Into the Ashes (2019)
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The writing was very sub-par with nothing new we haven't seen before - small town revenge flick *yawns*. Any reference to Hitchcock or Citizen Kane, is an insult to those films, and clearly a fake review. With the long dragged out and unnecessary scenes with a pace slower than a snail for 95% of the film, the 98 min length felt like 2+ hours. There was almost no suspense or surprises, and the entire film was predictable, even with it's failed attempt at the flash-back scenes, the "who done it", and the "come to your own conclusion" ending. There was almost zero character development or backstory. This type of writing is more at the level of a sophomore film student project. Had Aaron Harvey hired a seasoned screenwriter to edit his script, this film would have been more enjoyable.
The biggest plus for me was the exceptional score. Had it not been as good as it was, I would have fallen asleep. For that matter, the score was too good in creating suspense and tension, that never really came into fruition. The cinematography was also great.
Even though it had some all-star B-grade actors, they couldn't help this C-grade production. I'm still giving this film a very generous 6/10, only because it was put together by a novice filmmaker (thus somewhat excusable for its flaws - they have to start somewhere, right?), it clearly was low budget, it had a decent cast, and an exceptional score.
This genre has been done a lot so of course there are some cliches and things you saw before but it still gets by pretty well.
There are one or two things which are totally unbelievable and I cannot understand why the director / writer put them there as the movie is kind of realistic without crazy nonsense, so those one or two things are really really stupid, even if he loves his wife he is a man with a normal body not superman.
At a first look of the cast, you've got the cool young son in "Yellowstone 2018", then you got the cool sheriff actor from "Longmire", and couple of veteran supporting actors, you thought, well, why not give it a try. But Jesus, never could imagine a movie could have turned out so bad, man. I've already wasted time watching it, I don't want to waste more time to review this crappy movie no more. I'm out~~~Adios, amigo.
So OK, the poster for "Ashes" looks similar to the ones for American Assassin, 2015's Extraction, and 2017's Extortion. Am I seeing a trend here? Is this what every Internet-released poster is gonna look like? Anyway, I figured Into the Ashes wouldn't see much time in theaters. There are no stars except Frank Grillo (who once sparred with Liam Neeson in The Grey), there's that familiar revenge element, and the giveaway production values are stark at best.
Into the Ashes is helmed by writer and director Aaron Harvey (The Neighbor, Catch .44). Whether its rack focusing, the occasional close-up, a key flashback, or a rendered dissolve, Harvey commits to every shot. His "Ashes" is a little noir, a little Hitchcockian, a little C-listed, and a little home cooking. Heck, the film opens with a 4-minute tracking sequence that's fairly decent. Just call it the poor man's Copacabana a la Marty Scorsese.
Into the Ashes is also muddled and for the most part, half-done. For instance, what kind of bad stuff was the protagonist involved in before he left a life of crime? What's the backstory on the bad guys the protagonist was hanging with while he was up to no good? Why do said bad guys disappear in "Ashes" from time to time? Why does the sheriff in "Ashes" think he's as cool as Jeff Bridges? And how does said protagonist (Luke Grimes as Nick Brenner) get shot two times in the back and still go on living (huh?).
Bottom line: Into the Ashes as senseless titles go, looks like the greatest flick an incoming USC film student could ever come up with on the fly. It's worth a look despite having tired, laddish character behaviors, muttered dialogue by its actors, and plot holes the size of Denver. Rating: 2 stars.