Tom Holland plays an Army medic-turned-drug addict in the Russo brothers' gritty drama.
Tom Holland has joined forces with his Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo once again for a completely different kind of project - Cherry.
Based on the semi-autobiographical book of the same name by Nico Walker, Cherry tells the story of a U.S. Army medic who suffers from PTSD when he returns home and turns to drugs to numb the pain. To fund his junkie lifestyle, he starts robbing banks.
The film is an epic two hours and 20 minutes and is split into five chunky chapters bookended by a prologue and an epilogue.
Part one is set in 2002 when the protagonist known as Cherry meets Emily (Ciara Bravo) at college and they fall in love. During a brief split, Cherry signs up for the army and drops out of college, marrying Emily just before he goes off to Iraq.
The next two chapters cover his two years in the army, and the following two parts depict his return, his battle with PTSD, and his and Emily's descent into "dope life".
The film is tonally all over the place. It starts off as this irreverent crime drama, with Holland doing a lot of voiceovers and talking to the camera, then there's a teen high school romance section, then a war movie, and then a drug/crime movie. What does this film want to be?!
It is also way longer than it needs to be. The film could have started at part three without affecting our understanding of the story very much.
The screenplay was weak, it relied on the voiceover too much, and the Russos played around with style too often, with words occasionally appearing on screen and the aspect ratio changing for no apparent reason.
On a positive note, Holland comes out of Cherry quite well. This is his most mature and complex role to date and although he seems too nice and friendly to be a convincing drug addict/bank robber, there's no denying he threw his all into the part, both emotionally and physically.
Newcomer Bravo was solid as Emily, although it was frustrating seeing her responsible teacher character descend into dope life, while other notable supporting cast members include Jack Reynor as their drug dealer and Forrest Goodluck as Cherry's pal James.
Cherry is a really hard, depressing watch. It's awful seeing two youngsters destroying their lives and slowly killing themselves, and the film depicts their junkie lifestyle in a really grim, gritty, and detailed way.
Needless to say, Cherry really outstays its welcome and is a slog to get through.
On AppleTV+ now.
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