John Nolte, an actual film critic, his review of "Dragged across concrete."

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by 2aguy, Mar 23, 2019.

  1. 2aguy
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    2aguy Diamond Member

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    John Nolte is my favorite film critic. He reviews movies based on their quality as films, , not their political opinions. He freely discusses the political aspects of a film, but that doesn't detract from his opinion of the quality of a film...if it is a good film, left or right, he says so.........and he isn't afraid to call out the social justice warriors pretending to be film critics....

    Here is his review of the film "Dragged Across Concrete."

    'Dragged Across Concrete' Review: Courageous, Complicated, Hypnotic

    In most every interview he sits down for, Zahler is pretty much berated over his politics, his non-conformity, his refusal to adhere to the Production Code of Political Correctness. In other words, he’s called on the carpet and told to explain himself — “Are you now or have you ever been a Republican!” But Zahler — God bless him — refuses to answer. Other then confessing to being an atheist Jew, Zahler will only say his films do not express a point of view, that his only goal is to create something compelling.

    I, for one, believe him…

    If you want to bleed art into something bland, the fastest route is through ideological conformity. Audiences are pretty smart these days and after two decades of this shit, we’re starting to roll our eyes. As tired of these “tells” as the rest of us, Zahler has chosen instead to be an artist who surprises, who thrills in ways big and small, who zigs where other artists, either out of fear or a lack of imagination, censor themselves.
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    Normally, I don’t read reviews until mine is complete. Only the film should inform my perspective. Unsure I’d have access to Dragged (thankfully it was also released on VOD), I took a peek at what others are saying and came away with one overall impression: while most critics gave it a passing grade, many of these so-called progressives who condemned the film as racist exposed their own latent racism with all their talk about Dragged’s “two stars.”

    Two stars?

    What about Tory Kittles?

    Anyone who watches Dragged and sees only two stars — Vince Vaughn and Mel Gibson — should ask themselves why they’re overlooking the magnificent work of Tory Kittles, a black actor every bit as charismatic as Gibson and Vaughn, a remarkable presence who very nearly steals a movie that mostly belongs to his character, Slim.

    But let’s back up a bit…

    Dragged is not, as its reactionary critics suggest, about white men who fear losing their place in a changing world. A few off-color remarks, a couple of politically incorrect punchlines, and confronting the reality — yes, the reality — of what life is like for a white person in a deteriorating neighborhood with a predominantly black population, is not what Dragged is about. I’ll get to all of that in a bit, but let’s start with what Draggedreally is about … and that’s duty to family.

    ====

    Zahler takes his sweet time with everything, an approach that is the opposite of dull. At two hours and forty minutes and almost no action until the last half-hour, he wants us to get to know his characters, even a bank employee (Jennifer Carpenter) so devoted to her newborn baby she can barely return to work after a three month maternity leave (Imagine that — a movie that depicts a professional woman desperate to be home with her baby, to be a full-time mother).

    And in getting to know these characters, we are invited to spend time with realistic people as they are, and to do so without being lectured about the appropriate opinions to hold of them.

    Some critics are screaming homophobia because Ridgeman and Lurasetti comment on how you can no longer tell if a singer is a man or woman, because Ridgeman jokes about Lurasetti’s choice of hair product being “gay.” Gimme a break.

    Some critics are angry because Laurie Holden’s character admits to feeling guilty, feeling like a racist over what’s happening to her daughter and what she fears will happen to her daughter.

    Some truly stupid critics are screaming racism because Dragged’s arch-villain actually is a virulent racist, but these critics are forgetting that he’s the, uh, arch-villain — you know, the guy Zahler wants us to hiss. But this racist psycho (whose face we never see) is something more, a way for Zahler to distinguish between actual racism and the complicated realities of the human condition.

    Like the Ridgemans, I’m a white person who was once forced by economic circumstance to live, work, and go to school for more than two years in a mostly black ghetto. I promise you there is no shortage of black people who will warn a white person against such a thing. You see, it simply doesn’t matter that 99.99 percent of your neighbors are good people. All it takes is one bully to single you out for your skin color.

    Zahler deserves credit for reflecting this reality, and I dare anyone tut-tutting him over this perfectly valid artistic choice to test this reality.

    Zahler’s most brilliant choice, though — a choice that again forces us to see the difference between shit talk and true racism — is the woman Lurasetti wants to marry: a beautiful, accomplished black woman whose skin color is never mentioned, not even by Ridgeman.
    ----

    It’s also worth mentioning that Zahler isn’t paving new ground here, he’s merely rewinding his art back to a freer time, to the wonderful era of 70’s filmmaking.

    You see, once upon a time, in that glorious era between the original Production Code and today’s increasingly oppressive Production Code of Political Correctness, movies weren’t afraid to get real, to offer us characters in all their complexities, to reflect them through a humanist prism — flaws and all. Unlike today, though, this was not done to give insufferably pious storytellers the opportunity to virtue signal; it was done for the sake of art — to create the most compelling and memorable characters possible.




     

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