Russo Brother’s film “Cherry” exceeded expectations
By Lucy Wing, Reporter
Content warning: “Cherry” is an R-rated film and incorporates PTSD, anxiety, addiction, self harm, needles, suicide, drugs, blood, guns, language. This article contains spoilers, and discusses PTSD, anxiety, addiction, self harm, and drugs.
“Cherry,” based off of the semi-autobiographical 2018 novel by Nico Walker, follows a young man (Tom Holland) through love, war, and a drug addiction. It is available to watch on Apple TV+.
The movie deals with a multitude of heavy topics, and the small cast allows for a deep understanding of the main characters. The movie is told from Holland’s character’s perspective, who is not given a name.
The story jumps around, giving various background information that is sometimes important, but other times entirely unnecessary. This, coupled with a few moments where the character breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the audience, gives the feel of someone simply telling a story.
Directed by the Russo Brothers, “Cherry” is a work of art. Much of the film portrays reality as expected, but certain scenes have distorted color and camera lenses to indicate the character is on a high or experiencing withdrawal. There are other scenes that change up the aspect ratio of the screen, and the use of lighting is very intentional, highlighting specific objects or people.
His love interest, Emily (Ciara Bravo), is one such character. She is often lighter than her surroundings, symbolizing how she is the center of his world. While their relationship started out of love, it turned into one that was dependent on a high. They were their own worst enemies as the two struggled with their addictions simultaneously.
In contrast to the book, where much of the story was the protagonist’s time in the army, the movie focuses more on his relationship with Emily and with drugs, as well as the internal struggle of “what am I here for?” that most everyone has felt at some point in their life.
As their addictions take over their lives, the main character begins to rob banks to pay back money he owes to dealers. This becomes a frequent endeavor, and robbing banks and doing heroin becomes the protagonist’s entire life. The last few minutes of the film follows the character through his prison sentence after he was arrested.
Here, scenes are edited in a montage fashion, and the character ages as he spends his years recovering and reflecting. The film closes after he is released to greet Emily, who is waiting for him outside. Whether they fall back into their addictions or continue on a new path is not disclosed.
While the film’s storyline drifts from the book’s, it keeps the same themes and underlying message. Many quotes are directly out of the book, and “Cherry” remains an authentic story of internal struggles.
The only negative aspect, which was also evident in the book, is the feeling of the story dragging on― a sense of “when is this going to end?” This was also most likely intentional, as the main character felt the exact same way; knowing he was slowly killing himself, and just waiting to die.
“Cherry” is honest, messy, and some parts are hard to watch. It is a story that everyone can relate to in one way or another, and it is a story that needs to be told.
The film brings attention to the millions of army veterans struggling after they return home, as well as those struggling with drug addictions. It highlights the voices of the unheard; voices that most people overlook because society has deemed them not worth listening to.
In an interview with GQ, author Nico Walker said although he did not wish to be involved in the film, he hoped it would “keep the spirit of the book,” and the Russo brothers did exactly that.