21 Bridges review – Chadwick Boseman takes Manhattan

Artnewspress: A New York detective pursues a deadly hunt for cop killers, in a slick crime thriller that teams the Black Panther star with a fierce Sienna Miller

Irish director Brian Kirk takes the helm of this perfectly serviceable New York crime thriller, co-written by Adam Mervis and Matthew Michael Carnahan. Chadwick Boseman plays Detective Andre Davis, an NYPD officer who as a kid lost his cop dad to violent criminals and now has a Dirty Harry reputation when it comes to deciding on the order in which to shoot and ask questions.

When eight of his uniformed comrades are slaughtered one night by a couple of lowlifes with assault rifles in the course of robbing a cocaine baron, the hardbitten police chief (JK Simmons) gives Davis the nod to track down the culprits with extreme prejudice and assigns a similarly fierce narcotics officer (Sienna Miller, vocally channelling Edie Falco from The Sopranos) to help him. Davis takes the decision to close Manhattan’s 21 bridges and seal off the island for his manhunt – which reveals a murky world of conspiracy and the time-honoured MacGuffin of a “USB drive”.

There is an element of melodrama and absurdity of course, contriving subway-train sequences isn’t exactly novel and I’d like to have seen more dialogue scenes between Boseman and Simmons, and Boseman and Miller. But the action barrels along really nicely; there is a terrific flashback scene at the top, showing the infant Andre at his father’s funeral, with a great overhead shot of all the officers outside the church replacing their caps, creating a pointillism of white dots. And the quasi-real-time pursuit is followed with great gusto. Boseman carries off the drama with flair and style.


Peter Bradshaw


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