When you sit down to watch the Tom Holland starrer Cherry, it is easier to see where the Russo brothers overdid themselves- cinematically the film overcompensates as they have literally used every trick in the book. As for Holland, he once again proves why he is the rising star of Hollywood even when he is not in superhero tights as he wonderfully plays the title character who is haunted by his experiences during the war. Ciara Bravo somewhat succeeds in breathing life into a barely developed character. But when it comes to the direction, the use of cinematic elements, and the screenplay in general, Cherry comes across as dour, dull, and at certain points too overwhelming to tell a coherent story.
The story of Cherry
Cherry, based on Nico Walker’s bestseller semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, tells the story of young Cherry (Tom Holland), who we initially meet while he is robbing a bank. Throughout the robbery, he narrates how he ended up becoming a drug addict and a bank robber. And in the middle of the robbery, we get a flashback of Cherry’s life when he was a young lad in Ohio, with no concrete plans for his future in sight. He took up different odd jobs to earn money but it never amounted to anything.
His life took a big turn when he met college student Emily (Ciara Bravo) and fell in love. But one day she tells him that she is to leave Ohio for higher studies in Montreal. In response, Cherry enlists to join the Army, Emily panics and proposes to get married. But his heart is still set for the Army, they get married and he leaves with Emily vowing to wait for him.
After a long training, Cherry is seen as a medic in the war in Iraq where the exceptionally blooded war sequences horrify him and the viewers. He returns home with PTSD and starts relying on drugs to live with the terrors he has witnessed. With her dreams of a happily married life now down the drain, she joins her husband in a life of addiction and then soon we see Tom Holland’s Cherry robbing banks to keep up this lifestyle.
Even Tom Holland can’t save the film
While Tom Holland and even Ciara Bravo play their parts well and convincingly, the Russo brothers appear rather driven to make a cinematically impressive film instead of building an emotional hook that would have faired better for Cherry. Instead, we get a lot of narration, slow motion sequences, pop music as the background score, the crass humour, overly amped up war scenes, etc. There is just so much that after a point, the film stops being aesthetically pleasing as well.
Cherry does set out to tell a story, but between its directors and their passion for using every cinematic tool in history, the meaning is totally lost.