumanizing american penal system, not the pantomime udo kier, - was it Zahler's plan all along to try and slip a satire of the american penal system into a film that looks conservative on the surface? hes gone fucking method on painting himself as a dumbfuck conservative splatterperv if so, fair play. There are so many great moments here, and ive no idea if Zahler has given either loads of thought to things, or none at all. The scene where the two drivers working for the white bank robbers take off all their whiteface makeup as they flee the posh end of town, and it feels very evocative of something, but i cant put my finger on what.

it reminded me a bit of robocop in the way that it wanted to maximise the humiliation, horror and consequence of every death, the situations in the film felt like meat grinders that really didnt care what became of the carcasses, it was really working hard to make sure that i felt like real shit about the violence on screen, and i respect that.

the two leads are pretty good: Vince Vaughn has a lovely mournful fat old face, but also a peculiar daintiness to him, which i find very watchable, he looks like a once graceful man made a fool of by time and gravity, and Zahler really puts him to good use. Mel 'domestic abuse' Gibson is pretty charismatic old leatherfaced dude, not sure if casting him as a racist abusive cop is as clever as Zahler makes out.

it looks fucking gorgeous, - all long still shots and lovely compostion, definatley some twinpeaks 3.0 vibes, but a real look of his own, some bits in this were pure dark comic book noir


all shadows and hunched figures


Mel "obscenity-filled antisemitic meltdown" gibson there


the action direction i really love also, - its a bit short on action this one, but what there is of it, i really like, he has this hefty, laboured way of making action, its a game of terrible lumpen chess rather than a balletic hyperedited dance, a lot of violent film makers try and say their films are anti violence, but then they make it look so danm cool, - but theres not much glamour in chubby faced fail-fiance vince vaughn getting shot to bits by a paniced hostage before Mel "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” Gibson panics and shoots her face off, the heros are undignified idiots in this, and the world seems like a howling roulette wheel of chaos; who lives and who dies in the gun fight seems almost random, abritary. This feels like a pacifist film in the same way that robocop feels like a pacifist film to me, - its violence seems like a sad, rotten mugs game rather than something glamorous and dangerous.

havent even got round to the music in this film yet - once again zahler is writing surreal not quite right sounding soul numbers for this, which i really respect, - i hate that tarantino thing of just bungingn some coasters or some dick dale on a film and jacking their swag, - a director as baffling and daft as this needs some baffling and daft music, and he does that

at the end it says "all songs and additional music written and produced by jeff herriot and s.craig zahler"

Shotgun Safari in particular sounds like something that the flight of concords might have knocked up -
sounds like the pontiac bandit out of brooklyn 99 doing kareoke over some isacc hayes midi files:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRTU1Is3WXo




jeff herriot and s.craig zahler there.

i hope he continues to make his stupid weird films with vaughn, not so fussed on seeing Mel "“You look like a fucking pig in heat and if you get raped by a pack of n**gers then fair fucks to you and no mistake" Gibson trying to look all old and sad and redemptive in things, theres got to be other hard looking old bastards out there who could deliver this blokes risible dialouge surely?

also, zahler's metal band is absolute Trogdor the Burninator level hack rubbish

the end