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Non-Review Review: Dragged Across Concrete

This film was seen as part of the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2019. Given the high volumes of films being shown and the number of reviews to be written, these may end up being a bit shorter than usual reviews. This was the Surprise Film.

Dragged Across Concrete is weird, unpleasant, mean-spirited and vindictive.

It is all of these things in a very knowing manner. This both adds to and detracts from its attempts to get under its audience’s skin. There can be something charming in a provocateur who needles the audience in an interesting or compelling way, who pushes the audience outside of their comfort zone. However, there is also something very tiring in a filmmaker who is only doing that for the sake of pushing the audience outside their comfort zone. Call it the Jurassic Park paradox; just because something is possible does not mean it is valid or necessary.

Indeed, the most frustrating part of Dragged Across Concrete is how much time and energy it devotes to being frustrating without any greater purpose. It is a film that is very consciously designed to push certain buttons, but without any really sense of why it would want to. Dragged Across Concrete is a deeply frustrating piece of cinema, and that frustration is only deepened by a hefty two-hour-and-fifty minute runtime. Watching Dragged Across Concrete, it can be hard to tell whether that frustration is more or less pure for its clarity of purpose.

However, it is abundantly clear that it does not make for a good film.

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