21 bridges Movie Review - Slow-to-burn thriller

Updated: Nov 22, 2019, 15:28 IST | Johnson Thomas | Mumbai

Chadwick Boseman as Andre, who lives with his dementia-addled widowed mother whose cop husband died years ago in the line of duty, has great screen presence but is largely impassive

A still from the trailer. Image courtesy: Youtube
A still from the trailer. Image courtesy: Youtube

21 Bridges
U/A; Action, Crime, Drama

Director: Brian Kirk
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Taylor Kitsch, Sienna Miller, J.K. Simmons
Rating: Rating

The lead player of Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman, gets to own this film ( minus a superhero suit) as ace detective Andre Davis, challenged with the responsibility of finding those accountable for a robbery that leaves 8 NYPD officers dead –within one night, in a crowded Manhattan where every exit ( 21 bridges et al) has been closed.

While the film is designed as a generic action thriller and has a concept that could have ensured a spurt in adrenaline gushes, the narrative fails to make the most of that opportunity. The central conceit may be unbelievable but it could have been forgivable if there was more smart action, acute tension and thrills galore. In fact, the titular conceit ends up meaning very little to the story.

Check out the trailer here:

We may expect cat and mouse chases in a densely packed borough but what we get is dull, by the numbers actioner with a little flair. Save for one inventive chase sequence, the narrative largely fuels a déjà vu feeling. And the proceedings are so predictable that even the supposedly brilliant lead detective appears slow on the uptake.

Boseman as Andre, who lives with his dementia-addled widowed mother whose cop husband died years ago in the line of duty, has great screen presence but is largely impassive. It’s a sketchy character at best and Boseman generally plays it straight. Sienna Miller is adequate as the almost unrecognisable narcotics inspector. J K Simmons as the commander of the precinct has little to do. The screenplay fails to build up momentum and the early promise of organic thrills is lost in the cautionary approach adopted for acquiring depth in subplots. This is a film that promises much more than it can deliver!

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