Dragged Across Concrete: A Pulp Fiction Novel Done In 159 Minutes

Dragged Across Concrete is a Neo-noir action thriller film, directed by S. Craig Zahler. The plot revolves around two cops, Brett (Mel Gibson), and Anthony (Vince Vaughn), who are suspended after an excessive force incident. However, for various reasons both men need to make money, so they decide to rob a group of criminals that have robbed a bank.

Craig Zahler is a very strange filmmaker to talk about as his films have a very specific style to them, if you have ever seen any of them you will know what I am talking about, said style can be incredibly polarising. I enjoyed his debut effort Bone Tomahawk but thought that his follow-up Brawl In Cell Block 99 went a little too far for my tastes and veered into vile and uncomfortable viewing. This film, however, seems to hit a sweet spot, it has moments of extreme violence, but these aren’t excessive rather instead well used.

One of my favourite bits from this film is one of those violent moments. Jenifer Carpenter plays Kelly a recent mother who is having separation anxiety as she has to be away from her baby and go back to work, can I just say here that even though her role is under 10 minutes I think this is one of the best performances of Carpenter’s career, once she is back at work she gets caught up in the bank robbery and killed. What makes this worth talking about is the fact that this is incredibly shocking as she is a recognisable actress, and had a big part in Cell Block 99, we don’t expect her to die so suddenly yet she does. This moment actually made me gasp out loud, I am being serious.

The antagonist of the film is also terrific from the moment we are introduced to Lorentz Vogelmann (Thomas Kretschmann), he is menacing. Furthermore, the choice to have him be in a mask for most of the film really adds to the sense of terror. He is the first ‘bad guy’ in a long time that has actually captured my interest.

Gibson and Vaughn are both solid leads and have a good repour, you can easily buy that these two men have been partners for some time. Moreover, the character motivations for the two are well written as well, Vaughn’s Anthony wants to propose to his girlfriend, he dies as he listens to a voicemail of her rejecting him this perfectly captures that gritty sense of reality that this film is going for. Brett, on the other hand, wants to provide a better life for his family, which in a sense he does, and this provides the film it’s happy ending.

Overall, this film feels as though S. Craig Zahler has brought a pulpy crime novel to the big screen in the best way. Usually, these sorts of films, especially with a run-time as long as this (159 minutes) start to lose my attention, but this one kept me hooked right the way through to the end. A modern masterpiece in noir cinema. A Must Watch!

Pros.

It Is Genuinely Shocking.

It Is Everything A Pulpy Crime Film Should Be.

It Is Gorey But Doesn’t Over Do It.

Great Leads.

A Career Best For Jennifer Carpenter.

Cons.

None.

5/5

Reviewed By Luke

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