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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Bushwick movie review: don’t mess with Brooklyn

Bushwick green light

MaryAnn’s quick take…
There’s fierce tension in this breathless urban survival thriller as anarchy comes to New York streets. Terrific, innovative low-budget action filmmaking.tweet
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

College student Lucy (Brittany Snow: Pitch Perfect 2) comes up out of the New York City subway to find that all hell has broken loose: there’s gunfire and explosions everywhere, fires burning, mysterious troopers — terrorists? — in black rounding up residents (or killing them), no signs of NYPD or any other legitimate authorities. Terrified, baffled, and on the verge of becoming a victim of the sudden lawlessness, Lucy teams up with reluctant veteran Stupe (Dave Bautista: Blade Runner 2049) as they both attempt to get to safety… if such a place exists. The less you know about Bushwick (named for Lucy and Stupe’s working-class neighborhood in northern Brooklyn) the better — all the marketing of the film, from the trailer to the DVD descriptions, is far too spoilerish — for the incredibly fierce tension and horrortweet that directors Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott create is heightened by the uncertainty over just what the hell is going on and how widespread the urban chaos might be: is it just Bushwick? just Brooklyn? is it all of NYC? WTF? Screenwriter Nick Damici (with Graham Reznick) has a good nasty track record with fresh-take horror: his 2007 rat-virus-zombie flick Mulberry Street is also very specifically New York–ish, and his vampire adventure Stake Land, from 2010, shares an appreciation for fucked-up Americana with Bushwick. But it’s the panache with which Murnion and Milott pull off the trick of the movie appearing to play out in breathless real time, as if it were one long uncut take, that makes the experience so riveting. The cuts are hidden, mostly pretty seamlessly, as Lucy and Stupe wend their way through abandoned shops and homes, dodging both the strange invaders and those who would take advantage of the anarchy. It’s a no-letup shockwave of social breakdown,tweet and a terrific example of innovative low-budget action filmmaking.

Click here for my ranking of this and 2017’s other releases.

green light 4 stars

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Bushwick (2017) | directed by Cary Murnion, Jonathan Milott
US/Can release: Aug 25 2017 (VOD same day)
UK/Ire release: Aug 25 2017

MPAA: not rated
BBFC: rated 15 (strong language, violence, threat, injury detail, sex references)

viewed at home on PR-supplied physical media or screening link

IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • windy_way8192

    I loved it too.

  • James Groce

    It was beyond horrendous with poor tactical thinking and its very silly political twist destroyed the movie.

  • Explain, please. “Political twist”? In what way could this movie have NOT been political?

  • James Groce

    The invading forces could have been Russian, or, more comically, Canadian. They could have been anything than from another part of the US of A so that all Americans could root for the Americans. Instead, the writers got lazy and tried to slam Texas and the southern states. NetFlix already has a bad reputation with conservatives. So, putting out movies like this one just adds to the division.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Any film involving an invading force is by definition political. Even if the invaders are aliens.

    Then again the “red states bad, blue states good” routine has been done so often that it’s hard to pretend it doesn’t make my eyes glaze over. And this from someone who was born in Detroit.

  • The invading forces could have been Russian, or, more comically, Canadian.

    And neither of those would have been political?

    the writers got lazy

    Just because you didn’t like it doesn’t mean it was lazy.

    NetFlix already has a bad reputation with conservatives.

    Netflix had nothing to do with making this movie.

  • James Groce

    go away

  • Bluejay

    It’s her website. YOU go away.

  • James Groce

    No, I’ll leave these comments here so that others can see the typical response from our hostess. How about that Bluebird? Typical responses from the non-thinking Leftists. How dare anyone disagree with the Leftists. BTW, Rotten Tomatoes reviewers also hated this silly movie. https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/bushwick_2017/

    This is by far the most action our hostess has seen in some time. Pretty sad if you think about it.

  • Tonio Kruger

    * Rolls eyes. *

  • Bluejay

    the typical response from our hostess

    She asked incisive questions and replied succinctly as your comments deserved. Yes, pretty typical for her, thank goodness.

    How dare anyone disagree with the Leftists.

    No one’s stopping you from disagreeing with “the leftists.” You just don’t like it that they can respond and make you look stupid.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    lol wut

  • James Groce

    yawn…..you guys are so easily manipulated.

  • Bluejay

    Yeah, but all we have to do is put a girl and a black dude and then an Asian girl into the Star Wars movies and you all lose your damn minds :-)

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    lol wut

    I mean, toss me a bone here. I’m trying to communicate in your native tongue: 12-year-old would-be internet troll.

  • Dude, *I’m* a Rotten Tomatoes reviewer!

    No, I’ll leave these comments here so that others can see the typical response from our hostess.

    Such a public service you are providing!

  • James Groce

    Yes, I know you are. You were one of the few who gave this movie a thumbs up. I provided input to you as to why I found it less than agreeable. The minions of the Left came out of the woodwork like the creatures of the dark and spewed their little criticisms that no one should dare to challenge the group think. And, actually, I am providing a public service whether you care to acknowledge it or not.

  • Bluejay

    Again: No one is stopping you from challenging anyone. You’re just having a tantrum because others, in turn, can challenge YOU. Free speech works both ways, baby. Don’t be such a snowflake about it.

    I am providing a public service whether you care to acknowledge it or not

    Aww, it’s nice that you find meaning in what you do. It’s always good to believe in yourself. Good job, run along now, Jimmy.

  • You were one of the few who gave this movie a thumbs up.

    The film at an RT rating of 44%. That means almost half of the critics who’ve checked in liked it: at the moment it’s 29 Fresh and 37 Rotten. I am hardly one of “a few.”

    But, wait… You disagree with my slightly minority take on the film. You agree with the slight majority of critics. And yet somehow you are also challenging groupthink?

    You’ve lost the plot somewhere.

  • James Groce

    yawn. I see you were a math major. ha!

  • James Groce

    ^^ proving my point yet again. BTW, what is a bluejay? An annoying, chattering creature that defecates everywhere. Good name choice to hide behind.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Ho-hum. Yet another entry from the “I am rubber, you are glue” school of political rhetoric.

    Personally, I think blue jays are kinda nice.

  • Bluejay

    The guy’s been banned, Tonio, and he had nothing left but ad hominems anyway. I wouldn’t waste any more time on him. :-)

  • Tonio Kruger


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