Dragged Across Concrete

A thriller from the man behind the gruelling Bone Tomahawk

There are about 23 feet of small intestine inside the average person, and slowly but surely in his burgeoning directorial career, S. Craig Zahler is showing us all of them.

Echoing the infamous human bisection in Bone Tomahawk, his overlong but welcome new crime thriller has a ruthless bank robber rummaging around inside a corpse. Somewhere in there is a key that, for reasons we don’t really need to get into, has been swallowed, regurgitated and then
re-swallowed. It’ll be pretty hard to dislodge next time the house keys go missing.

After giving us a horror Western (Bone Tomahawk) and a horror prison drama (Brawl in Cell Block 99) – not to mention scripting an actual horror movie (Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich) – Zahler actually tones things down this time. The title may promise more head-stomping and heavy-metal action beats, but Dragged Across Concrete showcases a different, talkier side of the writer-director. Riffing on that old notion that cops and robbers are two sides of a very thin coin, he proceeds to blur the line between them to the point of erasure. There’s police corruption, a heist gone bad and a shootout scenario straight out of the John Carpenter playbook, but most of all there’s yakking.

A whole lot of it.

The two cops are Brett (Mel Gibson), 59 years old and still doing stakeouts and busting dealers on the street with his younger partner Tony (Vince Vaughn). Brett’s crude methods have seen him passed over for promotion for three decades. When a heavy-handed arrest is captured on camera, the pair are slapped with a suspension.

Along with the bad guys, they get mixed up in a bank robbery. The risks seem to wildly outweigh the potential rewards, especially for the rogue cops, but Zahler carries you along with some languorous tension-building, filled with hard-boiled patter. You’d call it Tarantino-esque but for the pacing and lack of a soundtrack. (Even Tarantino might have cut a couple of these baggy subplots.)

A racial subplot is a gutsy call for Gibson, but, guts are Zahler’s currency.

A thriller from the man behind the gruelling Bone Tomahawk

If you’re a big fan of overlong dialogue

S. Craig Zahler

April 11 (18TC)


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