• Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

RAYMOND AND RAY movie review

ByTaylor T Carlson

Oct 15, 2022

RAYMOND AND RAY is directed by Rodrigo Garcia. The film stars Ethan Hawke and Ewan McGregor.

Raymond and Ray are half brothers, having been fathered by the same man but different brothers. The relationship with their father was not a good one, with the two having been estranged from him for years prior to his passing. Upon hearing that he has died, the two take a road trip to attend his funeral, meeting many interesting characters who had a totally different view of their father, while simultaneously clashing with and confiding in one another. Will they come to terms with their relationship with their late father, or will their past trauma continue to haunt them?

Apple TV+ is getting a lot of interesting original movies. I admittedly hadn’t heard of RAYMOND AND RAY before I received my invite to attend the screening, but being the open-minded cinephile I am, I was curious and eager to give this one a chance. The movie ends up being one of the biggest and most unexpected surprises of 2022, with great performances and chemistry coming from its two leading men, a fine supporting cast, a simple-yet-interesting plot, and the perfect balance of drama and comedy, even if its finale does drag on slightly too long.

Finding the ideal balance between comedic and dramatic elements is one of the biggest challenges of any film, but it’s one of the areas where RAYMOND AND RAY shines brightest. There were emotionally wrenching moments when I was watching this film, yet it also included some of the moments in which I laughed hardest of any movie so far in 2022. What’s truly remarkable is the package as a whole feels consistent, despite reaching quite far into both of these extremes.

The leading men are fantastic. We have Ethan Hawke as the more boisterous and troubled of the brothers, and Ewan McGregor as the quieter, more patient one of the duo. They serve as fantastic foils to one another, playing off each other brilliantly whether it’s a laugh-inducing scene or one in which they delve into the past hardships of their life. In many ways, RAYMOND AND RAY is a character study of these two men, and I loved just about every minute I spent with them. These two deserve Best Actor nominations for their work here.

Everything else is handled quite well too. Much of the movie is set in a funeral home and a cemetery, yet the film makes the most of these settings, even juggling some plot twists surprisingly well, and newly forged relationships between the titular duo and those they come across during the proceedings.

If there’s one problem to be had with an otherwise stellar film, it’s that it drags on longer than it needs to, and it’s clear the filmmakers aren’t quite sure how or when to end the movie. This results in an unnecessary dramatic scene with no positive resolution that the film simply didn’t need. And while the brothers are fantastically played and written, the best scenes tend to be the ones where they’re interacting with one another, and not so much the supporting cast members (though those scenes aren’t half bad either).

RAYMOND AND RAY was an unexpected surprise for this moviegoer. It ended up being one of the pleasant cinematic surprises of 2022, and despite minor shortcomings, is one of my favorite films of the year. It’s a fantastic comedy drama you’ll want to check out when it hits Apple TV+ on October 21.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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