Gibson and Vince Vaughn are a pair of out-of-control cops careering towards in oblivion in S Craig Zahler’s long but often-brilliant crime flick
Titles of films are not usually so conscientious in giving you an exact sensory impression of the forthcoming entertainment. This title pretty much lets you have it like the feelaround cinema once envisioned in Brave New World and Kentucky Fried Movie. You’re aware of concrete abrading skin – and maybe the calloused grip grabbing the shirt-collar at the back of your neck or the gun barrel jammed somewhere intimate. Maybe this was originally just a working title, something scribbled down as a temporary placeholder until everyone came to see how appropriate it was.
S Craig Zahler, the director of the bizarre western horror Bone Tomahawk in 2015, has now put together this brutal, nasty, often brilliant Grubby Harry exploitation crime-thriller with flourishes of horror and sadism within its unhurried stakeout tempo and chapter-length scenes, aspiring to the tradition of George Higgins or Ed Bunker. I should point out the critical cognitive dissonance involved in praising anything to do with the disgraced-but-not-overwhelmingly-penitent Mel Gibson. Just as with his directorial effort Apocalypto, I have to pause after each keystroke to give a yelp of resentment.