Fashioned to look like one continuous 90-minute single-take it clearly draws its influences from CHILDREN OF MEN and ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 and is the kind of effort that DePalma would be proud of. Long takes and drifting cameras with (albeit, sometimes very obvious) hidden cuts to affect a 90-minute rush for survival. Rooftop snipers, looters, gun-battles, misinformation and explosions, BUSHWICK is a suburb imploding. And it’s all very exciting - no doubt - but ultimately it’s a missed opportunity.
There’s nothing wrong with the film's high-concept plotting; what would happen if America dissolved into another civil war? The problems arise when it doesn’t tap into any discernible social commentary. Brooklyn is a borough that has had a long history of social and political flux and a film that centres itself around an invading force seems ripe for allegory and analogy but that doesn’t seem to be of concern for co-directors Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott. This is a shame given that one of the films writers is NYC-native Nick Damici who also wrote Jim Mickle’s debut feature, MULBERRY ST, a crafty, low-budget horror that was made all the more impressive and richer by it’s loaded, and concise, social commentary.
Bautista, here serving as producer too, is fine in a role that doesn’t require him to show much emotion, just to puff and pant a lot. BUSHWICK is the ideal vehicle to help his star rise from side-player (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) to muscle-bound leading man. He’s early in his career and has time to develop the charisma that made Schwarzenegger and The Rock such formidable forces in the arena.
Snow, on the other hand, has a little more to do as Lucy, the every day Brooklynite forced to turn into a killer for survival, she’s the moral compass for the insanity that is unfolding around them.
It’s not a complete misfire, though, just a narrow miss. Given that it is the second feature by Murnion and Milott it can be considered a solid actioneer that works with its budget by making the most of limitations rather than fighting them. Let’s see what they do next.