Some of the best truly independent films start out with the simple question of “what if?” In “Bushwick,” Texas militia forces invade a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York as the state attempts to secede from the United States and a civil war is breaking out across the country.
It’s a fun premise and is done extremely well, especially on a shoestring budget. There’s not a lot of new ground covered here and the film is far from original, but co-directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion have a good eye for staging exciting action and chase sequences (the final shootout in a park is incredibly well done, staged with long, fluid takes). In fact, I loved that the entire movie was filled with smooth, almost elegant shots instead of the obnoxious and annoying shaky-cam that dominates so many big studio action films.
This isn’t to say that there isn’t a lot of predictable running and hiding, blood and gunshots, yelling and CGI explosions, but the gimmick of having a camera follow the action from behind like a participant rather an observer, works. While making sure the audience feels like part of the action, it also serves as a distraction from the realization that there’s not much plot to the story.
Lucy (Brittany Snow) is a college student who steps out of the subway and into a war zone. While running to seek shelter, she ducks into a bunker of burly and tough ex-Marine Stupe (Dave Bautista). The two play well enough off each other, and they are saddled with plenty of simplistic and lame dialogue. The amateurism acting is reminiscent of a high school drama production (at one point you can visibly see an actor who’s supposed to be playing dead breathing), but it really doesn’t matter.
There’s just the right amount of action and humor peppered throughout, making “Bushwick” a worthy companion to similar films like “Attack the Block” and “Cloverfield.”
This film was screened and reviewed at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.