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Raymond & Ray ★★★



Director: Rodrigo Garcia

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ethan Hawke, Sophie Okonedo, Maribel Verdú

Released: 28th October 2022 (Apple TV +)

Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke have led eclectic careers over the past four decades, straddling blockbusters and Arthouse Cinema and Television. The pair, both 51, have wanted to work together for several years and finally get the chance in Rodrigo García’s Raymond & Ray for Apple TV, playing brothers who are reunited several years after learning of their abusive father’s death.

The casting of these two leads will naturally gravitate fans towards the film. They have fine chemistry together as two half-brothers with different outlooks on life and how to approach the news of their father’s death and the nature of their childhood together, and their relationship with him.

Hawke’s failed musician and recovering Heroin addict, Ray, has turned his back on anything to do with his father and cut himself off from the efforts of his family to help in his recovery. McGregor’s Raymond feels obligated to honour the man’s wishes that his family be present for his burial, despite their strained relationship with him and its negative connotations. There is a pent-up frustration inside both men that they let out in different ways throughout the film, and it is thrilling to see how the pair depict their shared experiences.

Raymond & Ray Movie Review

There is still a lightness of touch and warmth to be found among their interactions, helping prevent the film from becoming dirgelike, which it could have been with its focus on grief and death.

The pair’s performance anchored much of the film, and it is a treat to see two actors of this calibre thriving in each other’s presence, elevating the film above the mundane family drama it could have been. Despite this, it still sags and begins to go through the motions when either isn’t on screen or together as we focus on their father, Harris’ most recent wife, Lucia and her young son, another half-brother for Raymond & Ray. The subplot involving these two feels somewhat underbaked, along with several other story threads the film dangles but doesn’t entirely develop. It does well by painting Harris as more of a kind, loving figure for the community than the man his sons remember, giving differing perspectives.

Raymond & Ray is buoyed by the strength of its lead performances that showcase Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke’s versatility and apparent chemistry, building a sense of loss and grief throughout the film. The film cleverly offsets their trauma and memories with those of the community that seems to belong to a different man. Outside the central pair, the film loses steam with narrative threads left dangling and not fully explored, making this a frustrating affair; However, the performances stop derailing; it never quite reaches the greatness its premise and leads deserve.

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