CHERRY – Film Review

Cherry follows the wild journey of a disenfranchised young man from Ohio who meets the love of his life, only to risk losing her through a series of bad decisions and challenging life circumstances. Inspired by the best-selling novel of the same name, Cherry features Tom Holland in the title role as an unhinged character who drifts from dropping out of college to serving in Iraq as an Army medic and is only anchored by his one true love, Emily (Ciara Bravo).

When Cherry returns home a war hero, he battles the demons of undiagnosed PTSD and spirals into drug addiction, surrounding himself with a menagerie of depraved misfits. Draining his finances, Cherry turns to bank robbing to fund his addiction, shattering his relationship with Emily along the way.

Watching Anthony and Joe Russo’s Cherry feels like an epic cinematic experience. It’s a nearly two-and-a-half hour-long story of one man whose life is fairly ordinary, to begin with, but with each passing scene, gets more and more insane. The Russo Brothers were the perfect choice to direct this exhilarating crime thriller.

Their previous effort Avengers: Endgame obviously was a gigantic hit and ended up becoming the highest-grossing movie ever made, and it’s not hard to see why. Not only was it the swan song to the Infinity Saga era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and not only did it provide fans with the amazing action and emotions they asked for, but it was a masterfully directed film.

Courtesy of Apple TV+

The Russo Brothers are wonderful directors, and it perhaps shows best with their latest film Cherry. Tom Holland of Spider-Man fame leads this story and after seeing it, I can confirm that I will never look at him the same way again. His work as Peter Parker / Spider-Man is still my favorite role of his simply based on pure fun, but his best performance to date is without a doubt in Cherry.

Right from the moment the movie began, I was hooked and deeply intrigued in regards to this man’s life. Who is he exactly and how did he end up being an extreme junkie and robber? His life seemed fairly normal to begin with. But all it takes is for a couple of major events to change who you are.

Holland proves all the naysayers wrong as the titular character. He is able to show intense emotion with just facial expressions sometimes, and absolutely nothing about his work feels fake here. At times incredibly sympathetic and at other times genuinely terrifying, Holland completely disappears in this riveting and game-changing performance that absolutely requires a Best Actor nomination. The last time a performance swept me off my feet was Florence Pugh in Midsommar, and unfortunately, she didn’t get any nominations at the Oscars. Let’s just hope the Academy recognizes Holland’s outstanding work here.

But don’t worry, Cherry doesn’t only succeed thanks to Holland and his fellow co-stars such as the always excellent Jack Reynor or the bold Michael Gandolfini; it’s a bold and chilling tale of love, money, death, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Cherry never shies away from showing just how much grief and sorrow somebody goes through upon returning from the military.

Seeing dozens of people killed right in front of you, some of which are people you cared for, would be absolutely earth-shattering. Cherry not only shows you the visceral and brutal world that we live in and the heartbreaking truths that lie within it, but it also shows you the painful aftermath of these events.

Some people are not going to dig Cherry because of its subject matter as well as its long-running time, and that’s okay. This is the type of movie that is surely going to cause a lot of talk on the internet for a long period of time, and that’s the beauty of movies. They’re made not only for people to watch, but for people to talk about for years to come. Love it or hate it, I think everybody will be discussing Cherry.

Overall Grade: A

MPAA Rating: R for graphic drug abuse, disturbing and violent images, pervasive language, and sexual content

Cast: Tom Holland, Ciara Bravo, Jack Reynor, Michael Rispoli, Jeff Wahlberg, Forrest Goodluck, Michael Gandolfini, Kyle Harvey, Pooch Hall, Damon Wayans Jr., Thomas Lennon, Kelli Berglund

Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Distributed by: Apple TV+

Release Date: February 26, 2021

Running Time: 141 minutes

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