Stream it or skip it: Netflix’s ‘Drag Across Concrete’, an uninhibited cop thriller skewered by political correctness concerns
If someone designed a nuclear bomb to explode in speech, it would look exactly the same S. Craig Zahler‘s Drag through concreteStreaming now on Netflix. Mel Gibson Playing a violent (and arguably racist) cop prone to excessive force is enough fodder. But the movie also makes him a hero of a story that vindicates a worldview and mindset seldom seen on screen… yet shared by many people outside of it.
yeast: Partners Ridgeman (Mel Gibson) and Lurasetti (Vince Vaughn) are from the police school that “justifies the means,” even when it means… a brutal Hispanic beating gets them suspended for six weeks from the force when their behavior is caught on tape . For Ridgeman in particular, the incident becomes the final straw. His wife, who was also on the force, suffers from MS. His daughter was assaulted in their neighborhood for the fifth time in two years. He has been in the same rank for 30 years because he refuses to change with the times, relying on his work to promote him.
Ridgeman decides to take matters into his own hands for his future survival, and takes Lurasetti with him on the trip. Their exploits put them squarely in the crosshairs of a professional thief with little regard for human life. Busting and robbing these criminals not only becomes a matter of self-interest for the disgraced duo – he also administers justice and restores order according to his own worldview. Ridgeman meets something of his match in one of his henchmen, newly paroled Henry Johns (Tory Kettles), who is highly skilled at working through lawless means to get ahead in life.
What movies will remind you of?: The scheme is Dirty Harry But even more bitter and saddened by the right-wing media. There is no pretense that they can resolve their resentment of the criminal point in their city through any legitimate institutional process or remedy.
A performance worth watching: No doubt Gibson matches the dark tone of the film best, but it’s Vince Vaughn who really stands out as the film’s most impressive performer. Those who are familiar with Vaughn only through his comedic work such as wedding crashers He’ll find it quite impressive how well that larger-than-life escalation of Lurasetti’s character without completely dragging her down. There’s something that feels so human and natural about the way he can allow himself to be a little silly one moment, then a little bleak the next.
Unforgettable dialogue: “Calling you a racist in a public forum today is like accusing you of communism in the 1950s,” says First Lieutenant Don Johnson Calvert in a brief cameo to provide the guiding spirit of the film. Whether or not you agree with the value statement, it’s important to identify the lens through which law enforcement officers view the world—and their seemingly diminished place within it.
sex and skin: The very first scene of the movie shows Henry doing some lovemaking in a motel room, which might lead one to think Drag through concrete He will have sex with force as with violence. But after this opening, the only skin that reveals itself is in contexts that are decidedly unsexy, as women are stripped naked and humiliated by cops and criminals alike.
Our advice: Well, time to tackle what this piece has been dancing around so far Drag through concrete problem? Director S. Craig Zahler He may claim that he is not a political filmmaker, but this is not supported by what appears on the screen. Nobody in the movie wears a MAGA hat, but it’s not hard to see this movie as being very consistent with the “deep story” underpinning the worldview of many conservative Americans. In this novel, crime (largely committed by blacks and browns) is out of control. The hardworking people trying to keep the world safe pay the price and are forced to suffer as violence erupts because the police focus too much on being politically correct in doing their jobs.
Zahler doesn’t let vigilantes, racists, bitter conservatism go unchecked…but he’s also not afraid to let them win as Hollywood’s most common movie does. The film enjoys showing how brutal the criminals can be by not shying away from portraying the full brutality of their violence – and using a young white mother as a symbol of the perfect victim. The thinnest of the thin blue lines separate Drag through concrete than to become American Carnage: The Movie.
Whether one agrees with this vision of America or not, it is widespread within the country—and any attempt to confront it must first understand it. There is value for movies like Drag through concrete exists and trying to establish that case in a way that fully materializes so that people can understand the persuasive power that this type of narrative can have over people. In the first hour or so, one can find an almost anthropological interest in penetrating the kind of psyche that favors aggressive, immediate intervention to protect the status quo the characters consider to be in danger. But it begins, ahem, He wears in the back half when a prolonged armed confrontation between rogue cops and robbers stops the film in its tracks. Zahler doesn’t necessarily earn all of the 160 minutes he gives fans, but there’s enough of that time worth contemplating.
Our call: stream it. Drag through concrete is a conversation starter that forces viewers to sit with worldviews and ideologies that they may find deeply uncomfortable. It is somewhat easier to sort out one’s feelings about these things by treating them as narrative, rather than political propaganda. While it certainly isn’t a fun watch thanks to the brutal violence and bloated runtime, the mystery is worth discussion and deliberation.
Marshall Shaffer is a freelance film journalist based in New York. In addition to Decider, his work has also appeared in Slashfilm, Slant, The Playlist, and many other outlets. Someday soon, everyone will realize how true he is spring breakers.