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Bring Him to Me

Why is it that crime big wigs in movies enjoy wasting ammo so much? Late in “Bring Him to Me,” a new heist-and-its-aftermath thriller directed by Luke Spark from a script by Tom Evans, a ruthless boss dispatches one of their soldiers by shooting a heavy-looking automatic into them eight or nine times, when the target was clearly dead at shot two. Does crime pay so well, that one doesn’t care about the cost of a round? Isn’t it a pain in the ass to have to dump so many shell casings? Who the hell are they trying to impress? Surely the fellow criminals in the room know how many slugs it takes to kill a colleague.

Well, the contemporary crime movie does thrive on sound and fury, and these days what it signifies is largely a matter of diminishing returns, alas. But I have to give “Bring Him to Me” a little credit for trying to bring one or two new components to a setup that’s hackneyed in more than a few ways.

Barry Pepper, his face lined and his chin sporting a billy-goat beard, is the relatively grizzled veteran here. He’s the driver on the pertinent heist here, and he’s never named, so now we have the first relatively hackneyed element. The actual heist is fed to us piecemeal, in flashback, as Pepper’s character is instructed to deliver one of the actual robbers — part of a duo that unduly brutalized one of the victims of the job — to the boss that arranged the job. This party isn’t given a name either. Pepper’s character calls him “Kid” but the IMDb calls him “Passenger” and there we have it.

The Driver is a little worried — what’d the “Kid” do for this summit to be called? Why are they gonna give him a hard time, or maybe kill him? For the purpose of viewer affinity, the movie sentimentalizes both characters by making them dads. Pepper’s son is a teen, living in faraway Pittsburgh (in keeping with having characters merely designated Driver and Passenger, the burg in which all this action takes place isn’t specified either). Passenger is the father of an adorable toddler daughter who he actually has in tow when Pepper picks him up.

Played by Jamie Costa, Passenger is all wide-eyed innocence, at least as innocent as a guy who puts on a mask to rob some kind of money-laundering front can be. He’s very chatty, but Driver wants to keep things laconic and terse lest he end up liking that fellow that he may be driving to his doom. For a hot minute the movie looks as if it’ll be a largely car-bound two-hander. Shades of Locke” without the virtuoso writing maybe, or, God help me, of the godawful Sympathy for the Devil.”

But no. The movie contrives to get out of the car from time to time, and not just during the heist flashback scenes, in which the very welcome Sam Neill plays a sneering wheeler dealer at gunpoint who rages that when he finds out who the masked gunmen are, they will be quite sorry. Rachel Griffiths, another welcome presence, is one of the personages Driver and Passenger encounter when not on the road. Did I mention this is an Australian production? The bag of ensuing twists in “Bring Him to Me” may not entirely redeem the clichés that made them possible, but they do keep one alert. 

Glenn Kenny

Glenn Kenny was the chief film critic of Premiere magazine for almost half of its existence. He has written for a host of other publications and resides in Brooklyn. Read his answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire here.

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Film Credits

Bring Him to Me movie poster

Bring Him to Me (2024)

Rated R

96 minutes

Cast

Barry Pepper as Driver

Jamie Costa as Passenger

Liam McIntyre as Travis

Rachel Griffiths as Veronica

Sam Neill as Frank

Zachary Garred as Shaun

Alex Fleri as Janko

Marcus Johnson as C. Morales

Josemily Royle as Store Clerk

Allison Frances Boyd as Mother

Harrison Irvin as Jogger

Thomas Pitts as Budgy

Director

Writer

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