Whilst not entirely successful, Bushwick is an interesting, scrappy little movie that suddenly finds itself relevant… I’ll say ‘spoilers’ at this point because, although the relevance is now the selling point, I enjoyed watching this with no knowledge of what was happening and, given the form the film takes, I imagine this was the intention.
The set-up is simple, a young couple arrive in Bushwick by train to find the platform deserted. After a couple of minutes someone comes down the stairs, they are on fire. As the couple near the exit the boyfriend goes ahead and says he’ll be right back… We follow the girl (Brittany Snow) as she makes her way through a city under attack by secessionist forces and becomes paired up with an ex-marine played by Dave Bautista. All the while the film rolls forward in a series of protracted hand held takes (the first intended visible edit being 28 minutes in) designed to place us in the action and only give us the information that the main characters are privy to. For the most part the film makes a decent fist of this but you can see the patches of the low budget (some bad performances, muddled and muffled dialogue, cgi explosions), and the verite shooting isn’t a friend to Bautista who seems cramped and caged by the frame.
But it’s got heart and that counts. One of the co-writers is Nick Damici (writer / star of Stake Land (2010), who possibly should have taken the Bautista role here) which is a plus and it gives a simple but hopeful take on the weakness that the purveyors of divisive politics project on those they would oppress.