Friday, 14 July 2017

BUSHWICK - Review By Greg Klymkiw - The Apocalypse comes to Brooklyn at Fantasia 2017

House of Worship, World of Shit, Apocalypse!!!

Bushwick (2017)
Dir. Jonathan Milott, Cary Murnion
Scr. Nick Damici, Graham Reznick
Starring: Dave Bautista, Brittany Snow, Angelic Zambrana

Review By Greg Klymkiw

You've just got off the subway with your boyfriend and are looking forward to introducing him to your Granny in Brooklyn. The platform is strangely empty until, naturally (it is the Bushwick district after all), a young gentleman in flames from head to toe barrels by, screaming in agony. As you and your beau ascend the stairs, you do so with trepidation - not only because a fiery human shishkebab just passed by, but now you can hear screams and gunshots. Your boyfriend bravely suggests you wait inside so he can go out to take a peek. Wrong move. He returns, near death, his flesh seared like charred corned beef. Once the love of your life expires, it's onwards and upwards.

What pretty young Lucy (Brittany Snow) discovers is Hell on Earth. People are rioting in the streets, looting is rampant and heavily armed military personnel in snappy, though scary-ass fascistic black uniforms (replete with helmets and dark, reflective faceplates) are firing into the bodies of innocent bystanders at will. She barely escapes certain death and hides out in a basement suite in the bowels of a nearby apartment building. The idyll doesn't last long. A few slavering gang banger thugs assail her.

Luckily, she's in the apartment of caretaker/janitor Stupe (Dave Bautista, WWE/MMA champ and the hilarious Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy), a tough-as-nails military veteran who dispatches the scumbags handily and saves her ass. This mismatched (clearly) pair become partners in survival as they wend their way through a veritable apocalypse.

America is under attack - by itself, it seems. A deadly army of redneck Southern secessionists has attacked the northern states and have concentrated their efforts in various New York boroughs, assuming, since they're ignorant racists (as most Deep Southerners must surely be) that they'll be able to have an easier time conquering "ethnics". Uh, not too bright, fellas. "Ethnics" fight back.

Bushwick is blessed with a first-rate screenplay that offers a simple, solid narrative coat hanger to deliver edge-of-the-seat suspense and plenty of action, but most off all, is infused with plenty of social/political layering and gorgeously-etched character shadings. This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows the name of the film's lead co-writer, the estimable Nick Damici, a terrific character actor who's also penned several brilliant scripts for director Jim Mickle (Mulberry Street, Stake Land, We Are What We Are, Cold in July). And yes, the script is always the thing, but it helps that co-directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion handle the proceedings with skill, efficiency and verve. Often utilizing several long, gorgeously shot takes, their camera whirs and glides (and not in annoying shaky-cam) with the kind of expert action movie precision that puts many of its big budget studio blackbuster cousins to shame.

The big bonus here, is that both script and direction are blessed with a perfect combination of humanity and cynicism. Bushwick is an exceedingly dark picture and happily, it feels like it would have been at home and comfy amidst any number of classic dystopian 70s science-fiction/action thrillers. The picture gave me gooseflesh and by its nasty, shocking, horrifying conclusion, I was truly, deliciously, orgasmically spent.


Bushwick, a Search Engine Films release, opens theatrically August 2017 in Canada and enjoys its Canadian Premiere at Fantasia 2017.