Director: Jeff Nichols
Stars: Jodie Comer, Austin Butler, Tom Hardy, Mike Faist, Michael Shannon, Damon Herriman, Norman Reedus
The Scorsese influence hangs heavy over this 60s-set biker movie, inspired by the photography book of the same name by Danny Lyon. The picture uses Danny’s interviews with his subjects as a framing device. In a singsong gossipy voice, Kathy (Comer), a chirpy young woman, relates to him how she, against her better judgment, started seeing the handsome brooding biker boy Benny (Butler), a member of rebellious motorcycle club the Chicago Vandals. Hanging out at the bar, she meets gang head Johnny (Hardy doing the accent thing) and his disparate gang of subordinates, including the grizzled pinko-hating Zipco (Shannon, great). Comer’s engaging narration brings to mind Lorraine Bracco’s in ‘Goodfellas’ as Kathy talks about how she was seduced by the gang demimonde, and how things started to sour as the gang admitted new, more loose cannon members. The rendering of the rundown Chicago environs is suitably desolate, although it seems odd that Nichols did not choose to film in black and white like its source material. The picture is memorably populated by a top draw cast, and Comer is excellent, but the vivid characters fail to rev much life into a tale of macho sentimentality that is more meandering than freewheeling.
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