Raymond & Ray Review

Raymond & Ray is the story of two brothers (Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke respectively), both of which have been estranged from their horrible, dead father for quite some time. They come to his funeral together and discover how one man can mean so many things to different people. Raymond is a two-time divorced man that is particular and prefers things quiet and normal. On the other end of the spectrum, Ray is a recovering drug addict widower who manages to charm women everywhere he goes. Each of them carries baggage from their upbringing that they will unpack as they dig their father’s grave per his final request. Raymond & Ray is written and directed by Rodrigo García and also stars Maribel Verdú, Sophie Okonedo, and Vondie Curtis-Hall. 

The set-up seems like the perfect alley-oop of excellent actors and an Oscar bait story which would be a great combination for awards season, but those expectations dropped rather quickly. From the moment the first line of dialogue was uttered, I knew that this was going to be a rough watch. Instead of letting information come through naturally in the dialogue, it was explanatory and contrived; the epitome of the opposite of “show, don’t tell.” Often throughout the movie the two start arguing out of nowhere just because conflict is what should happen next on a basic story level. Weird situations keep arising, none of which contribute well to the story. McGregor and Hawke do what is asked of them, but neither particularly strain themselves in their roles. 

Just based on the premise of the movie, the crafts were never going to be the star of the show, but since the writing is so weak, there is nothing aesthetically to fall back on to bump it up a notch. The cinematography is bland, the direction is robotic, and the color grading is so desaturated, which makes it hard to watch. Also, the score for this film is jazzy and mysterious, which didn’t exactly match the story. Hawke’s character Ray is a jazz musician, so it seems like that is the reasoning behind the choice. It sounded cool, but it didn’t line up with the emotional turmoil these brothers have been experiencing over the few days the movie covers. 

What could have been an interesting family drama with two stars at the helm falters primarily due to the weak script. Also, despite its average runtime of an hour and forty-five, it feels overly long. Of all its components, I have to say the movie’s supporting performances are solid and are not part of the issues of this film. Everything else is rather dull. Whether or not you venture to turn on this movie, it will not change you either way. 

Raymond & Ray premiers on Apple TV+ on Friday, October 21. 

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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