Director: S. Craig Zahler
Release Date: March 22nd 2019
The most overlooked actor in Hollywood might be Vince Vaughn. Who else could have starred in comedies such as Wedding Crashers, Dodge-ball and Old School, and dark thrillers like Brawl in Cell Block 99, and most recently, Dragged Across Concrete? If there is, I don’t know who it is. Early in his career, Vaughn was seen as a romantic comedy guy. And to the general public he still probably is — co-starring in a film called The Break up with Jennifer Aniston will do that. Fortunately for moviegoers, Vaughn navigated his way to a more off-the-rails version of himself the past two years. In Brawl in Cell Brock 99 he stars as a prisoner in an eerie, dark thriller, something he had never done before. The movie fell short of making big headlines. It was the first time director Craig Zahler and Vaughn worked together. The two clearly had something that worked. Nearly a year later, the duo comes back into our lives with Dragged Across Concrete.
Dragged Across Concrete stars Vaughn and Mel Gibson, police officers who find themselves suspended from work after they were caught on camera being overly aggressive with a suspect. Unfortunately for them, there was an innocent bystander who got the whole thing on camera. The unnecessary behavior by the police was given to a TV news station, Leaving the two officers without pay for SIX weeks. The two cops go into Triple Frontier mode, and try to make cash off the clock by ripping off criminals in the lawless underworld.
Director Craig Zahler isn’t on everyone’s radar yet. Though Between Brawl in Cell Block 99 and Dragged Across Concrete, he shows a ton of promise. Craig used a gritty style when directing the two films. Both feel abstract and potentially in a alter world, one that is like mine and yours, but darker and more terrifying. The use of a greyscale throughout Dragged Across Concrete creates a dream-like feel to what you are watching.
Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn are perfect playing crooked police officers. The two seem to be made for this role. Between the outstanding lead performances and a unique ability to tell a somewhat common story (good guy/bad guy cop movie) Dragged Across Concrete is one of the best films so far in 2019. Mel Gibson is built for this role, and Vaughn, our rom-com legend, is finding a mid-career evolution. Keep an eye on Vaughn and Zahler over the next couple of years. Hopefully Vaughn continues on this path of being in more grungy films. As for Craig Zahler, he now has enough under his belt to become a household name. Although most of his films do not receive much recognition, those of us who have seen them tend to love them. This feat has been going on for years now with Craig, from his 2007 Documentary Air Guitar Nation to his 2015 Cult classic Bone TomaHawk. As time goes on, Zahler will become more of a name. Let’s just pray he continues to make indie, dark classics.