By: Amanda Guarragi
Cherry which is directed by the Russo brothers is a harrowing look at the opioid epidemic in the United States. An army medic (Tom Holland) suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and becomes a serial bank robber, after an addiction to drugs puts him in debt. Although the story is interesting and handled the subject matter in a unique way, the film tried to do too much in the two hour and twenty minute runtime. If it weren’t for Tom Holland’s incredible performance – even though I think he was miscast – this would have been even more of a chore to sit through.
There are many issues that arise when adapting a novel to the screen. In the Russo’s case, the issue was the structure and overall style of the film. For it’s five part structure, showing the intertext of each chapter of Cherry’s life, simply didn’t work in this case. It was incredibly jarring for the tone of the film to shift during each transition into the next phase of his life. It also felt like the Russo’s were pulling scenes from their favourite films like Full Metal Jacket, Memento and Jarhead. It just felt incredibly messy and overstuffed with references to other films. The Russo’s attempted to show how harmful and addictive drugs can be, in a very brutal way, and I can commend them for that.
The reason why this was so uncomfortable to sit through was because of the character of Cherry. In my opinion, I don’t think Holland suited this role. I am not saying his performance wasn’t strong, or that he is a poor actor, that is not what I’m saying at all. It’s the fact that hearing his voice, seeing him do everything that he did in this film, just felt wrong. Unfortunately, Holland has a young-looking face, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but can make roles challenging. Holland is beyond talented and this is one of the best performances he has given, I just wish the story was a bit more polished and the structure of the film was different.
Tom Holland carried Cherry on his back. He gave a phenomenal performance in a film that attempted to bury him at the same time. The style of the film constantly changes and the tone shifts, between ‘chapters’ or ‘acts’ ruins the pacing of the film. There are fourth-wall breaks that are completely unnecessary and the voiceover grew tiresome by the one-hour mark. The Russo’s wanted to try something different and I can definitely respect that, but at the end of the day it just wasn’t executed in a polished way.