Dragged Across Concrete ★★★½

so many difficult feelings about this movie existing in the first place. love zahler as a director. his meta-commentary is worth reading into on multiple levels. but there's also a lot to criticize on a larger, philosophical ethics level. like, WHY THE FUCK IS MEL GIBSON STILL WORKING.

re: the actual content of the movie--i love how committed zahler was to that sloooooow pace. it made for a really immersive tailing experience. he's able to draw the motivation and depth of his characters out so well with that kind of patience and attention. that said, the movie definitely didn't need to be 160 mins. could easily find 20+ mins, if not 45, to cut out without really taking away from anything. the jennifer carpenter role is a good example. it's just a correlating vignette, which is interesting don't get me wrong, but the movie is tighter without it. that doesn't necessarily mean "better," but take as you will.

there's so much commentary on race, class, socio-economics. it's pretty blunt, but never cloying. it's well-written and clearly derived from a place of concern within zahler. it's hard to place exactly what that central concern is, but the film is dripping wet with it from start to finish. it might be a concern for how we socially label one another. it might be a concern for how entire races and/or classes are inaccurately boxed into stereotypes. it might be a (terrible) concern for a dying culture of gritty masculinity (god, i hope it's not that). fuck, it could be a concern over future race wars breaking out. maybe he's trying to bring people together. who knows. but there's a lot to talk about, and while gibson's hiring is infuriating, the film is still very much worth watching and discussing, as all of zahler's films have been to date.