Cherry (2021)


Introduction

Cherry is a 2021 American crime drama film directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, from a screenplay by Angela Russo-Otstot and Jessica Goldberg, based on the autofictional novel of the same name by Nico Walker.

The film stars Tom Holland, Ciara Bravo, Jack Reynor, Michael Rispoli and Jeff Wahlberg, and follows an Army veteran suffering from PTSD, who resorts to robbing banks to support his opioid addiction.

Cherry was released in theatres on 26 February 2021, and was released digitally on Apple TV+ on 12 March 2021.

The film received mostly mixed reviews, which praised Holland and Bravo’s performances but criticised the story.

Outline

Cherry falls in love at first sight with his college classmate Emily. Their relationship blossoms but Emily decides to leave and study in Montreal. Cherry is devastated and enlists in the Army as a medic to escape his heartbreak. Just before he is about to leave for basic training, Emily realises her mistake and confesses she is in love with Cherry too and that they are meant for one another. Cherry and Emily marry before his deployment.

During his two year service in the Army, Cherry suffers from PTSD after having several horrific experiences, including seeing his friend, Jimenez, burnt and killed from an IED. To cope with his panic attacks and severe anxiety when he comes home, he abuses OxyContin, prescribed from a doctor helping to decrease his PTSD symptoms. He abuses the medication, frustrating Emily. She begins taking Cherry’s medication to deal with her own frustration of not knowing how to support him without drugs and the two soon become addicted to OxyContin, and eventually heroin.

After they break into a safe that he was looking after from his drug dealer, Pills and Coke, he and Emily use most of the drugs secured inside for themselves. Some time later, Pills and Coke visits and sees the empty safe. Cherry learns that his drug dealer’s boss, Black, is the owner of the safe and will kill all three of them for this. To get the money for the drugs they used, Cherry robs a bank and pays back the money. To support his and Emily’s addiction, Cherry continues to rob banks. As a result of their daily heroin use, Cherry continues to rob banks frequently after he and Emily go through severe withdrawals. Emily overdoses and almost dies in a hospital. Cherry is guilted by Emily’s mother to leave her alone.

Emily leaves her drug rehabilitation facility and reunites with Cherry. He tries to send her back and persuade her that he is no good for her. Emily does not care and tells Cherry she wants to be with him; she will get high on drugs again no matter what. Needing more money to support their addiction, he enlists Pills and Coke and his friend, James Lightfoot, to help him rob multiple tellers at once. During a robbery, the drug dealer runs away, forcing Cherry to rob the bank alone. As he drives away with Lightfoot in a getaway car, Cherry stresses that Pills and Coke will likely rat him out if he gets caught and convinces Lightfoot to turn the car around and search for him. After putting Pills and Coke in the car he sees that he has been shot and is severely bleeding. They debate whether to take him to the hospital but decide it is too risky, and he dies from his gunshot wound. They dump the body on the side of the road and part ways.

Black later confronts Cherry outside his home to settle the drug debt. Cherry kisses and says goodbye to Emily before performing one last robbery. During the robbery Cherry persuades the bank teller to set the alarm off before he leaves with the money. Cherry gives Black all of the money. Cherry then walks out to the open road and gets the attention of the police by firing his gun in the air, proceeding to sit by the side of the road and get high one last time, before police arrive and arrest him.

Cherry detoxes and recovers in prison, spending 14 years serving his sentence before being released on parole. As Cherry makes his way out of the prison, he sees Emily waiting for him.

Cast

  • Tom Holland as Cherry, a fictional character based on Nico Walker.
  • Ciara Bravo as Emily.
  • Jack Reynor as Pills and Coke.
  • Michael Rispoli as Tommy.
  • Jeff Wahlberg as Jimenez.
  • Forrest Goodluck as James Lightfoot.
  • Michael Gandolfini as Cousin Joe.
  • Kyle Harvey as Roy.
  • Pooch Hall as Sergeant Whomever.
  • Damon Wayans Jr. as Drill Sergeant Masters.
  • Thomas Lennon as Dr Whomever.
  • Kelli Berglund as Madison Kowalski.
  • Jose Pablo Cantillo as Drill Sergeant Deco.
  • Nicole Forester as Doctor.
  • Jamie Brewer as Shelly.
  • Fionn O’Shea as Arnold.
  • Sam Clemmett as Yuri.
  • Adam Long as Staff Sergeant Greene.

Production

Anthony and Joe Russo’s production company AGBO purchased the production rights to the novel in August 2018, beating out offers from Warner Bros., which would’ve had James Franco directing, and Sony, with the Russos set to direct the film. In March 2019, Tom Holland entered talks to star in the film. Ciara Bravo, Jack Reynor, Jeff Wahlberg, Kyle Harvey, Forrest Goodluck and Michael Gandolfini were added to the cast in October. Pooch Hall would be cast in an undisclosed role in December.

Filming was initially reported to begin on 15 July 2019. The filmmakers had plans to shoot the film in Ohio, the setting of the novel and homestate of the Russo brothers, but due to the Greater Cleveland Film Commission’s proposed changes in tax incentives were forced to move the planned shooting to California. However, the proposed figures were lowered from $100 million to $40 million, and production returned to the state. Because of this, filming did not begin until on 08 October 2019, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and concluded in February 2020. According to the Russo brothers, editing for Cherry took place as it was filmed to allow them to see what they were missing, and if they needed to “rewrite or reshoot” parts of the film.

The film score for Cherry was composed by Henry Jackman, and was released by Lakeshore Records on 26 February 2021, via Apple Music.

Release

Apple TV+ acquired distribution rights to the film in September 2020 for around $40 million. The film was theatrically released on 26 February 2021 and was released on Apple TV+ on 12 March 2021.

Reception

The film received mostly mixed reviews, which praised Holland and Bravo’s performances but criticised the story.

Matt Gallagher of The Intercept wrote that both the film and the book it was based upon have been criticised for erasing the actual victims of the crime, such as the bank teller whom Walker allegedly threatened to kill.

Trivia

  • Cameo: Tom Holland’s brother, Harry Holland appears in a cameo as one of the drug dealers.
    • He is set to reprise the same cameo in Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021).
  • Cameo: Co-Director, Joe Russo makes a cameo in the movie as the owner of the second restaurant that Tom Holland’s character works at/the one where Cherry is a bartender at.
  • The film is based on a novel of the same name by Nico Walker, an army veteran who suffered from PTSD.
    • He created the character Cherry based on himself.
  • Real needles were used in the drug scenes.
  • The main character’s name is never mentioned in the movie, the other soldiers had their last names on their uniforms while his simply said “soldier” and people referred to him as “dude” but never said his name.
    • While Tom Holland is credited as the character “Cherry” the first or last name of said character is never revealed.
  • Tom Holland lost 30 pounds and gained it back within a short period of time.
  • The sequence where Cherry gets military training in boot camp is somewhat similar to the famous boot camp scenes from the Stanley Kubrick film Full Metal Jacket (1987).
    • Even the cinematography pattern is same.
  • In the film, Cherry says that he is 23 years old.
    • Tom Holland was actually 23 years old at the time this movie was filmed.
  • The events of the film takes place between 2002 to 2021.
  • The camera sometimes turn black and white during conversations.
    • This is supposed to be a way to express the inward feeling of the character.
    • This same technique was used in Natural Born Killers (1994).
    • That film starred Robert Downey, Jr., who was a frequent collaborator of Tom Holland in the MCU.
  • Cherry’s best friend in the movie is called James Lightfoot.
    • His surname is a reference to Ian Lightfoot, character that Holland voiced in the Pixar movie Onward.
  • When Cherry takes his last heroin shot & lies down before the cops arrive, he is under a tree with bright yellow leaves.
    • The colour yellow has always been used to show support for the troops that served & serve the country (US).

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Anthony Russo … (directed by).
    • Joe Russo … (directed by).
  • Producer(s):
    • Chris Castaldi … producer.
    • Victor Ho … co-producer.
    • Benoit Jaubert … line producer: international.
    • Dan Kaplow … executive producer.
    • Patrick Newall … executive producer.
    • John Parker … co-producer.
    • Matthew Rhodes … producer.
    • Anthony Russo … producer (produced by) (p.g.a.).
    • Joe Russo … producer (produced by) (p.g.a.).
    • Zhonglei Wang … executive producer (as Wang Zhonglei).
    • Angela Russo-Otstot … executive producer.
    • Nico Walker … executive producer.
    • Saad Abutaily … local producer: Nebras Films, Middle East.
    • Matthew Johnson … executive producer.
    • Robert Keyghobad … line producer: Middle East.
    • Zhongjun Wang … executive producer (as Wang Zhongjun).
    • Abdulrahman Anafisah … local producer: Nebras Films, Middle East.
    • Judd Payne … executive producer.
    • Karim Debbagh … line producer: North Africa.
    • Mike Larocca … producer (produced by) (p.g.a.).
    • Jake Aust … producer.
    • Todd Makurath … executive producer.
    • Kristy Maurer Grisham … executive producer (as Kristy Grisham).
    • Edward Cheng … executive producer.
    • Ryan Cassells … co-producer.
    • Jonathan Gray … producer.
  • Writer(s):
    • Angela Russo-Otstot … (screenplay by).
    • Jessica Goldberg … (screenplay by).
    • Nico Walker … (based on the novel by).
  • Music:
    • Henry Jackman … (music by).
  • Cinematography:
    • Newton Thomas Sigel … director of photography.
  • Editor(s):
    • Jeff Groth.
  • Production:
    • The Hideaway Entertainment.
    • AGBO.
    • Kasbah Films (Production Service Company).
  • Distributor(s):
    • Apple TV+ (2021) (USA) (all media).
    • Apple TV+ (2021) (World-wide) (video).
  • Release Date: 26 February 2021 (US, limited).
  • Running Time: 142 minutes.
  • Rating: 18.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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