Saturday, September 4, 2021

The Gateway Review: Big Ideas That Are Let Down By Execution

Frank Grillo	Frank Grillo	...	Duke Alexander Wraith	Alexander Wraith	...	Louis (as Alex Wraith) Taegen Burns	Taegen Burns	...	Ashley Jackson James	Jackson James	...	Tommy Shannon Adawn	Shannon Adawn	...	Detective King Nick Daly	Nick Daly	...	Detective Bachman (as Nicholas Daly) Mark Boone Junior	Mark Boone Junior	...	Gary Taryn Manning	Taryn Manning	...	Corey Mike O'Connell	Mike O'Connell	...	Stu Michele Hicks	Michele Hicks	...	Sharon Brandon Williams	Brandon Williams	...	Jamal Ny'el Simmons	Ny'el Simmons	...	Tavian Maurice McKinney	Maurice McKinney	...	Frankie Keith David	Keith David	...	Terry Kendrix Lamaz Brown	Kendrix Lamaz Brown	...	Ronnie (as Kendrix Brown) Gilbert Trejo	Gilbert Trejo	...	Juan Richard Strauss	Richard Strauss	...	Prison Guard Rosé Belara Young	Rosé Belara Young	...	Prostitute (as Rose Belara Young)

Release date: September 3, 2021
Running time: 91 minutes
Directed By: Michele Civetta (Agony)
Written By: Michele Civetta (Agony), Alex Felix Bendaña, and Andrew Levitas (Lullaby)
Starring: Shea Whigham (American Hustle), Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse), Taryn Manning (“Orange Is the New Black”), Mark Boone Junior (Donnybrook), Taegen Burns (Dumplin’), with Frank Grillo (The Grey) and two-time Academy Award® nominee Bruce Dern (The Hateful Eight).

Shea Whigham (American Hustle), Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse), and Frank Grillo (The Grey) star in this gritty, edge-of-your-seat crime-thriller. Whigham is Parker, a down-on-his-luck social worker who finds himself in over his head when he tries to protect his client from her recently paroled husband. Can Parker save the family from the violent threat of the maniacal drug dealer and his crew, desperate to reclaim their priceless stash?

Jeffertitti Moon	...	Mexican Hit Man Curtis Harding	Curtis Harding	...	Minister Bree Holcombe	Bree Holcombe	...	Undercover 1 John Leviege	John Leviege	...	Narc Anon Guy Digney Pozo	Digney Pozo	...	Oompa Mounir Quazzani	Mounir Quazzani	...	Hector (as Maunir Quazzani) Gabriel Dore	Gabriel Dore	...	Policeman Drew Sklar	Drew Sklar	...	Social Worker Xander Levitas	Xander Levitas	...	Johnny Romero Miracle Reigns	Miracle Reigns	...	Elsa Sparkle (as Aaliyah Reign) Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Zach Avery	Zach Avery	...	Mike Bruce Dern	Bruce Dern	...	Marcus Olivia Munn	Olivia Munn	...	Dahlia Shea Whigham	Shea Whigham	...	Parker Sydney Aston	Sydney Aston	...	Casino Gambler (uncredited) Robert Bess	Robert Bess	...	Blackjack Dealer (uncredited) Alex Brewer	Alex Brewer	...	Black Jack Dealer (uncredited)
The Gateway, like it's main character is a little rough around the edges.  The cast is a stellar one, with Bruce Dern being the biggest name on the roster, but having some great performances by Olivia Munn, Frank Grillo, and Shea Whigham.  I really liked the cast and loved Whigham as a grizzled ex-cop social worker.  And seeing Grillo as a bad guy was a lot of fun as well.  The story has a slow start, which is fine, but then kicks off with an odd raid type scene.  There is a lot going on and this was an exciting, but strange, highlight of the film.

Unfortunately for The Gateway, it was all downhill after the raid.  I liked the raid itself, but after this highpoint, the Gateway just seemed to become too disjointed.  The introduction of Zach Avery as Mike threw a wrench in the film, as his character caused lots of the problems but also had some pretty ridiculous solutions as well.  His character was very abrasive and seemed to create most of the problems in the film.  I can't help but think that a lot of this film just felt like manufactured drama from characters making poor decisions.  And this is not helped by writing that is a little overdramatic and some less than stellar delivery overall.  And the action itself doesn't redeem this film as it is too little and feels disjointed.  The film goes for a fast paced action, but that leads to lots of cuts and tough to follow scenarios; it makes what should be the most exciting parts of the film feel hectic and rushed.  And the movie also has a strange ending, that seems to try to push some greater ideas that the film was trying to highlight but wasn't quite able to.

The Gateway has a good cast and tries for an important message, but the story feels contrived, with some abrasive characters, poor decisions, and disjointed action.

Pass on it.

Alix Brown	...	70's Mom (uncredited) DéRome A. Chrétien	DéRome A. Chrétien	...	Inmate (uncredited) Paul D'Elia	Paul D'Elia	...	Inner City Folk (uncredited) Lisa Edmondson	Lisa Edmondson	...	Casino Guest (uncredited) Larissa Forbes-Brown	Larissa Forbes-Brown	...	Resident (uncredited) Jay Hieron	Jay Hieron	...	Paul (uncredited) John S. Howell Sr.	John S. Howell Sr.	...	Bar Regular (uncredited) George Ludden	George Ludden	...	Casino Gambler (uncredited) Jessica Medina	Jessica Medina	...	Latina (uncredited) Kerry Paige	Kerry Paige	...	Jazz Patron (uncredited) William G. Tomek	William G. Tomek	...	Casino Guest (uncredited) Produced by  Kenneth Altman	...	line producer Stevie Curtis	...	co-producer W. Jeffery Frizzell	...	co-producer (as W. Jeff Frizzell) Anna Halberg	...	executive producer Stephen Israel	...	producer Kacie Lehner	...	executive producer Andrew Levitas	...	producer James T. Russell	...	executive producer Jeremy Salvador	...	executive producer Drew Sklar	...	associate producer
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The Gateway is available in theaters, digitally, and on demand on September 3, 2021.  For showtimes, click here

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