I finally got around to watching Cherry which I was so excited about watching and have been anticipating for over a year and a half now. I originally read the book almost 2 years ago ever since I heard that Anthony and Joe Russo would be directing the film adaptation and Tom Holland and Ciara Bravo would be starring in it. The film is an American crime drama that centers around a nameless character referred to sometimes as Cherry who feels like he doesn’t have a place in the world. He ends up joining the army becoming a medic in Iraq, where he sees a lot of people including his friends get killed and just how horrific war really is. When he returns he struggles with PTSD and gets into Xanax, oxycontin, and eventually heroin. He gets his wife Emily on it as well and they become dope fiends together. When they don’t have enough money to support their drug habit Cherry turns to robbing banks.
The film is very beautiful and the cinematography is very well done. I like how they split the film up between acts or chapters. At the same time, the film progressed very slowly and had a lot of scenes that I found kind of unnecessary to the plot. I also found the film to not be as cohesive as I think it could have been, but I will give them a break on this because it was edited on people's home computers in covid times. It is actually pretty amazing that this film was not significantly pushed back and it is commendable what they were able to do given the circumstances, I just found it to be inconsistent with its look and feel at times.
The story is depressing and gutwrenching, but it is supposed to be. You are basically watching a man struggle and go deeper into this tunnel of despair and helplessness. It was hard to watch sometimes especially since I am so used to seeing Tom Holland play such a bubbly teenager as Peter Parker in the Marvel universe. Tom Holland’s performance in this film is very admirable and it really showcased his range as an actor and how far he can go. I think this film allowed him to show that he can do more than be the always morally correct hero and can play these characters with more layers that are a bit darker. When I first heard he was taking on the role it felt off given how serious and mentally unstable the character is as I wasn't sure he could pull it off. In the end, I really liked his performance and think this was one of his best roles.
As for Ciara Bravo, I was excited to see her do a movie like this because I remember growing up watching her on Big Time Rush. So it was kind of weird since she was maybe 10 when I last saw her in anything and at the same time pretty cool to see her do something at this scale and with that level of talent. I didn’t expect much from her given I haven’t seen any of her recent work, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The novel is one of my all-time favourites. It makes you think hard about something you don’t usually really think about. The film heavily references and deals with drug use in North America and PTSD especially among war veterans. The novel was better, I think it was more raw and powerful. I think a lot of the book didn’t really translate well into the film adaptation. It’s a great book but that doesn’t always mean it will make for a great movie. The book was written by Nico Walker based roughly on his real-life experiences and he wrote the novel from prison on a typewriter, which I think is honestly really unique.
I highly recommend reading the novel as it is absolutely amazing and powerful. If you really want a book that sticks with you for a long time and makes you think, then this is one of the first novels I recommend to people. It is really twisted and hard to read sometimes because it deals with such heavy topics and doesn’t hold back, but it is so good and well written. Otherwise, definitely watch the movie. The movie isn’t my favourite and I think it could have been done better but I love the performances by the actors and it is a very beautiful film. It is just not as good as the book and has some pacing issues. The film is available on Apple tv as of right now but when it is eventually and hopefully in theatres I will definitely be going to go watch it on the big screen because that is how I think it deserves to be seen.