IT is a slow burn, it is off kilter and it could have benefited from a snappier title but Dragged Across Concrete has to be one of the most impressive thrillers this year. S. Craig Zahler’s film focuses on a range of characters on both sides of the law who are drawn towards a heist.
Disgraced detectives Brett Ridgeman (Mel Gibson) and Anthony Lurasetti (Vince Vaughn) see the stolen gold bullion as their proper compensation after being suspended from the force for their strong arm tactics. And petty criminal Henry Johns (Tory Kittles) wants the ill gotten gains to provide a better life for his mum and brother who is in a wheelchair due to gang violence. But what follows is not your typical gritty crime flick. Focusing mainly on detectives Ridgeman and Lurasetti, Zahler explores the lives of the characters and the motives that have brought them to this point.
And you get to see it all unfold from a stakeout to a ruthless and brutal crime world where they find more than they bargained for waiting in the shadows.
The casting is intriguing with this one with Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn being a double act probably none of us could have imagined – but it works. There is a definite chemistry between the pair and much of the tension-breaking dialogue in the film is zingy and brilliantly delivered. What is also interesting is that Ridgeman and Lurasetti are not your typical TV show ‘corrupt cops’.
Although they have grown cynical, which is reflected in their methods, they have not truly lost their moral compass. However, Zahler lets down his female leads like Laurie Holden and Vanessa Bell Calloway with thinly-sketched characters. On the whole though, Dragged Across Concrete impresses.
Engaging throughout, it can swap from being slick and funny one moment to brutal and shocking the next which always keeps you on the edge of your seat despite the lengthy run time.