Director: Michele Civetta
Writer: Alex Felix Bendana, Andrew Levitas, Michele Civetta (Screenplay)
Starring: Shea Whigham, Olivia Munn, Zach Avery, Bruce Dern, Frank Grillo, Taryn Manning, Mark Boone Junior
Plot: A social worker assigned to the care of the daughter of a single mother intervenes when the dad returns from prison and lures them into a life of crime.
Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: The Gateway starts as we meet social worker Parker (Whigham) who operates in the difficult neighbourhoods to make sure children in the criminal locations are given the support needed while their parents are either in jail or committing crimes.
When one of Parker’s clients Dahlia (Munn) has been keeping things together for her daughter, her husband Mike (Avery) is released from prison, heading straight back into the criminal world of the local drug lord Duke (Grillo), forcing Parker to go under the radar to save a child from potential threat.
Thoughts on The Gateway
Characters & Performances – Parker is a social worker that was raised through the system, he wants to make sure no child is put in danger because of their parent’s actions, which will see him giving more time to get close to the families to make sure they stay on the right path. His style will see him pushing people back, but he ends up losing his job for punching a co-worker, but being the committed man, he will continue to help out against the people who need help. Shea Whigham does give us his best leading man performance, a man that you want to support doing the right thing, while being the reluctant hero in the story. Dahlia is the mother of one of the children Parker looks after, the two are close, but when her husband is released from prison, she finds herself being thrown back into the dangerous world, needing to turn to Parker to save them. Olivia Munn does give us a strong performance in this role, dealing with the trapped feeling her character has been through. Mike is the nasty piece of work, released from prison and going straight back into his drug dealing ways, domestic abusive ways and worse of all, bringing other innocent people into the criminal ways. Zach Avery does a wonderful job making us truly hate his character, there seems to be no redeemable character traits in his character thanks to his performance. The supporting cast will have plenty of people that have been part of Parker’s life, some have helped, some have caused problems and now one will lead the onslaught against him.
Story – The story here follows a social worker that is committed to his work, which will see him needing to go above and beyond when one of his cases will see the criminal husband return to the family, bringing his reputation and problems back to the family on the mend. This is a story that will show the helpless situation families and children can find themselves in because of the actions of the parents, showing us just how hard certain people will work to help. When the main part of the criminal jumping straight back into the criminal world happens, we must ask the bigger question about how the parole officer isn’t checking up, especially with the social services being involved with family. The story will keep you on the edge of your seat, as we wait to see how Parker will get the family out of the problems they are facing.
Themes – The Gateway is a crime thriller that will bring us the standard drug lord figures, with the bigger twist coming from seeing the person fighting back being a social worker, whose only plan is to make sure the children stay safe. We have the calmer looking fight sequences, with the highlight of the action coming from a single take robbery led by Mike.
Signature Entertainment presents The Gateway on Digital Platforms 27th September & DVD 5th October
Final Thoughts – The Gateway is a great thriller that will bring a new approach to the escaping the drug dealer spouse film.
The Lodger will be released on Digital Download and on DVD from Oct 18.
Director: Walter Hill
Writer: Walter Hill (Screenplay) Peter Dexter (Book)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Ellen Barkin, John Hurt, Diane Lane, Keith Carradine, David Arquette
Plot: The early career of legendary lawman Wild Bill Hickock is telescoped and culminates in his relocation in Deadwood and a reunion with Calamity Jane.
Tagline – A legend never dies
Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Wild Bill starts at the funeral of Wild Bull Hickock (Bridges) with Charley Prince (Hurt) telling his story, this will see us learn how Bill when from sheriff with a legendary status before losing this position, seeing his status follow him around until he finds himself in Deadwood where he can reunite with Calamity Jane (Barkin).
As Bill learns that his actions have caused him to create enemies, it gives us a list of the people that might well have been the one that finally killed him.
Thoughts on Wild Bill
Final Thoughts – Wild Bill brings us the story of another lawman in the old west, we see how his life went through a string of different events, with each one coming along to make something else more difficult for Bill and the number of enemies will always grow against him. The problem with a lot of this story, is that Wild Bill doesn’t seem like an iconic enough name in the history of lawmen to make it justifiable to be in leading figure in a film. When it comes to the cast, we have an excellent cast, with Jeff Bridges, John Hurt, Ellen Barkin and Diane Lane taking the biggest roles in the film, with a strong supporting cast too. In the end this just isn’t the most entertaining western, that just doesn’t get going to any levels that many other westerns can.